March 22, 2013 |
New York lawyer Caitlin Halligan, who was first nominated to the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., almost 2 1/2 years ago, has asked President Obama to withdraw her nomination. As The Times noted in an editorial today, Halligan was the victim of a Republican filibuster in which all but one of the GOP senators voting refused to cut off debate on her nomination. Had the nomination proceeded to a floor vote, she almost certainly would have been confirmed. Liberals and Democrats will decry the sandbagging of Halligan, who was accused by Republicans of extremism because she once filed suit against gun manufacturers.
July 12, 2012 |
There are (at least) two reasons to pass a law: to address a practical problem and to send a message. A bill by Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) to criminalize lying about military service “for tangible benefit or personal gain” seems to fall into the second category. The Webb bill is a response to last month's Supreme Court decision striking down the Stolen Valor Act, which made it a crime to lie about having received military honors. The decision overturnd the conviction of Xavier Alvarez, a former member of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District governing board in eastern Los Angeles County who falsely claimed that he held the congressional Medal of Honor. (That was only one of his whoppers.
March 26, 2013 |
On the steps of the Supreme Court, moments after their attorneys argued that gays and lesbians should be given the constitutional right to marry Tuesday, California plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 case said they are looking forward to the high court's ruling. “Like all Americans, I believe in equality,” said Sandy Stier, who has been waiting more than a decade to marry her partner, Kris Perry. “But more than anything, I believe in love.” FULL COVERAGE: Same-sex marriage ban Stier said Prop.
May 27, 2010 |
In her first weeks as dean of Harvard Law School in 2003, Elena Kagan put the warring sides of the gun rights debate in a room and let them fight it out. The debate between gun control advocates and 2nd Amendment purists was sponsored by the law school's target shooting club, and Kagan showed her support by moderating the exchange. But her own views on gun rights went unaired. With her Supreme Court confirmation pending, those views have become of extreme interest to pro-gun groups such as the National Rifle Assn.
September 30, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court is not on the ballot in November, but its future direction on issues such as abortion, gay rights, gun rights, voting laws and the role of money in politics depends on who is elected president for the next four years. The justices, who open their annual term Monday, are closely split along ideological lines. The current court has four liberals appointed by Democrats, four conservatives appointed by Republicans, and a centrist Republican in 76-year-old Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.
May 13, 2010 |
A controversy over military recruiting at Harvard Law School while Elena Kagan was dean may say less about her views on the military than it does about her strong belief in equal rights for gays and lesbians, one of the foremost unsettled issues before the Supreme Court. In a series of memos to the faculty and students, Kagan described the military's policy of excluding openly gay men and women as "a profound wrong — a moral injustice of the first order." "It is a wrong that tears at the fabric of our own community because some of our members cannot, while others can, devote their professional careers to their country," she wrote in 2003, shortly after becoming dean.
May 11, 2010 |
The White House during President Clinton's second term was a combustible, ambitious place. While to the public it appeared that the chief executive was spending most of his time embroiled in scandal, a small group of staffers worked behind the scenes to pursue an aggressive policy agenda. Elena Kagan was one of them. She had come to the Clinton domestic policy shop in 1997 after serving as an administration lawyer. By the time she left two years later, she had put her stamp on the office, a unit that took on tobacco and gun industries, advocated campaign finance reform, backed affirmative action and worked to preserve abortion rights.
May 12, 2010 |
Ruth from Brooklyn, Sonia from the Bronx and now Elena from Manhattan? If President Obama gets his way, the Supreme Court will have three women justices for the first time. But the focus on this historic moment for women in the law has obscured another defining trait shared by this trio — all were raised not far from the No. 2 subway line that connects those three New York City boroughs. (The first female justice, Sandra Day O'Connor, grew up in the wilds of Arizona.) However much a young girl may be pitied by non-New Yorkers for having to come of age in this crowded, sharp-elbowed, grasping city of show-offs, it can also condition her to compete and shine in a male-dominated world like the law. Apparently finding a seat on a subway is decent training for finding a seat on the highest court in the land.
December 29, 2010 |
Perhaps the simplest thing to say about the law in 2010 is this: Never in America were so many judged by so few with such inconclusive results. As our population rose, and Americans filed 100 million or so lawsuits, the role of the courts somehow shrank in our lives. Dozens of federal judgeships remained empty throughout the year, the victim of partisan bickering on Capitol Hill. State judicial systems were wracked by budget cuts, which forced furloughs and court closures. And our prisons overflowed even though, by some accounts, we are opening on average a new one weekly.
June 2, 2010 |
The first four decades of Elena Kagan's life had been a chain of success, from her student days at Princeton, Oxford and Harvard to her turns as Supreme Court clerk, law school professor and presidential advisor. Then, on the brink of her 40th birthday, came a setback. As she prepared to leave the Clinton White House in 1999, she wanted to return to teaching law at the University of Chicago, where she had won tenure four years earlier. But since she had given up the tenured spot by staying in Washington so long, she needed a faculty vote to approve her return.