Supreme Court

Kennedy Curse
July 21, 2003

An analysis of the 2003 Supreme Court decision to make same-sex sexual activity legal in the US.

Light Footprint
July 07, 2003

In the months leading up to the Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, it was hard not to feel a sense of dread. At other great moments of constitutional drama—the decision to reaffirm Roe in 1992 and to settle the presidential election of 2000—the justices had allowed an inflated sense of their own importance to distort their judgment and compromise their reasoning.

Ripple Effect
June 23, 2003

In the next two weeks, the Supreme Court will rule, in Lawrence v. Texas, on the constitutionality of Texas's law criminalizing consensual homosexual sodomy. The case involves the arrests and convictions of John Lawrence and Tyron Garner, who were discovered having sex in Lawrence's bedroom when police responded to a false report by a neighbor that a man was "going crazy" in the apartment. The two men were arrested, convicted, fined, and jailed.

Notebook
May 05, 2003

SUPREME CANT “If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual [gay] sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything.” Thus pronounced Republican Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania this week in an interview with an Associated Press reporter. It’s hard to characterize Santorum’s remarks as anything other than those of a homophobic bigot; but, rest assured, Santorum’s staff has tried.

On the Hill: Private Opinion
April 07, 2003

In recent weeks, a visibly angry Orrin Hatch has been appearing regularly on the Senate floor to vent about the Miguel Estrada nomination battle. More precisely, Hatch has been denouncing the filibuster mounted by Democrats to prevent a straight up-or-down vote on the Hispanic would-be judge, a vote that would surely place Estrada on the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Arrangements
September 09, 2002

The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter (Alfred A. Knopf, 672 pp., $26.95) But for the fact that he has written a novel, Stephen L. Carter is not a novelist. He is a professor of law at Yale who made his debut in 1991 with a lively and candid book called Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby, a sober exploration of affirmative action and its effect on his life.

Idiot Time
July 08, 2002

Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich by Kevin Phillips (Broadway Books, 432 pp., $29.95) Stupid White Men ... and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation! by Michael Moore (ReganBooks, 304 pp., $24.95) I. As Lord Bryce noted in 1888 in The American Commonwealth, the American way of choosing presidents rarely produces politicians of quality. Subsequent events vindicated his point: in the half-century after his book appeared, Americans elected to the presidency such undistinguished men as William McKinley, William Howard Taft, Warren G.

The Accidental Jurist
December 17, 2001

John Marshall was not the first chief justice. The Supreme Court was formed in 1789, shortly after the Constitution was ratified, and Marshall was appointed in 1801. But the Court had little business in its early days, and the period of Marshall's chief justiceship, which extended until his death in 1835, was the formative era in the history of the Supreme Court and in the interpretation of the Constitution.

Holding Pattern
December 10, 2001

Of all the new security measures adopted by the Bush administration since September 11, the most draconian involve the detention and interrogation of aliens. In his dragnet effort to uncover evidence of terrorism, Attorney General John Ashcroft has authorized the detention of some 1,100 noncitizens. Some have been held for months and--thanks to recently passed legislation--may be held indefinitely. Critics call the Ashcroft detentions unconstitutional.

Count Down
November 26, 2001

Now that a consortium of major newspapers has reported that George W. Bush would have won the Florida recount, his legitimacy is supposedly beyond dispute. "Even Gore partisans," asserts a Wall Street Journal editorial, "now have to admit that the former Vice President was not denied a legitimate victory by the Supreme Court." And this conclusion is not confined to Bush's amen corner. "The comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots solidifies George W. Bush's legal claim to the White House," chimes in The New York Times. So Bush is now a legitimate president, right?

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