Supreme Court

Coming soon: Justice Thomas speaks

Featured image I asked the Federalist Society representatives this morning if they would be posting the video of Judge Sykes’s interview with Justice Thomas. The Federalist Society is posting videos from the National Lawyers Convention on the Federalist Society YouTube channel. Check out the videos posted from the convention this year at the link. Justice Thomas’s event was recorded. Federalist Society representatives assure me the video will be posted soon on its »

Justice Thomas speaks

Featured image I had the great good fortune of attending the Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention annual dinner featuring Justice Thomas last night. Justice Thomas was the attraction who drew a packed house of more than 1,300 justices, judges, attorneys and law students, and he just about brought down the house. Responding to questions put to him by Seventh Circuit Judge Diane Sykes, Justice Thomas told a deeply American story. He ranged »

Breaking News: Supreme Court to Review EPA Climate Rules

Featured image The Supreme Court has today granted cert to review the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules.  This is highly significant.  The  high court clearly botched the last global warming case, Massachusetts v. EPA, back in 2007.  Maybe they’ll correct themselves. My rabbi in these legal tangles, Jonathan Adler of Case Western University law school and the Volokh Conspiracy, comments: This is quite significant. Although the grant is limited, it focuses on one »

Where is the Constitution?

Featured image Today is Constitution Day, as set in federal law. I didn’t know that — I didn’t know we had such a day — until reading the column in honor of the day by Professor Wilfred McClay, published here in the Oklahoman over the weekend. Professor James Ceaser also observes the day in “Celebrating Madison in Jefferson country.” As befits a historian, Professor McClay stepped back to explain the designation of »

Ed Corsi’s life of political crime

Featured image The First Amendment protects the right of Americans to publish their political views against infringement by Congress. On this point the constitutional language is about as clear as language can be made. Yet the Supreme has hemmed and hawed and created purported exceptions that threaten to swallow the rule. Brad Smith brings us the latest case study in the tyranny licensed by the Supreme Court. Consider the case of Ed »

Justice Ginsburg’s misinformed rant

Featured image Liberal hacks love to accuse conservative jurists of “judicial activism.” So we shouldn’t be surprised that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made that claim in an interview with the New York Times. “If it’s measured in terms of readiness to overturn legislation, this is one of the most activist courts in history,” Ginsburg declared. The extent to which a court overturns legislation and precedent is one way — but not the »

Will Texas be “bailed in”?

Featured image The Justice Department is planning to institute legal action in a string of voting rights cases across the nation. As part of this campaign, Eric Holder says the government will ask a federal court in Texas to “subject the State of Texas to a preclearance regime similar to the one required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.” But wait! The Supreme Court just ruled that the formula in »

Did Koontz Case Doom Obama’s “Environmental Justice” Agenda?

Featured image One of the lesser-noted decisions that the Supreme Court handed down in its June term was Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District. Koontz applied for a permit to develop a portion of a small parcel of land that he owned in Florida, and offered a remediation plan to offset the effect of the development on wetlands on his property. The Water Management District rejected Koontz’s plan and said »

House of Cards of Windsor

Featured image Justice Scalia registered a stinging dissent in the Windsor case, in which the Supreme Court invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act on grounds that–to be polite–are opaque. My old friend Larry Tribe, now the Left’s favorite constitutional scholar, took Scalia to task. And George Mason’s Michael Greve unloaded on Tribe with both barrels. You won’t see better pyrotechnics until the day after tomorrow. You really should read it all, but »

There’s no modesty, judicial or literary, in Justice Kennedy

Featured image Justice Anthony Kennedy recently developed and distributed a list of recommended readings for young people. He called it “Understanding Freedom’s Heritage: How to Keep and Defend Liberty.” Here are the items Kennedy selected: Sophocles, Antigone (Antigone’s plea to Creon) (442 B.C.) Pericles, Funeral Oration (431 B.C.) Plato, The Allegory of the Cave The Republic, (Book VII) (c. 380 B.C.) Cicero, First Oration Against Catiline (63 B.C.) Magna Carta (Articles 39 »

Will there be future challenges to race-based admissions policies?

Featured image In response to this week’s Supreme Court’s decision that raised the legal standards race-based preferential admissions policy must meet in order to survive judicial scrutiny, I suggested, facetiously, that I might come out of retirement to litigate such cases. But this assumes that rejected white applicants will bring suits against universities they believe have discriminated against them. Stuart Taylor does not believe they will. Neither does David Bernstein. After all, »

Why the unusual 5-4 split in the Prop 8 case?

Featured image The Supreme Court’s decision in Perry that the parties defending the constitutionality of Prop 8 lack standing did not conform to the usual pattern in cases decided 5-4. Usually in such cases, we see the Court’s four liberal Justices — Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan — voting one way while either four or five of the remaining Justices vote the other. Typically, if only four of these Justices vote together, »

What Does It All Mean?

Featured image I’m not sure I can recall a 48-hour period that has sowed more confusion that the 48 hours just past.  Sandy Levinson, a straight-shooting liberal, says the Court’s gay marriage decisions are judicial camels (a horse designed by committee).  I guess I’ll have to wade through the Court’s two opinions, but I doubt that will help very much. Once again, Justice Kennedy has marred what might be a defensible holding »

Justice Alito denounces our “arrogant legal culture”

Featured image Justice Alito’s dissent in the DOMA case contains an instant-classic footnote (number 7). I reproduce it below in its entirety, hoping that you will read the whole thing: The degree to which this question [the traditional view of marriage vs. the consent-based view] is intractable to typical judicial processes of decisionmaking was highlighted by the trial in Hollingsworth v. Perry. In that case, the trial judge, after receiving testimony from »

The Supreme Court does marriage [with updates]

Featured image The Court has begun the festivities by holding that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The decision was 5-4, with Justice Kennedy writing the opinion. Chief Justice Roberts wrote a dissent, as did Justice Scalia. Scalia says the ruling springs from a “diseased root: an exalted notion of the role of this court in American democratic society.” That’s it exactly. I made this point here, among other places. I’m »

Supreme Court strikes a blow for a more sensible Voting Rights Act

Featured image Today, the Supreme Court decided an important Voting Rights Act case. In Shelby County v. Holder, it held that the formula defining covered jurisdictions for section 5 preclearance is unconstitutional. Amy Goldstein of Scotusblog explains: The preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act were designed to prevent discrimination in voting by requiring all state and local governments with a history of voting discrimination to get approval from the federal government »

Affirmative action forever

Featured image A few months ago I anticipated the somewhat disappointing result produced by the Supreme Court in the Fisher case addressing the issue of “affirmative action.” I thought pessimism was warranted and that the pessimistic view has been vindicated, although that isn’t entirely clear. In his column this morning George Will capably elaborates on the damage the Court has preserved. I’m taking the liberty of reiterating my own observations on the »