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ENTERTAINMENT
May 17, 2013 | By Jim Newton, Los Angeles Times
At his confirmation hearings for the position of chief justice of the United States, John G. Roberts Jr. parried skeptics with a reassuring metaphor: "Judges are like umpires," he memorably testified. "Umpires don't make the rules, they apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge is critical to make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. " Senators were charmed by that modesty and impressed by Roberts' undeniable brilliance, but his chief justiceship has hardly been a model of restraint.
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OPINION
September 8, 2013 | By Nelson Lichtenstein
Last month, Americans took pride in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Unfortunately, we are also revisiting a far darker episode in our history, a civil rights-era conflict that tells us much about the hurdles facing President Obama's Affordable Care Act, the most ambitious piece of social legislation enacted in almost half a century. That episode was the "massive resistance," a policy pushed by a phalanx of Southern white politicians, journalists and local worthies who organized in the 1950s and early '60s when the courts, the federal government and the civil rights movement pressed for desegregation of public schools and the end of Jim Crow racism in American life.
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OPINION
June 29, 2013 | By Michael J. Klarman
Two blockbuster cases decided in the final week of the Supreme Court's 2012-13 term invalidated critical provisions of federal statutes. In United States vs. Windsor, the court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which defined marriage for purposes of federal law as a union between a man and a woman. In Shelby County vs. Holder, the court invalidated a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, effectively eliminating the requirement that certain jurisdictions submit proposed election-law changes to federal officials for review before implementation.
OPINION
June 29, 2013 | By Michael J. Klarman
Two blockbuster cases decided in the final week of the Supreme Court's 2012-13 term invalidated critical provisions of federal statutes. In United States vs. Windsor, the court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which defined marriage for purposes of federal law as a union between a man and a woman. In Shelby County vs. Holder, the court invalidated a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, effectively eliminating the requirement that certain jurisdictions submit proposed election-law changes to federal officials for review before implementation.
NATIONAL
July 7, 2012 | By David G. Savage
Washington Bureau WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court had more than its share of surprising opinions and unexpected rulings this year beyond the pair of victories for the Obama administration in the healthcare and immigration cases. The justices ruled for the criminal defendants in this term's most important cases on crime and punishment. That alone is a rarity for a court that more often leans to the right. Overall, however, the decisions this year did not reflect a true ideological shift at the high court.
NATIONAL
July 6, 2010 | By David G. Savage, Tribune Washington Bureau
The Supreme Court wrapped up its term last week after landmark decisions protecting the right to have a gun and the right of corporations to spend freely on elections. But the year's most important moment may have come on the January evening when the justices gathered at the Capitol for President Obama's State of the Union address. They had no warning about what was coming. Obama and his advisors had weighed how to respond to the court's ruling the week before, which gave corporations the same free-spending rights as ordinary Americans.
NATIONAL
January 24, 2010 | By David G. Savage
Five years ago, when John G. Roberts Jr. became the Supreme Court's chief justice, he described the job as though he would be a minor functionary, more like an umpire behind the plate than the star of the game. He also said he favored minimal and narrow decisions, rather than broad but divisive rulings that would abruptly change the law. But in recent weeks, Roberts has shown that when he has the support of moderate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, he is willing to move boldly on behalf of conservative causes.
OPINION
October 4, 2010 | By Erwin Chemerinsky
As the Supreme Court begins its new term Monday, its sixth with John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice, the reality is that this is the most conservative court since the mid-1930s. Since Richard Nixon ran for president in 1968, conservatives have sought to change constitutional law, and they have succeeded in virtually every area. During the first years of the Roberts court, it has consistently ruled in favor of corporate power, such as in holding that corporations have the 1st Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts in independent political campaigns.
OPINION
October 1, 2007
The Supreme Court term beginning today offers Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and his colleagues a fresh opportunity to realize Roberts' vision of a court that speaks with a single voice and moves cautiously in upending established law. They should seize it. Both consensus and caution were in shamefully short supply in the court's 2006-07 term, and so was civility. Twenty-four cases were decided by 5-4 majorities. Liberals quarreled with conservatives. Conservatives quarreled among themselves.
