Who’s the Supreme Court Leaker?
July 02, 2012

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”?

McNamara's Tell
April 11, 2012

Sen. Barry Goldwater used to claim that whenever Ronald Reagan's CIA director, Bill Casey, lied while testifying before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, his deputy, Bobby Inman, would lean forward and pull up his socks to signal to the interrogators that Casey was not telling the truth. Apparently Robert McNamara, defense secretary under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, used the same method on himself.

In Defense of Don Verrilli: Why the Solicitor General Actually Did a Great Job Defending Obamacare
March 29, 2012

As Tuesday’s oral argument on the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate came to a close, several commentators faulted Solicitor General Donald Verrilli’s performance. Particularly harsh was CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin, who called the two hour argument “a train wreck for the Obama Administration.” But having sat through the oral argument and re-read the transcript, I have to dissent. Especially on paper, Verrilli’s performance appears quite strong—and possibly more effective than that of his opponents, Michael Carvin and the justly renowned Paul Clement. Here’s why.

Attack Of The Pod People
March 08, 2011

My Don Rumsfeld joke has John Podhoretz spitting mad: Victor Davis Hanson catches the New Republic’s Jonathan Chait making an analogy so disgusting that I almost have to believe Chait is simply too stupid to understand the implications of what he wrote — because the only other conclusion is that he has absolutely no sense of where the boundaries of even minimally civil public discourse are.

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.

The Accountable Presidency
February 01, 2010

Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush By John Yoo (Kaplan, 544 pp., $29.95) Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State By Garry Wills (Penguin, 288 pp., $27.95)   I. In December 2008, Chris Wallace asked Vice President Cheney, “If the president, during war, decides to do something to protect the country, is it legal?” Cheney’s answer included a reference to a military authority that President Bush did not exercise.

Exceeding Expectations
September 09, 2009

I have been a bit outspoken in arguing that the vast expectations building up around the president’s health care reform speech tonight were unreasonable, and unnecessary. Congress is closer to enactment of legislation that it’s been all year, or at any time since 1994, and his job tonight was to “reboot” the debate by rebutting the lies that have been circulating about reform, and restating the basic case for action this year.  The president did that abundantly.

The Bad Huck Takes Over
August 28, 2009

It's debatable whether the latest incarnation of Mike Huckabee represents a turn to the dark side by the genial and amusing 2008 presidential candidate that a lot of Democrats admired, or a revelation of what the man has always really been. But ever since he became a radio and TV gabber, the Bad Huck has taken over.

In Which I Triple Down on Kennedy, Health Care
August 28, 2009

Okay, in for one blog item, in for three... The emerging CW on Kennedy and health care is that his death either doesn't change or worsens the Senate math because the people who hold the key votes--Republicans and moderate Democrats--don't hail from states where there's much of an outpouring of goodwill. As my colleague Mike Crowley puts it today, subbing in for the apparently human (who knew?) Mike Allen in Politico's "Playbook": Will there be a “Kennedy effect” that pushes health care through? Not likely.