US Opinion and Commentary

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Slam of Donald Trump

Posted July 12th, 2016 at 10:50 am (UTC-5)
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Like all the justices, Ginsburg is expected to render decisions in line with her judicial ideology, that is, her understanding of how the Constitution should be interpreted. This matter of interpretive style is as much a political judgment as a legal one. But electoral politics have long been off-limits for sitting judges, including justices.

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Texas, Abortion and the Supreme Court

Posted June 28th, 2016 at 4:42 pm (UTC-5)
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Once again, Texas loses at the U.S. Supreme Court over abortion.

In 1973, Texas’ ban on abortion was overturned in the landmark Roe v. Wade case.

And Monday, the state’s restrictions on abortion clinics was struck down, deemed an “undue burden” to a woman’s right to an abortion.

While Americans’ deeply divided opinions about abortion have not changed much in the past 20 years, the debate still rages over a woman’s right to what she can and cannot do to her body versus the rights of the unborn.

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Nation Built on Immigrants Reconsiders Immigration

Posted April 18th, 2016 at 11:25 am (UTC-5)
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Few issues are as emotional—and call upon America’s collective morality—as immigration.

“It makes us special, it makes us strong, it’s makes us Americans.”

The words of a visibly frustrated President Barack Obama in 2014, during his announcement that he had used his executive authority to shield illegal immigrants from deportation after failing to pass a reform bill in Congress. Two years later, the United States Supreme Court takes up the battle again in The United States versus Texas, which challenges the president’s decision (via executive action) to make four million illegal immigrants legal. For border states like Texas, the reality of undocumented Mexican children showing up alone with no resources is felt daily. So it is no coincidence that Texas led the charge all the way to the Supreme Court against Obama’s solution to the country’s growing and ever more complex immigration situation.

And with Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump threatening to send immigrants back home and “build a wall” around U.S. borders, the inevitable tensions around illegal immigration have been stoked to feverish levels.

All eyes are on the court.

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A Worthy Supreme Court Nominee

Posted March 22nd, 2016 at 12:13 pm (UTC-5)
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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.

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By Hamilton’s Rules on Supreme Picks, the Senate’s Right and Obama’s Wrong

Posted March 18th, 2016 at 1:25 pm (UTC-5)
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What Hamilton stressed was what he called “a great inferiority in the power of the President, in this particular, to that of the British king.” Nor, he went on, was the presidential power even “equal to that of the governor of New York.”

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Tipping the Scales of Political Justice

Posted March 16th, 2016 at 5:02 pm (UTC-5)
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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.

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Obama Nominates Judge Merrick Garland to Supreme Court

Posted March 16th, 2016 at 4:12 pm (UTC-5)
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Merrick Garland, a longtime Washington lawyer, is considered a moderate jurist. He currently serves as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. If approved by Congress, he will fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

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Obama Pledges to Carefully Select Replacement for Justice Scalia

Posted February 24th, 2016 at 10:11 am (UTC-5)
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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

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The Supreme Court’s Next Landmark Cases

Posted October 5th, 2015 at 9:25 am (UTC-5)
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Last term saw vindication of the long liberal fight for gay rights. This time the victors in a long war are much more likely to be conservative.

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Supreme Court Rulings Suggest Social, Political Shift

Posted June 30th, 2015 at 3:36 pm (UTC-5)
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As the court winds up its term, decisions on controversial cases such as Obamacare and same-sex marriage have provoked heated debate. Supporters are hailing the constitutional inclusiveness of the rulings, while more conservative observers are decrying a court that they argue has overstepped its boundaries.

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Supreme Court Ruling on Gay Marriage Marks Profound Cultural Shift

Posted June 29th, 2015 at 1:22 pm (UTC-5)
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Last week’s landmark 5 to 4 decision on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage is a watershed moment. To supporters, it was the culmination of decades of court petitions and a non-stop activist movement. Opponents largely blasted the justices for imposing their judicial will inappropriately, and trampling on states rights. Either way, gay marriage now has the blessing of the highest court in the land.

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