January 25, 2012
By a surprisingly unanimous vote, the Supreme Court this week ruled that police must obtain a warrant before attaching a tracking device to a car or other vehicle. The decision is a welcome affirmation of the constitutional right to privacy in an era of advanced technology. But the majority opinion's rationale was needlessly narrow. Whether there is a broad right to freedom from new kinds of intrusive electronic surveillance remains to be answered. The case involved the conviction of Antoine Jones, a suspected drug dealer in the District of Columbia who was arrested after being monitored for 28 days by a global positioning system device surreptitiously attached to his Jeep by law enforcement agents without a warrant.
October 5, 2011 |
The Supreme Court appeared unusually sympathetic Tuesday to the plight of an Alabama death row inmate who could be executed because two lawyers handling his appeal had left their law firm without telling him. When a court clerk sent a letter to their prominent New York firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, advising the young lawyers that Cory Maples' initial appeal had been denied, it was returned marked: "Return to sender — left firm. " The 42-day deadline to appeal then expired. At that point, Alabama's state prosecutors and judges took a stiff stand.
June 5, 2011
Looking at Liu Re "Impaired judgment," Opinion, June 1 There is a reason that attacks like those made on Goodwin Liu, who recently asked that his nomination to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals be withdrawn, are called "Borking. " This horrible process began with the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's bizarre attack on Robert Bork, a recognized constitutional scholar whom President Reagan nominated to the Supreme Court. Ever since then, federal court nominees have been targeted by ideological opponents of the administration nominating them.
November 16, 2005
NOMINEES TO THE SUPREME COURT are almost always lawyers, which means they're good at not answering questions. And senators are by definition politicians, which means they're good at not asking them. So at confirmation hearings, the senators give speeches, the nominee gives compliments, and too often a nominee's views are no clearer after the hearings than they were before. But the hearings for Samuel A. Alito Jr.
November 5, 2005
Re "Judge's Supporters, Foes See Much in One Dissent," Nov. 1 I'm a Democrat, but I cheer the nomination of federal appellate Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court. Both sides base much of their evaluation of his abortion stance on his dissenting opinion in a decision that overruled a Pennsylvania law requiring a woman to notify her spouse before having an abortion. Alito's dissent resulted not from his philosophy about abortion but from his philosophy about judicial limits.
November 20, 2005 |
Judge samuel A. Alito Jr.'s 1985 application for a high-level Justice Department job not only offers a glimpse into his legal thinking, it also lays out the probable course of his confirmation hearings in January. Most revealing, it illuminates the nature of legal conservatism during the last few generations. On his application, Alito identified himself as a lifelong conservative who was influenced by Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign.
January 9, 2006
ALTHOUGH SAMUEL A. ALITO JR.'s position on abortion rights garnered much of the attention in the aftermath of his nomination to the Supreme Court last fall, the top priority of senators at his confirmation hearing this week should be to ascertain whether the judge sufficiently appreciates the proper constitutional balance of power among the three branches of government. It is a timely issue, as President Bush insists on expanding the executive branch's power to conduct the war on terrorism.
January 17, 2006 |
The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote next Tuesday on Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s nomination to the Supreme Court, officials announced Monday night, and the full Senate will begin debate the following day. In a written statement, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said he looked forward to a swift and "fair up-or-down vote" on Alito, President Bush's choice to succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
January 13, 2006 |
Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. sparred for the last time with Senate Democrats on Thursday, emerging from four days of sometimes tense, sometimes tedious confirmation hearings with few political wounds. He appeared headed for confirmation by the full Senate, perhaps as soon as next week. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee appeared split along party lines when the hearings began Monday, and that seemed not to have changed by the time Alito left the witness chair.