Barack Obama has been historically slow in nominating judges and surprisingly coy in establishing a judicial philosophy. What will be the President's judicial legacy?
On the Newsstand:Sonia Sotomayor
With the predictable 5-4 lineup, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that, in order to exclude from evidence incriminating statements to the police, criminal suspects must have unambiguously invoked their right to remain silent. The case essentially asked, what constitutes a waiver of one’s Miranda rights? Does sitting silent, unresponsive, for nearly three hours, as did the suspect, Van Chester Thompkins, ... Read More
[The Supreme Court's] purpose is not to uphold the interests of individuals (at least not directly), but to faithfully interpret the Constitution.
My Harvard Independent column for this week addresses the retirement of John Paul Stevens and the issue of picking his successor. Read the original here. If they made posters of Supreme Court Justices, I’d put John Paul Stevens on my bedroom wall. The man is a progressive hero — first and foremost, for his longevity. In 2006, the liberal radio ... Read More
The U.S. Supreme Court may be about to render the most important business decision of the decidedly pro-business Roberts era, but one might not know it from the details of the case. The plaintiff is a small conservative advocacy group, not a major corporation; the focal point is a corporate-funded anti-Hillary Clinton documentary that was banned by the FEC, as ... Read More
It now appears that the Obama administration, which once seemed so eager to explicitly press the case for liberal constitutional jurisprudence, is trying to characterize Sonia Sotomayor as a bona fide judicial moderate, if not an outright conservative. Take a look at the administration’s talking points: no more talk of “empathy” is to be found. Rather, they highlight her frequent ... Read More
To the Editor: Please explain to me the logic of an article that announces that Sonia Sotomayor has an “issue of temperament,” presents exactly one instance of allegedly intemperate questioning, and concludes with a quote from the lawyer to whom those questions were addressed, saying that the questions were “reasonable and fine.” Okay. Now explain to me how these are ... Read More
The last few days, I’ve been reminded of Lionel Trilling’s rather impolite description of conservatism as a philosophy expressed in “irritable mental gestures” rather than ideas. What keeps provoking this thought in me is all the carping about Sonia Sotomayor’s “reverse racism.” I got to thinking about what I find so, well, irritating about this particular conservative mental gesture. And ... Read More
Conservative pundits and their mainstream-media abettors are stunned, stunned I say, at the suggestion that a judge’s biography might have some sort of influence on his or her decisions. Somewhere under the Mojave Desert, a cabal of conservative engineers is working on the Adjudicator 9000, the amicus brief-processing automaton that will solve the problem of having, you know, humans on ... Read More