Ruth Bader Ginsburg
February 22, 2012
Newt Gingrich’s attack on judicial independence—in particular, his call for Congress to subpoena judges and force them to explain their rulings under threat of arrest—is widely viewed as one of the reasons his now-moribund presidential campaign jumped the shark. Both conservative and liberal pundits were alarmed by Gingrich’s assault on the concept of judicial review, and rightly so. But, if Gingrich’s judge-bashing was extreme, it was not an isolated phenomenon.
All Hail Samuel Alito, Privacy Champion Extraordinaire!
January 24, 2012
Yesterday the Supreme Court handed down the most important privacy case of the Roberts era, U.S. v. Jones. The unanimous decision is an occasion for dancing in the chat rooms. In holding that the government needs a warrant before attaching a GPS device to a suspect’s car to track his movements 24/7 for a month, all the justices rejected the Obama administration’s extreme and unnecessary position that we have no expectations of privacy when it comes to the virtual surveillance of our movements in public places.
The Case for Early Retirement
April 28, 2011
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer should soon retire. That would be the responsible thing for them to do. Both have served with distinction on the Supreme Court for a substantial period of time; Ginsburg for almost 18 years, Breyer for 17. Both are unlikely to be able to outlast a two-term Republican presidential administration, should one supersede the Obama administration following the 2012 election. What’s more, both are, well, old: Ginsburg is now 78, the senior sitting justice. Breyer is 72. Is such a suggestion an illicit politicization of the Court? No.
[Guest post by Chloe Schama:] Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for a class-action case that NPR called “the largest sex discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history.” The description is actually a bit misleading: From a legal standpoint, the issue in Dukes v. Wal-Mart is standing: whether or not hundreds of thousands of women—upon whose behalf former Wal-Mart employee Betty Dukes had filed the case—could band together and sue for damages. Or, as Richard Thompson Ford put it in Slate, “[W]hat’s at stake in Dukes v.
Is Kagan Obama's Last Justice?
August 06, 2010
The margins for confirming Supreme Court Justices are getting tighter: Though it confirmed her Thursday as the newest justice by a 63-37 vote, Kagan has the dubious distinction of receiving one of the lowest total of “yes” votes for a nominee during the past three presidencies — and the lowest number of confirmation votes ever for a justice picked by a Democrat. Kagan’s meager tally is five fewer than Sonia Sotomayor last year, 15 fewer than John Roberts got in 2005 and pales in comparison to the 96-3 coronation of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1993.
July 12, 2010
The past few months have seen plenty of commentary about Elena Kagan’s status as one of only a few women ever nominated to the Supreme Court. But much of this commentary has rung hollow, consisting of platitudes about how she is a “trailblazer.” Practically no one has focused on what is perhaps a far more important aspect of her gender: Elena Kagan might very well be the first female nominee to the Supreme Court who does not define her gender as salient to her public life. Kagan has been deemed a female pioneer: the first woman to lead Harvard Law School and to serve as solicitor general.
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.
Vacuity and Farce
May 21, 2010
The Supreme Court is divided into two blocs, as hostile and immutable as NATO and the Warsaw Pact. In the middle of the two blocs sits Anthony Kennedy, a Yugoslavia-like figure who tilts toward one bloc but has demonstrated significant independence. When and how the delicate balance of power will be broken rests upon two questions: First, will one of the four liberals get sick and die during a Republican presidency before one of the four conservatives gets sick and dies during a Democratic presidency?
May 03, 2010
Miguel Estrada seemed to be a shoo-in for the federal bench. Nominated by George W. Bush to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2001 when he was just 39, Estrada was born in Honduras. He arrived in the United States as a teenager speaking little English and went on to graduate from Harvard Law School and clerk for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. He then worked at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, arguably the most prestigious law firm in the nation, and, later, as an Assistant U.S.
Jonah Goldberg Embarrasses Himself
July 14, 2009
In his Los Angeles Times column today, the man who styles himself the Churchill of opposition to liberal fascism takes aim at a surprising target. Here's what Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in Sunday's New York Times Magazine: "Frankly I had thought that at the time [Roe vs.