District of Columbia

The Case for More Federal Aid
February 15, 2011

State governments are facing catastrophic budget deficits for fiscal year2012, and they are suggesting drastic cuts to attempt to fill the gaps. But this proposed austerity may not be necessary, and, moreover, it is almost certainly unwise.

Discovering Equality
January 13, 2011

The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery By Eric Foner (W.W. Norton, 426 pp., $29.95) I. As we begin a raft of sesquicentennials that will carry us through at least the next half-decade—the secession of Southern states, the formation of the Confederacy, the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, Appomattox, and so on—I confess to feeling a mixture of excitement and trepidation. These are all signal events in our history, the roadblocks and thoroughfares in the making of modern America, and at a time of general crisis they are especially important to revisit.

What Will Happen to D.C. Schools If Michelle Rhee Leaves? UPDATED
September 15, 2010

What would public schools in Washington, D.C., be like without Michelle Rhee? It’s the big question of the day, after incumbent Adrian Fenty lost the Democratic nomination for mayor to city council Chairman Vincent Gray on Tuesday. It was Fenty who appointed the hard-charging, reform-minded Rhee. Before the election, Rhee hinted that she might leave her job if Gray won and became mayor (as he is all but certain to do, since there’s currently no Republican opponent to face in the November general election).

Who is Royce Lamberth?
August 24, 2010

U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth made headlines yesterday for ruling that President Obama’s program providing funding for embryonic-stem-cell research is illegal. Here are four things you should know: 1. He’s a long-time public servant: Lamberth got his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Texas and then spent the next six years in the Army JAG Corps. From 1974 to 1987, he was the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and led its civil division from 1978 to 1987, when President Reagan appointed him to the D.C. U.S. District Court.

Obama Needs To Start Talking About Race
July 15, 2010

Better late than never: On Tuesday, the White House launched a national strategy to fight HIV and AIDS, vowing to cut HIV infection rates by one quarter within five years. Astonishingly, this marked the first time that a U.S. administration has formulated a comprehensive plan to battle a disease that has killed more than 575,000 Americans. The strategy came with some fine-sounding words from President Barack Obama by way of introduction. “Our country is at a crossroads,” he stated.

It's Alive
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.

Living Without Stevens
April 21, 2010

Tom Goldstein is a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, and lecturer at Stanford and Harvard Law Schools. He is the founder of SCOTUSblog. A version of this piece was originally posted there on April 18, 2010. Supreme Court retirements inevitably produce much more coverage of process than substance. The press is dominated by political rather than legal reporters. Politics is also more familiar and therefore more accessible to the public than are court decisions. The irony is that this attention to process is not very meaningful—at least at this stage, when there is no nominee.

Just How Much Taxation Without Representation?
April 15, 2010

Over the past year or so the nebulous movement known as the Tea Party has co-opted many of the symbols of the founding fathers to fight against (among other things) taxation without representation. However, on Tax Day it is important to remember the one group of present-day citizens who know what “taxation without representation” really means: residents of the District of Columbia. A refresher: Washington, D.C.

The Battle Over the Court
April 14, 2010

I. Moments after Justice John Paul Stevens announced his intention to retire from the Supreme Court, Republican senators warned President Barack Obama not to appoint a judicial activist to replace him. Senator Orrin Hatch promised Obama “a whale of a fight if he appoints an activist to the court” and Senator Mitch McConnell warned that “Americans can expect Senate Republicans to make a sustained and vigorous case for judicial restraint and the fundamental importance of an evenhanded reading of the law." But Hatch and McConnell’s definition of “judicial activism” is topsy-turvy.

Eric Holder, Pathetic … And His Pathos Is Right There On The Front Page Of The Times.
February 15, 2010

Poor Eric Holder. The fact is that he is none too smart ... and none too versed in constitutional issues. Although Ronald Reagan did appoint him Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia! Ah, those were the days when Republican presidents appointed Democrats to judicial office and Democratic presidents appointed Republicans to same. Actually, aside from his graduation from Stuyvesant High School in New York City, "second rate" is what comes to mind when you hear Holder's name. Hey, Janet Reno wasn't so brainy either. Holder's mental equipment matters now more than ever.

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