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-4)
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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.

Pro-Choice? You Might Also Be Pro-Gun

Posted June 30th, 2016 at 11:21 am (UTC-4)
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[I]f the Texas laws aimed at health reform unduly burden the right to choose, it is important to consider how state gun control laws could likewise infringe upon the right to bear arms….Like the “right to choose,” the right to a firearm is not limitless….what are the outer bounds of limitation?  

Texas, Abortion and the Supreme Court

Posted June 28th, 2016 at 4:42 pm (UTC-4)
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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.

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

Posted March 18th, 2016 at 1:25 pm (UTC-4)
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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.”

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 Nominates Judge Merrick Garland to Supreme Court

Posted March 16th, 2016 at 4:12 pm (UTC-4)
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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.

Honoring Justice Scalia

Posted February 16th, 2016 at 2:58 pm (UTC-4)
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“Justice Scalia dedicated his life to the cornerstone of our democracy: the rule of law. Tonight, we honor his extraordinary service to our nation and remember one of the towering legal figures of our time.” President Barack Obama

Scalia Remembered as Wise, Witty & Acerbic

Posted February 15th, 2016 at 10:30 am (UTC-4)
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To say Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s intellectual power left an indelible mark the nation’s highest court doesn’t quite capture his reach. Just note the words used to describe his 29 year career shortly after news of his death on Saturday: “remarkable legacy, colossal consequence, an extraordinary jurist…” He was an unapologetic court conservative, famed for “biting dissents,” as one long-time court watcher put it. Scalia was a “textualist,” interpreting the exact words of the U.S. Constitution, not its inferred intent. Along with his many notable court decisions, Scalia has now been pulled into the current presidential campaign: his death has prompted a partisan debate over which president – the incumbent or the winner of the November vote – should appoint his successor.

The Supreme Court’s Next Landmark Cases

Posted October 5th, 2015 at 9:25 am (UTC-4)
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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.

Is Kim Davis a Modern Day Rosa Parks?

Posted September 8th, 2015 at 1:42 pm (UTC-4)
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When a county clerk in Kentucky refused to process marriage licenses to gay couples, citing her religious beliefs, some supporters compared her to civil rights icon Rosa Parks. Others said she should quit her elected position if she could not uphold U.S. law. Kim Davis spent the weekend in jail after her petition to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied. Is this battle that pits religious beliefs with civil law the same as the fight to desegregate a racially divided nation? Opinions are mixed.

Jimmy Carter’s Most Important Legacy: Female Judges

Posted August 13th, 2015 at 4:56 pm (UTC-4)
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Often cited as an exemplar of post-presidency productivity, one significant aspect of his in-office legacy stands out: Carter appointed 41 female judges—five times as many as all his predecessors combined.

Did the Supreme Court Overreach on Controversial Rulings?

Posted July 8th, 2015 at 4:12 pm (UTC-4)
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The decision to make same-sex marriage the law of the land has roiled many conservatives, some of whom say the court is guilty of “judicial tyranny.” The decisions, they argue, show the court is becoming politicized. Supreme Court justices are appointed by the president to lifetime terms. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has gone so far as to call for the justices to face election.

Supreme Court Ruling on Gay Marriage Marks Profound Cultural Shift

Posted June 29th, 2015 at 1:22 pm (UTC-4)
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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.

Facebook Threats Case Still Menace to Free Speech

Posted June 2nd, 2015 at 12:11 pm (UTC-4)
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Winston Churchill once said that there is “nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.”