Posts Tagged: scotus


Why We Still Need Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act


“…only a Supreme Court wholly divorced from reality would review the record on voting rights since Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act in 2006 and conclude that a key pillar of the law was no longer needed.” 

—Ari Berman

So all we need is a Court not divorced from reality?

We’re doomed.

Source: thenationmagazine

"I’m not sure if this is legal, but it would make for an interesting appeals process!"


Paul Clement would like you to please forget everything he said last week.

He’s quite the snazzy lawyer, Mr. Clement. Though even his snazziness is not quite going to be able to help out DOMA. That law is done.


"In assessing this option, it’s worth bearing in mind that the dead Obi-Wan did not, in fact, become more powerful than Darth Vader could possibly imagine. His new powers seemed limited to appearing as an apparition offering inscrutable advice to Luke Skywalker, whereas the previous, alive version featured the power to slice people’s arms off with a light saber."

- - Jonathan Chait in the New York Magazine, in an article about ObamaCare in SCOTUS. Yes, there’s an extended Star Wars analogy.

Emily Bazelon and Stephen Colbert make Solicitor General Verrilli’s argument for him re: the Broccoli Debacle of 2012 and quash Scalia’s problem in about two minutes. Also see Slate’s very good What Verrilli Should Have Said (also another what-he-should-have-said at TNR, a reminder of why striking down ObamaCare would be totally crazy-town, Dahlia Lithwick’s reminder of the actual human pain at stake (liberty helps the rich more than the poor, and equality helps primarily only the poor). This SCOTUS debacle and Trayvon Martin have basically engulfed my law school over the past few weeks. Not a particularly cheerful place at the moment, admittedly, but it does make really glad I picked BU.


"Our decision today flies in the face of more than a quarter century of the Court’s lunchtime jurisprudence. The majority thoughtlessly dismisses the notion that Mediterranean food is extremely yummy, despite a persuasive amicus brief from Professor Richard Posner, and even though everyone seemed to enjoy the shawarmas we got from that Lebanese food truck a few weeks back."


- Scalia’s dissent in the case of Domino’s v. That One Greek Place Over on N Street, a 5-4 decision in which the SCOTUS decides from where to order lunch.

I love McSweeney’s.




“You want us to go through 2,700 pages?”

Justice Antonin Scalia, on cutting up the health care reform law. (via theatlantic)

Yo, Scalia, I read both versions of the bill before the final version was passed and it wasn’t even my job to do so. It’s not that difficult.

If Scalia, or anyone else, has a better idea for how the court can do its job, there are plenty of people who would love to hear it. Dartboard? Drawing straws? How about they all just agree to side with Sotomayor?

Nah. Just write cut the chase and write some kind of withering, angry dissent, in which you will doubt mourn the end of capitalism and argue that we are all GOING TO DIE VERY SOON because if the government can tax people if they don’t buy health insurance then probably Hitler will come back from his grave and take us over next week. I mean obviously.


"Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the State was to make men free to develop their faculties; and that in its government the deliberative forces should prevail over the arbitrary. They valued liberty both as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty. They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that without free speech and assembly discussion would be futile; that with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government. They recognized the risks to which all human institutions are subject. But they knew that order cannot be secure merely through fear of punishment for its infraction; that it is hazardous to discourage thought, hope, and imagination; that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies; and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones. Believing in the power of reason as applied through public discussion, they eschewed silence coerced by law - the argument of force in its worst form. Recognizing the occasional tyrannies of governing majorities, they amended the Constitution so free speech and assembly should be guaranteed."


- Holmes, dissenting in Whitney v. California

Granted, it sort of annoys me that he couches this all in terms of “the founders thought!” I don’t generally like it when we worship the founders, given that, for example, Jefferson was all about free speech till people said cranky things about him. Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts, for goodness sakes. But Holmes can’t really come out and say *I believe* this.

But he does. And so do I.

PS - To clarify, this isn’t meant as a comment on SOPA. Just on free speech.