January 15, 2013 |
Not since "Garbo Talks!" has a public figure's decision to speak attracted such attention. I'm referring, of course, to the media sensation created this week when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas broke an almost seven-year-long silent streak to crack a joke during oral arguments in a case involving the adequacy of counsel in a Louisiana murder case. As The Times' David Savage reported, most of what Thomas said was drowned out by cross-talk, but apparently he had some fun with the idea that one of the lawyers in the case should be considered qualified because she attended Yale Law School, Thomas' alma mater but an institution about which he has mixed feelings.
January 14, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - It's a slow news day at the U.S. Supreme Court when the biggest story is whether an overheard, offhand comment by Justice Clarence Thomas means he has broken his nearly seven-year streak of silence. Thomas has never liked asking questions during the court's oral arguments. He insists the justices should listen, rather than interrupt the advocates. He last asked a question on Feb. 22, 2006, and his silent streak has taken on a legendary significance. But Thomas is not entirely quiet.
January 5, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - As dean of Yale Law School, Harold Hongju Koh was among the fiercest critics of President George W. Bush's "war on terror," arguing that his administration had trampled the Constitution and tarnished America's international standing by claiming the power to capture "enemy combatants" abroad and hold them without charges at the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The next administration must "restore the rule of law in the national security arena," end "excessive government secrecy" and set aside the "claims of unfettered executive power," Koh told a House panel in 2008.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 4, 2010 |
William L. Taylor didn't necessarily look the part of a leading civil rights advocate, a matter he addressed in his memoir under the heading "A White Guy Like Me," as in: "What leads a white guy like me to spend his life working on behalf of black people?" Growing up Jewish in Brooklyn while the Holocaust raged in Europe helped shape his future, he wrote. Another early lesson in civil rights came from following the "career and courage" of Jackie Robinson as he broke major league baseball's color line in 1947.
May 28, 2009 |
The early White House story line on Sonia Sotomayor emphasizes her pragmatism and a cautious, measured approach to the law developed over a years-long climb from exceedingly modest circumstances to becoming the first Latino nominee to the Supreme Court. But an incident in the fall of 1978 illustrates another side of Sotomayor. Then a daring and assertive Yale University law student, she took a stand against a white-shoe Washington law firm that could have jeopardized her career.
May 27, 2009 |
For a teenager from a Puerto Rican family struggling upward from the public housing projects of the Bronx, Princeton University in 1972 was a foreign land. "I felt isolated from all I had ever known," she said later, and the low grade she got on one of her first papers drove home the point -- sending her flying to get remedial help. Four years later, Sonia Maria Sotomayor won the Pyne Prize, the highest honor awarded a Princeton undergraduate.