US Opinion and Commentary

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A Worthy Supreme Court Nominee

Posted March 22nd, 2016 at 12:13 pm (UTC-4)
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Any reasonable person would conclude that objections to Chief Judge Garland’s appointment are entirely partisan. Indeed, Chief Judge Garland is the best-prepared Supreme Court nominee since I graduated from law school in 1980.

Tipping the Scales of Political Justice

Posted March 16th, 2016 at 5:02 pm (UTC-4)
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After weeks of speculation about whether President Obama would nominate a liberal ideologue who is a minority or woman to replace the venerated conservative Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, Obama selected a respected 63-year old white man, described by legal experts as a centrist judge. Merrick Garland is the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C.Circuit — considered by many to be the second highest court in the land. On MSNBC, SCOTUSblog publisher Tom Goldstein called Garland a nominee “who Republicans would have the hardest time saying ‘no’ to,” but he may never get a confirmation hearing by the Senate. Shortly after the announcement, the Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said the nomination would not be considered because this is an election year. McConnell said the “people should have a voice in filling the vacancy.” As the contentious campaign plays out over the next seven months, it will be interesting to see whether political pressure builds for the Senate to give Garland its consideration.

Obama Pledges to Carefully Select Replacement for Justice Scalia

Posted February 24th, 2016 at 10:11 am (UTC-4)
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“It’s a decision to which I devote considerable time, deep reflection, careful deliberation, and serious consultation with legal experts, members of both political parties, and people across the political spectrum.” President Barack Obama

Supreme Politics

Posted February 16th, 2016 at 4:07 pm (UTC-4)
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Despite its status as an independent branch of government, the American judiciary is not immune to partisan politics. That has become vividly apparent in the hours and days following Saturday’s death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Saturday. The United States Constitution codifies the politicization of the Supreme Court. Article II Section 2 says the president “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint…Judges of the Supreme Court…” In other words, the president appoints, the Senate anoints. At stake in replacing Scalia is the philosophical bent of the Supreme Court. Scalia was a steadfast conservative. His death leaves the nine member court divided between four conservatives and four liberals. With a presidential election coming in November, conservative Republicans wasted no time in demanding that President Barack Obama refrain from nominating a replacement for Scalia, arguing that responsibility should be left for the next president after the American people have their say. Obama has vowed to exercise his constitutional duty and nominate a candidate for the Supreme Court “in due time.” Fellow Democrats argue that the president has already won two elections and the people have already spoken about the direction of the country. Few believe the senate will act on the president’s nomination, leaving the Supreme Court in the political gridlock gripping the other two branches of government.

Justice Antonin Scalia ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if Supreme Court Ends the Death Penalty

Posted September 28th, 2015 at 1:17 pm (UTC-4)
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Add to that the growing revelations of prosecutorial misconduct, and the questions of constitutionality become too big for even conservatives to ignore. In fact, in recent years, conservatives have come to question the death penalty on moral as well as fiscal and good-governance grounds.