Supreme Court

Conservative Supreme Court Majority Prevails In Two Key Cases [UPDATE: Is Hobby Lobby So Narrow As To Be "Meaningless"?]

Featured image Today the Supreme Court issued its last two opinions of the term. Justice Alito delivered both opinions, and both were decided on 5-4 votes. Both decisions were eagerly awaited. In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the Court ruled that as applied to closely held corporations, the the contraceptive mandate imposed on employers by Obamacare violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In Harris v. Quinn, the Court held that the First Amendment »

SCOTUS Smacks Obama Again, But . . .

Featured image Today’s the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against the Obama Administration’s abuse of the recess appointment power in NLRB v. Canning.  Unanimous!  And not for the first time.  Think back to Sackett v. EPA two years ago, where a similarly unanimous Court ruled that the EPA had grossly exceeded its legal authority, or the Utility Air Regulatory Group decision on Monday, which, although 5 – 4, held that the EPA can’t »

EPA Gets Smacked Around by SCOTUS

Featured image Today’s Supreme Court decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA is potentially a huge setback for the climatistas and the Obama administration’s recent proposal to regulate greenhouse gases through the Clean Air Act, though it is a complicated opinion and will take a while to unravel.  It is a typical 5 -4 ruling along the usual lines, but in some ways appears to be a 9 – 0 vote »

Brown v. Board and court worship

Featured image Those who believe the Supreme Court should take an “activist” approach often cite Brown v. Board of Education as an example of the Court’s ability to do good where other institutions and the body politic come up short. It’s a decent example, but not sufficient to make the general case. Keep in mind first that before giving us Brown, the Court gave us Plessy v. Ferguson. It upheld, by a »

A footnote on Brown

Featured image The principle of equal treatment without regard to race is one that is close to my heart. Accordingly, one of my favorite books on a legal subject is Andrew Kull’s history The Color-Blind Constitution, a book I learned of at the time of its publication through Judge Alex Kosinski’s 1993 New Republic review/essay. Professor Kull devotes two chapters to the separate but equal doctrine approved by the Supreme Court in »

Brown v. Board at 60

Featured image Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom rightly celebrate the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education today in the Wall Street Journal, and while I join them in thinking it the correct outcome of the case, it is a source of lasting mischief that the Supreme Court, led by the dubious new Chief Justice Earl Warren, decided the case on entirely non-constitutional grounds–a sorry fact the Thernstroms note briefly. Say what? »

Justice Ginsburg: Abolish Mother’s Day

Featured image The Left has been conducting an open campaign lately to persuade coerce Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose health has been shaky the last few years, to retire immediately so that President Obama can replace her with a high octane liberal while Democrats still have a majority in the Senate.  Nothing speaks “confidence” in your prospects more than trying to push a loyal soldier out the door.  So far »

The courts will not save us

Featured image George Will seems to me the preeminent political columnist of our era, with the possible exception of Charles Krauthammer. Will and Krauthammer are in a league of their own. Both are conservatives, of course, and you have to wonder who the liberals can put up against them. Tom Friedman? Maureen Dowd? Paul Krugman? E.J. Dionne? I don’t know. I come to question Will, however, not to praise him. He has »

Eric Holder’s idiotic praise of Justice Sotomayor

Featured image As I noted here, Justice Sotomayor dissented from the Supreme Court’s decision upholding what should be a truism: the Constitution permits a state to prohibit race discrimination by public institutions. Sotomayor was joined by the ultra-leftist Justice Ginsburg. However, she failed to persuade the only moderately leftist Justice Breyer, who joined the 6-2 majority. Attorney General Holder calls Sotomayor’s dissent “courageous.” Her dissent is lots of things — verbose and »

The Constitution Is Still Constitutional, For Now

Featured image I think Scott was the first person I heard say that one day, the Supreme Court may rule the Constitution unconstitutional. That didn’t happen yesterday, when the court decided the Schuette case on a 6-2 vote, but it could have. The issue in Schuette was whether it is permissible for a state to prohibit race discrimination by public institutions. The majority held that a state can indeed ban discrimination on »

Voters can bar racial discrimination by their government, for now

Featured image The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of a Michigan ballot initiative providing that the state, including state educational institutions, may not “discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.” It is shocking, but not surprising, that the constitutionality of such a proposition — which »

Cass Sunstein’s April Fools’ Joke

Featured image Yesterday Cass Sunstein, one of the most formidable thinkers on the left today, devoted his Bloomberg column to his eight favorite Supreme Court justices, whom he called the “Home Run Hitters of the Supreme Court.”  Why only eight?  Wouldn’t you want to field a full all-star team of nine, so we can get 5-4 rulings?  Why invite extra innings?  This may be the first sign that he was pulling our »

“Rights” of Obamacare

Featured image Abraham Lincoln’s argument with Stephen Douglas came down to a disagreement over the Declaration of Independence. Lincoln articulated this disagreement with special gusto in his critique of Douglas on July 10, 1858. According to Douglas, the teaching of the Declaration had no general applicability beyond the immediate situation that confronted the Founding Fathers. Restating and paraphrasing Douglas’s argument, Lincoln asked “in all soberness, if all these things, if indulged in, »

Why dropping health insurance is no solution for Hobby Lobby

Featured image Long-time Power Line reader Michael McConnell, a (if not the) leading scholar of the Constitution’s Religion Clauses, analyzes the four serious legal issues presented in the Hobby Lobby case. The issues are: (1) Could Hobby Lobby avoid a substantial burden on its religious exercise by dropping health insurance and paying fines of $2,000 per employee? (2) Does the government have a compelling interest in protecting the statutory rights of Hobby »

D.C. Circuit panel seems to think Obamacare means what it says

Featured image The second big Obamacare case of the day, Halbig v. Sebelius, was argued before the D.C. Circuit. As Scott has explained, the issue there is the legality of a crucial IRS rule authorizing tax credits and subsidies for the purchase of health insurance on federally run health care exchanges. The Obamacare statute only authorizes tax credits and subsidies for the purchase of insurance in an exchange “established by a state” »

As usual, Justice Kennedy likely will determine the outcome in Hobby Lobby

Featured image Oral argument took place today in Hobby Lobby and a companion case. Lyle Denniston of Scotusblog provides a recap. You don’t really need to read Denniston’s post (though I recommend you do) to figure out where things stand. Four Justices seem ready to strike down the offending Obamacare rule; four seem ready to uphold it; and Justice Kennedy will decide the case. You will be equally unsurprised to learn that »

A dangerous technical argument against Hobby Lobby

Featured image It’s bad enough when a court decision deprives of us liberty or fails to remedy a deprivation wrought by the State. But it’s particularly galling when a court takes away liberty through a technicality. Unfortunately, that route often tempts a judiciary too sheepish to base indefensible outcomes on substantive grounds. In the Hobby Lobby case discussed by Scott earlier this morning, the substantive issue before the Supreme Court is the »