March 5, 2012 |
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington has provoked a broad debate over the military and political wisdom of an attack on Iran. But so far, there has been little attention to the legal issues involved, which are crucial. American support for a preemptive strike would be a violation of both international law and the U.S. Constitution. Article II of the Constitution requires the president to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed," and Article VI says that treaties are part of the "supreme law of the land.
January 22, 2012
Misreading the 1st Amendment and copyright law, the Supreme Court last week made it more difficult for Americans to enjoy foreign works of art, including decades-old musical and literary masterpieces. It upheld a 1994 law implementing a treaty requiring signatory countries to extend copyright protection to works receiving protection in their countries of origin. Never mind that many of those works long had been in the public domain in the United States. The effect of the 6-2 decision, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg acknowledged in her opinion, will be to force those who want to publish or perform works covered by the law to pay royalties to copyright holders, even if the price is prohibitive.
January 5, 2011
On Thursday, the Constitution of the United States in its entirety will be read aloud in the House of Representatives, courtesy of the new Republican majority. The temptation, to which we succumb, is to regard the reading as a symbolic sop to the " tea party," whose adherents carry around pocket-sized copies of the Constitution. Even so, there's no harm in a public reading of it. We only hope that those in the audience, whether tea partyers or their supporters in Congress, are willing to listen to the complete document.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 28, 2000
Re "Courts on Political Stage," editorial, Sept. 24: The Constitution itself provides sufficient guidance--a "litmus test," if you will--for the selection of Supreme Court justices. It declares that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and states that all federal and state judicial officers are bound to support it. Under this standard, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas deserve our utmost respect, because they take the language of the Constitution seriously, and they try to follow it in their decision-making, regardless of their personal beliefs.
December 10, 1998 |
The Supreme Court justices, debating an anti-gang law, questioned Wednesday whether police should be given the power to arrest suspected gang members simply for standing on street corners. At issue is a novel Chicago ordinance that tells the police to arrest suspected gang members who gather in parks or on streets if they fail to disperse when ordered to do so. More than 90,000 arrests were made under the law before it was struck down by the state courts in Illinois.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 23, 1998
In the wake of Judge Mariana Pfaelzer's opinion overturning the key provisions of Proposition 187 (March 19), I expect to hear a new flood of complaints that our votes do not count. Those making such complaints need to get a new perspective on the situation. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of our country and the California Constitution is the supreme law in our state (except in cases involving federal primacy). These documents include protection of certain essential rights.