Jeffrey Rosen

December 10, 2007

My Grandfather's Son: A MemoirBy Clarence Thomas(Harper, 289 pp., $26.95)Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence ThomasBy Kevin Merida and Michael A. Fletcher(Doubleday, 422 pp., $26.95)A society overwhelmed by the culture of celebrity will not suffer from a surfeit of reverence for authority. Authority, after all, requires a mystique, even and perhaps especially in a democracy, where the leveling impulse that is a feature of egalitarian politics can spill over into something ugly, into a cynical, envious, or voyeuristic appetite for the degradation of leaders.

Supreme Leader
June 16, 2007

Jeffrey Rosen on Anthony Kennedy's moralistic tendencies.

Justice Anthony Kennedy
June 11, 2007

In the current issue, I write about the utopianism of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who as the swing vote on the Supreme Court, has imposed his moral abstractions on issues ranging from women's rights to the death penalty. Here are some totemic documents that may help to illuminate his worldview. Justice Kennedy's interview with the Academy of Achievement, June 3, 2005. In the most comprehensive interview he has granted, Kennedy shares his opinions on everything from Billy Budd to The Bonfire of the Vanities.

John Roberts, centrist?; Partial Solution
December 11, 2006

As always, Democratic candidates in the last election warned thatconservative Supreme Court justices would threaten abortion rights.So it was especially appropriate that, as Democrats werecelebrating their victory on the morning of November 8, the Courtwas hearing oral arguments in two cases that many liberals fearcould signal the beginning of the end for Roe v. Wade. The cases,which concern the federal ban on partial-birth abortion, are similarto a case the Court decided in 2000 involving the constitutionalityof partial- birth abortion bans in 29 states.

House Arrest
November 20, 2006

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Full Court Press
November 13, 2006

Bill Keller can't sleep. It is four o'clock on a sticky morning in the summer of 2007, and the executive editor of The New York Times is pacing his home, cursing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Here is the root of his insomnia: A few months earlier, the Democrats recaptured the House.

Bush's Leviathan state.
July 24, 2006

One of the defining principles of the Bush administration has been a belief in unfettered executive power. Indeed, President Bush has taken the principle to such unprecedented extremes that an ironic reversal has taken place: A conservative ideology that had always been devoted to limiting government power has been transformed into the largest expansion of executive power since FDR.

Congress lets the NSA run amok.
June 05, 2006

This article is adapted from Jeffrey Rosen's new book, The Most Democratic Branch: How the Courts Serve America (Oxford University Press). On May 11, USA Today revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been secretly collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans in the hope of detecting terrorists. In response to the story, civil libertarians are once again rushing to court.

Alberto Gonzales's spin.
February 27, 2006

After Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's inept performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Republicans as well as Democrats expressed strong skepticism about the legality of the Bush administration's domestic wiretapping program.

Samuel Alito, executive assistant.
January 30, 2006

Senator Patrick Leahy wanted a straight answer to a simple question. "Wouldn't it be constitutional for the Congress to outlaw Americans from using torture?" the senator asked Judge Samuel Alito during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings last week. Here was Alito's reply: "Well, senator, I think the important points are that the president has to follow the Constitution and the laws. ... But, as to specific issues that might come up, I really need to know the specifics."This wasn't exactly the answer Leahy was looking for.