May 30, 2009
Re "Justice with empathy," Opinion, May 24 Missing from the list of personal influences that may have led to Chief Justice Earl Warren's "liberal" (or, more accurately, "liberating") judicial temperament was, perhaps, the most important pillar of any institution's sound and mature judgment: the ability to learn from one's mistakes. As California's attorney general in early 1942, Warren strongly supported the illegal internment of the state's Japanese Americans, a racially motivated, morally bankrupt, fear-mongering assault on the American concept of justice if ever there was one. Later, his regret for his part in supporting such an abuse of power arguably had a huge influence on his judicial character and his precedent-setting leadership in the protection of civil liberties as chief justice.
May 24, 2009 |
Is empathy a desirable quality in a Supreme Court justice? President Obama has said he's searching for it in his nominee to replace retiring Justice David H. Souter, but as a qualification for a jurist, it gives conservatives the willies and can produce mixed results in our legal system. We expect judges to resist empathy and instead impose the law evenhandedly.
June 15, 2008 |
Arnold Schwarzenegger is not the first California governor to face a difficult budget. Earl Warren, Pat Brown, Ronald Reagan and Pete Wilson also confronted deficits and had to make tough political choices. The following articles, commissioned by California Forward, a bipartisan group that seeks reform of the state budget process, show how they balanced the books. -- It is both difficult and easy to imagine how Gov.
October 22, 2006 |
SIXTY YEARS AGO, California experienced a unique moment in its fractious political history. In the primary of the governor's race of 1946, Republican voters unsurprisingly picked incumbent Earl Warren to again represent the GOP in the November election. What was remarkable, however, was what the state's Democrats did: They nominated him too. That sealed the outcome, and Warren coasted to victory that fall.
October 1, 2006 |
ON my office wall hangs a faded leaflet I picked up on a Dallas street the day John F. Kennedy was shot. It shows two police-booking-style photos of the president, beneath which blares the line "Wanted for Treason" and the accusations that he aided "Communist inspired racial riots" and "illegally invaded a sovereign state" when he sent U.S. troops to quell a riot that greeted a black student's entrance to the University of Mississippi in 1962.
September 20, 2005
Re "Roberts Gains Respect, if Not Converts," Sept. 16 What is the Constitution? Is it a "living Constitution" (Earl Warren) or a "dead Constitution" (Justice Antonin Scalia)? Is it a "flexible Constitution" (FDR)? Thomas Jefferson felt that the Constitution ought to be changed every generation. In my own view, as a political scientist, I go along with Roosevelt's definition: It is a flexible document that can be "stretched" to fit existing conditions. From John G. Roberts Jr.'s testimony, I gather he will be neither Warren nor William H. Rehnquist but his own man who will judge cases as he sees them without prejudice.