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.
Alito And Our Squeamish Republic
January 28, 2010
Last year, Joe "You Lie!" Wilson earned the scorn of the establishment. Last night, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito came under criticism. His crime? Being caught on camera expressing disagreement in response to criticism from the president. This emerged as a minor theme of the cable talking head wrapups, and the New York Times reported, "Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., breaking with decorum at such events, shook his head and appeared to mouth the words, 'No, it’s not true.'" Have we really gotten so squeamish?
Obama's War With the Court Just Escalated
January 27, 2010
One of the most dramatic moments in President Obama's State of the Union was his attack on the Supreme Court with the justices arrayed in front of him. "Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests--including foreign corporations--to spend without limit in our elections," Obama declared.
July 17, 2009
Attention was understandably focused on Sonia Sotomayor this week, as her confirmation hearings unfolded. But what about Obama's other judicial nominees? The president has so far nominated five judges to federal circuit courts. On average, these nominees are 55 years old, more than a decade older than Sotomayor was when she was nominated to the Second Circuit. (She was 43.) For years, Republicans have been nominating sharp young conservatives to the lower federal courts.
November 05, 2008
During every presidential campaign for the last two decades, liberals have predicted an apocalypse in the Supreme Court. In their dire visions, as many as four justices are always about to retire, meaning that a Republican victory would turn the court radically to the right and lead to the certain overturning of Roe v. Wade. In each of the past three elections, of course, these hyperbolic predictions have turned out to be wrong.
May 21, 2007
“THANK GOD for President Bush, and thank God for Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito,” intoned Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention last week, after the Supreme Court announced its decision in Gonzales v. Carhart, the so-called partial-birth abortion case. But Land also should have thanked Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose majority opinion dangerously reframes the abortion debate. Kennedy doesn’t proceed from the question of harm to the unborn—the premise on which the congressional act in question is based.
No Surprises (yet) From Alito And Roberts
April 23, 2007
by Cass Sunstein No one doubts the sheer ability of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. No one should doubt their characters or their commitment to the law. But at the time of their confirmations, there was real disagreement about whether they would turn out to be essentially predictable in their votes, or whether their commitment to the law, and their lawyerly skills, would lead them, on occasion, in surprising directions.
Not in the Heavens
February 20, 2006
WITNESSING THEIR FAITH: RELIGIOUS INFLUENCE ON SUPREME COURT JUSTICES AND THEIR OPINIONS By Jay Alan Sekulow(Rowman & Littlefield, 349 pp., $27.95) I. THE CONFIRMATION OF JUSTICE Samuel Alito brings to five the number of Catholics on the Supreme Court of the United States. All Americans can be proud of this fact, or more precisely, proud of the fact that Alito’s religious affiliation never became an issue during his confirmation process.
February 20, 2006
SUPREME RETORT I THINK THERE IS SERIOUS CONFUSION as to what the theory of the "unitary executive" entails ("Against Alito," January 30). Justice Antonin Scalia's famous dissent in Morrison v. Olson is an example of one interpretation of the theory, which holds that executive power lies with the president, and that no "person whose actions are not fully with the supervision and control" of the president can seize it. The issue in Morrison was the law that provided for the appointment of an independent counsel.
January 23, 2006
Cracking down on lobbyists is a hot issue in Washington these days, but it hasn't quite made it to the Senate Judiciary Committee. On day one of his confirmation hearing, Samuel Alito introduced America to his fine-looking family, spread across a row behind his right shoulder. But that tall, chinless man who could be frequently glimpsed over Alito's other shoulder wasn't some Alito brother-in-law.