Clarence Thomas

It's entirely in keeping with the judicial restraint we've been urging right-wing justices to observe. And it could have been much worse.

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On the second day of the Supreme Court term, the justices debated whether limits on aggregate campaign contributions were necessary to prevent individual donors from corrupting politicians through quid pro quo gifts.

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Legal scholars of the right and left take on the Supreme Court's decision to undo the Voting Rights Act.

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Lawyers from left and right pick apart the court's non-ruling in the Fisher case (and each other, too).

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Big Chief

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If for some reason you haven’t read the remarkable Jan Crawford piece about how John Roberts changed his vote on health care, then you really should. As Jonathan Cohn points out, Crawford is well-sourced and highly credible on matters involving legal conservatives, and she based her account on “two sources with specific knowledge of the deliberations.” The obvious next question, as Orin Kerr writes, is “who leaked”?

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[Guest post by Perry Stein and Simon Meiners] The three-day marathon Supreme Court hearing on Obamacare is over and, to no one’s surprise, Justice Clarence Thomas didn’t say a word. The justice has long-been famous for his silence on the bench, having spoken just once since 2006. We decided to determine precisely how many times Thomas has spoken during oral arguments since he joined the bench in 1991. The task seemed pretty simple: just search through the Supreme Court transcripts.

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In the weeks preceding the Obamacare case, many veteran Supreme Court-watchers could not bring themselves to believe that a majority of the justices would find the individual health insurance mandate unconstitutional.

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Las Vegas hasn’t posted odds on whether the Supreme Court will reject health care reform. But the American Bar Association has done the next best thing. As part of a special publication devoted to the case, the ABA surveyed a group of veteran observers and asked them to predict the outcome. The results? Eighty-five percent predicted that the court will uphold the law. The ABA won’t say how it picked the experts; it promised anonymity to guarantee candor. So make of the results what you will. But those experts seem to part of a broader consensus.

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Second Thoughts

There are two Democrats running at the top of the ticket this year, and only one of them is President Barack Obama. When Joe Biden’s name first came up, in 2008, as a possible running mate, I told everyone I knew that it would never happen. When Obama did choose Biden, I braced myself for disaster. But Biden turned out to be the right guy for the job. People don’t appreciate what a surprising outcome this is. My reasoning back in 2008 was grounded in observable fact.

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