The Butterfly Effect
July 28, 2011
It is often said that the age of the Washington hostess is dead. Gone are the days, we are told, of Katharine Graham and Pamela Harriman, who assembled Washington power players around tables where deals were struck and alliances forged. But that may not be entirely true. The name Rima Al-Sabah doesn’t ring many bells to people outside the Beltway. Inside, it rings a lot. Al-Sabah is the wife of the Kuwaiti ambassador, Salem Al-Sabah. Since the couple arrived in Washington in 2001, she has become known as the issuer of invitations one doesn’t decline.
Why I Miss Sandra Day O’Connor
July 01, 2011
The Supreme Court term that ended this week would have looked very different if Justice Sandra Day O’Connor were still on the bench. Twenty percent of the cases were decided by a 5-4 vote, and, in many of those cases, Justice O’Connor would have voted to swing the result the other way. In two interviews this week at the Aspen Ideas Festival, O’Connor, a former Arizona state legislator, suggested to me that she disagreed with the 5-4 decision striking down Arizona’s public campaign financing system. She worried that it might call other public financing schemes into question.
Disorder in the Court
June 23, 2011
In April 2000, a Vermont musician named Diana Levine went to the hospital with a migraine. There, a nurse incorrectly injected Phenergan, an anti-nausea drug, into her vein rather than her muscle. This led to gangrene and, eventually, the amputation of much of her right arm. Levine sued and won more than $6 million from a Vermont jury, which concluded that Wyeth, the drug company, had failed to warn her properly about the risks of the drug.
‘Senator Junior DeMint’
December 23, 2010
With all the hullabaloo surrounding Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell and Joe Miller during the midterms, it was easy to lose track of some equally conservative, but less flamboyant, candidates. And it seems safe to say that no Tea Partier had more success while garnering less national attention than Mike Lee. While running for Senate, the 39-year-old Utah Republican proposed dismantling the Department of Education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
One of the supposed knocks against Elizabeth Warren is that she’s an ideological crusader bent on destroying capitalism as we know it. If she were to lead the new consumer protection agency, she could do serious harm to the country. But Charles Fried disagrees. Fried, who spoke to TNR this afternoon, is one of Warren's colleagues at Harvard Law School. He also served as solicitor general under Ronald Reagan and openly supported the nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. In other words, he's a bona fide conservative.
The Liberal Hour
June 25, 2010
Washington—This week’s hearings over Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court will mark a sea change in the way liberals argue about the judiciary. Democratic senators are planning to put the right of citizens to challenge corporate power at the center of their critique of activist conservative judging, offering a case that has not been fully aired since the days of the great Progressive Era Justice Louis Brandeis. It was Brandeis who warned against the “concentration of economic power” and observed that “so-called private corporations are sometimes able to dominate the state.” None of
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 Left’s John Roberts
May 13, 2010
WASHINGTON— Brace yourself for several months of occasionally biting but essentially meaningless political theater over the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Underlying the fight will be a fundamental divide between liberals and conservatives over the direction of the court. Thus, many senators who supported Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito will oppose Kagan, while most who were against Roberts and Alito will be for her. The irony is that the surface similarities between Roberts and Kagan are breathtaking.
The Ten Biggest Issues Elena Kagan Will Face
May 09, 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, where this piece was originally posted. Here is how I think the nomination process is likely to play out. I divide it into process and substance. First, the process: Note the relationship between Monday’s announcement and the Senate calendar. There are seven weeks between Monday and June 28.
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.