OPINION
June 23, 2009
A lustrous legacy of the civil rights movement has survived a challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court. By an 8-1 vote, the court has preserved a requirement that states and localities with a history of abridging the right to vote must get approval from the U.S. Justice Department before making changes to their election procedures, a practice known as "pre-clearance." In refusing to strike down Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the court, led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
OPINION
June 28, 2013
Re "Justices rein in Voting Rights Act," June 26 The decision to effectively invalidate the Voting Rights Act is the Roberts court's most hypocritical ruling. The Supreme Court's conservative justices have said that nine unelected judges should not overrule the voters' elected representatives unless the Constitution demands it. Here, the court threw out a 98-0 Senate vote in 2006 to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act, thousands of pages of congressional voting rights research and almost 50 years of effective legislation.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 17, 2013 | By Jim Newton, Los Angeles Times
At his confirmation hearings for the position of chief justice of the United States, John G. Roberts Jr. parried skeptics with a reassuring metaphor: "Judges are like umpires," he memorably testified. "Umpires don't make the rules, they apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge is critical to make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. " Senators were charmed by that modesty and impressed by Roberts' undeniable brilliance, but his chief justiceship has hardly been a model of restraint.
OPINION
October 1, 2012
As the Supreme Court begins its 2012 term Monday, two cases loom ominously large for civil rights advocates who fear that the Roberts court is itching to prematurely declare victory in the long legal war against racial discrimination. One, which the court is expected to accept for review although it hasn't done so yet, involves a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The other concerns a program at the University of Texas that allows race to be considered in admissions decisions.
NATIONAL
July 7, 2012 | By David G. Savage
Washington Bureau WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court had more than its share of surprising opinions and unexpected rulings this year beyond the pair of victories for the Obama administration in the healthcare and immigration cases. The justices ruled for the criminal defendants in this term's most important cases on crime and punishment. That alone is a rarity for a court that more often leans to the right. Overall, however, the decisions this year did not reflect a true ideological shift at the high court.
NATIONAL
June 30, 2012 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Chief JusticeJohn G. Roberts Jr.considers it an insult when he hears it said that he and the justices are playing politics. He has always insisted his sole duty was to decide the law, not to pick the political winners. Until this week, however, not many were inclined to believe him. Those on the left - and the right - were convinced they could expect Roberts to be a reliable vote on the conservative side. But no more. The chief justice took control of two of the biggest politically charged cases in a decade, involving the Affordable Care Act and Arizona's immigration law, and he fashioned careful, lawyerly rulings that resulted in victories for the Obama administration.
NATIONAL
March 13, 2011 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
The Supreme Court, often described as conservative, divided and pro-corporate, has been sounding different notes in recent weeks. The justices have been unanimous, or nearly so, in dealing defeats to employers and to corporations. They have also taken the side of hard-luck plaintiffs who were mistreated by the government. Twice recently the court ruled for fired workers and expanded the reach of anti-discrimination laws. It revived an injured motorist's suit against Mazda, refusing to shield automakers from safety claims.
OPINION
June 28, 2013
Re "Justices rein in Voting Rights Act," June 26 The decision to effectively invalidate the Voting Rights Act is the Roberts court's most hypocritical ruling. The Supreme Court's conservative justices have said that nine unelected judges should not overrule the voters' elected representatives unless the Constitution demands it. Here, the court threw out a 98-0 Senate vote in 2006 to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act, thousands of pages of congressional voting rights research and almost 50 years of effective legislation.
NATIONAL
March 13, 2011 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
The Supreme Court, often described as conservative, divided and pro-corporate, has been sounding different notes in recent weeks. The justices have been unanimous, or nearly so, in dealing defeats to employers and to corporations. They have also taken the side of hard-luck plaintiffs who were mistreated by the government. Twice recently the court ruled for fired workers and expanded the reach of anti-discrimination laws. It revived an injured motorist's suit against Mazda, refusing to shield automakers from safety claims.
OPINION
October 4, 2010 | By Erwin Chemerinsky
As the Supreme Court begins its new term Monday, its sixth with John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice, the reality is that this is the most conservative court since the mid-1930s. Since Richard Nixon ran for president in 1968, conservatives have sought to change constitutional law, and they have succeeded in virtually every area. During the first years of the Roberts court, it has consistently ruled in favor of corporate power, such as in holding that corporations have the 1st Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts in independent political campaigns.
NATIONAL
July 6, 2010 | By David G. Savage, Tribune Washington Bureau
The Supreme Court wrapped up its term last week after landmark decisions protecting the right to have a gun and the right of corporations to spend freely on elections. But the year's most important moment may have come on the January evening when the justices gathered at the Capitol for President Obama's State of the Union address. They had no warning about what was coming. Obama and his advisors had weighed how to respond to the court's ruling the week before, which gave corporations the same free-spending rights as ordinary Americans.
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