How Scalia's Beliefs Completely Changed the Supreme Court
September 09, 2014
With 28 years on the bench, his beliefs have seeped into nearly ever aspect of federal law.
March 15, 2012
Living OriginalismBy Jack M. Balkin(Belknap Press, 474 pp., $35) On the morning of July 14, 1967, Thurgood Marshall began his second day of Supreme Court confirmation hearings by preparing to confront questions posed by Senator Sam J. Ervin Jr. of North Carolina. This prospect seems unlikely to have been a pleasant one. After thirteen years in Washington, Ervin’s foremost achievement remained his role in drafting the document that had formally been styled a Declaration of Constitutional Principles, but that almost instantly became known as the Southern Manifesto.
June 09, 2011
On March 29, 1989, at a time when many of his fellow first-year law students were beginning to prepare for the spring semester’s looming examinations, Barack Obama paid a visit to the office of eminent constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe. Obama had not dropped by to brush up for a test. In fact, he had yet even to enroll in an introductory constitutional law course, a gratification Harvard Law School denies its students until the second year of study. Obama’s call was purely extracurricular: He wanted to discuss Tribe’s academic writings.
Robust and Wide-Open
January 27, 2011
Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion By Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 674 pp., $35) In September 1956, when the eminently forgettable Justice Sherman Minton announced his retirement from the Supreme Court, President Eisenhower’s motivation in selecting a replacement stemmed less from legal considerations than from political calculations. With the upcoming presidential election just weeks away, he instructed Attorney General Herbert Brownell Jr. to locate a nominee who, in addition to being younger than sixty-two, was both a Catholic and a Democrat.
June 22, 2010
In 1997, Justice Antonin Scalia released a slender volume setting forth his judicial vision. In addition to defending originalism, Scalia sought to disparage what he viewed as the then-dominant mode of interpreting the Constitution. “The ascendant school of constitutional interpretation affirms the existence of what is called The Living Constitution, a body of law that ... grows and changes from age to age, in order to meet the needs of a changing society,” Scalia wrote.
The Stevens Myth
April 07, 2010
Legal circles have been abuzz for the last eight months with the news that Justice John Paul Stevens had hired only one law clerk to begin working this summer. This move, Supreme Court watchers observed, strongly suggested that Stevens’s thirty-fifth term at the Court would be his last. As journalists and scholars begin contemplating his place in history, Stevens himself has not-so-subtly attempted to burnish his judicial legacy. In a series of interviews over the last few years, Stevens has repeatedly attempted to portray his views as fundamentally unaltered since he joined the Court.
Why Law Should Lead
April 02, 2010
The Will of the People: How Public Opinion Has Influenced the Supreme Court and Shaped the Meaning of the Constitution By Barry Friedman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 614 pp., $35) In 1952, as the Supreme Court contemplated the set of cases that would eventually become known as Brown v. Board of Education, a law clerk named William H.