November 16, 2012 |
I have a soft spot for the Federalist Society, the 30-year-old organization of conservative and libertarian lawyers and law students that is part debating society, part employment agency for would-be judges and government lawyers (but only if they're interested in serving in Republican administrations or clerking for conservative judges). The discussions at FedSoc meetings are stimulating, and there is usually at least one liberal on every panel -- just as the FedSoc's liberal copycat , the American Constitution Society, finds room for conservatives on its panels.
March 28, 2012 |
The Supreme Court's conservative justices took aim Wednesday afternoon at a final key piece of President Obama's healthcare law, suggesting it was unconstitutional to require states to expand their Medicaid programs to cover more poor Americans. The states have "no realistic choice," said Justice Anthony Kennedy, effectively accepting the argument by 26 states challenging the law that they are being unjustly forced to administer a massive Medicaid expansion. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr. echoed Kennedy's concerns, signaling their willingness to invalidate yet another part of the healthcare overhaul Obama signed two years ago. “It is significant authority we are giving the federal government,” cautioned Roberts, whose court now appears poised to strike down a major piece of domestic legislation for the first time since the Great Depression.
January 10, 2010 |
Corporations are pitching a bizarre product -- a radical vision of the 1st Amendment. It would give corporations rather than voters a central role in our electoral process by treating corporate political spending as protected speech. If this vision becomes reality, businesses and other big-money players will spend billions either hyping their preferred candidates or running attack ads against elected officials who don't support their preferred agenda. Voters will be forced into a couch-potato role, mere viewers of the electoral spectacle bought and paid for by wealthy companies.
January 10, 2009 |
The Supreme Court served notice Friday it may make a far-reaching change in civil rights law this year and knock down a pair of long-standing rules that give special protections to minorities in the workplace and in the voting booth. The justices, after meeting privately, announced they had voted to hear two cases that concern the lingering role of race in American life. The cases could put the court on a collision course with the incoming Obama administration.
October 16, 2010 |
Though the actual voting is still 17 days away, it seems clear that this midterm election cycle will be defined by a surprising presence and a remarkable absence. The presence, of course, is the "tea party," and what's absent are the social issues that so bitterly divided the electorate in recent campaigns. Demography and evolving public opinion are well on the way to making an electoral dead letter of same-sex marriage, which played a pivotal role in the 2004 presidential campaign.
October 2, 2011 |
The Supreme Court on Monday opens one of its most anticipated terms, in which the justices could strike down President Obama's healthcare law, empower local police to arrest illegal immigrants, and declare an end to affirmative action in colleges and universities. The cases coming before the court "address some of the central issues facing the country," said former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger. The clashes over healthcare and immigration "are not mere lawyers' issues, but fundamental questions about how the country is governed.
March 31, 2012 |
WASHINGTON — When the incoming Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. came before the Senate for confirmation seven years ago, President Reagan's solicitor general gave him a warm endorsement as a "careful, modest" judge. "He's not a man on a mission," Harvard Law professor Charles Fried testified, adding that Roberts was not likely "to embark on constitutional adventures. " But two years ago, the Roberts-led Supreme Court struck down the federal and state laws that for a century had barred corporations and unions from pouring money into election campaigns.
March 23, 2006 |
The Supreme Court on Wednesday strengthened the rights of residents to bar police from entering and searching their homes, but the ruling drew a sharp dissent from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. In a 5-3 decision, the justices said a homeowner may prevent officers from looking for evidence without a warrant even if a spouse or other adult occupant consents to the search. In the past, most courts said the consent of one resident was sufficient to permit a search.
June 29, 2008
A year ago, when the U.S. Supreme Court finished its second term under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the court was criticized -- including on this page -- for giving the lie to Roberts' paeans at his confirmation hearings to consensus and respect for precedent. Twenty-four cases were resolved by 5-4 votes, and on some key issues there was no majority at all. Far from respecting precedent, the Roberts court in its 2006-07 term executed unseemly U-turns on two issues, approving a federal ban on "partial-birth" abortions and overriding school districts that sought to achieve a modicum of racial integration in the classroom.
July 5, 2009 |
The Supreme Court, now the lone branch of government dominated by Republican appointees, continued this year to lean to the right on matters of race, crime, the environment and campaign funding. But the just-completed term, which began amid last fall's collapse on Wall Street, also saw a tilt to the left and away from the George W. Bush administration's hands-off policy toward business.