U.S. Supreme Court

President Obama’s Affirmative Action Problem and What He Should Do About It
August 10, 2012

One of the most consequential political decisions of the presidential campaign may soon take place without anyone noticing. On Monday, August 13, the Obama administration is slated to file an amicus brief in a U.S. Supreme Court case challenging the use of racial preferences in admission to the University of Texas at Austin.

The Real Immigration Debate Isn’t About the Law
April 26, 2012

Anyone who keeps an eye on immigration in America is thinking about Arizona right now, as the U.S.

If Medicare Is OK, Obamacare Should Be Too
March 22, 2012

The lawyers challenging the Affordable Care Act will offer many arguments next week, when they make their case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. But their most central claim is that the law is “unprecedented”—that it represents “a revolution in the relationship between the central government and the governed.”  As they tell it, the requirement that nearly everybody obtain insurance, or pay a penalty to the government, forces people to pay for something they might not want or need.

Why Death Penalty Opponents Are Closer to Their Goal Than They Realize
September 27, 2011

Georgia’s execution of Troy Davis last week was a poignant reminder of the continued presence of capital punishment in the United States. The Davis execution generated extraordinary interest because of troubling doubts about his guilt. Some observers have already speculated that the Davis case might serve as the spark that could reignite the movement to abolish the death penalty. But lost in some of the attention that the execution has generated is the death penalty’s unmistakable and precipitous decline over the past decade.

Perry vs. the Lap Dance Lobby
September 13, 2011

Rick Perry’s campaign for the presidency largely consists of touting the pro-growth policies of Texas—a state with no personal income tax, and the 47th lowest tax burden in the country—as a model for the rest of the United States. Perry’s claim is that his state, where he has served as governor for the past 11 years, has found more creative and more business-friendly ways to fill its coffers.  Don’t tell that to one of the state’s most vibrant industries: its nearly 200 strip clubs.

Why Do Republicans Hate Democracy?
September 07, 2011

Richard Cordray, President Obama's choice to head the new consumer financial protection bureau, came to Capitol Hill for his confirmation hearings on Tuesday. And, by all accounts, even Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee were impressed. Via ABC News:  He appeared to be liked personally by [Ranking Minority member Richard] Shelby and Bob Corker of Tennessee, the other Republican at the committee confirmation hearing.

Don’t Blame Perry for Texas’s Execution Addiction. He Doesn’t Have Much to Do With It.
September 02, 2011

When Rick Perry assumed the governorship in December, 2000, Texas was already the execution capital of the United States, responsible for more than a third of the nation’s executions since 1976. Now, almost eleven years later, the state has even further out-paced the rest of the country, with its share of executions growing to over 40 percent during Perry’s watch. Though it may be tempting—for either Perry’s supporters or his critics—to credit (or discredit) the governor with this super-sized slice of the pie chart of American executions, such an attribution would be in error.

Meet the Anti-Abortion Group Pushing Presidential Politics to the Extreme Right
July 11, 2011

Anti-abortion views first entered presidential politics in 1980, seven years after Roe v. Wade, when Ronald Reagan embraced a “family values” agenda to run against Jimmy Carter. They’ve been the stock-in-trade of Republican candidates ever since, and, this year, a pro-life group called the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List—more about them in a minute—has instituted an early gut-check, a “Pro-Life Presidential Leadership Pledge.” All of the candidates, except Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, and Gary Johnson, have signed it.

Is John Paul Stevens Right that Americans are Healthier than Ever?
July 08, 2011

91 year-old former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens thinks he may have “jumped the gun” on retirement—he says his mind and body are holding up just fine. A spry Stevens recently told an AARP reporter in a taped interview that he also thinks “because generally people remain healthier for a longer period of time, it would perhaps be appropriate to increase the retirement age under the Social Security law.” Picking up where Stevens left off, are Americans actually living healthier and longer lives than they used to? As it turns out, there’s good news and there’s bad news.

The Court of Celebrity
May 05, 2011

Justices and Journalists: The U.S. Supreme Court and the Media By Richard Davis (Cambridge University Press, 241 pp., $28.99) The way in which every person, every institution, relates to people is essentially, though often unconsciously, theatrical. We are experts in self-presentation, in acting a part to further our aims and interests. We have, all of us, a public relations strategy. This is true of the Supreme Court, too, and of the individual Supreme Court justices.

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