The short answer is that the Supreme Court stops being supreme when it allows a political party to dictate the substance of its judges’ decisions. Let me explain. A good place to begin might be 1990 when George Bush Senior appointed David Souter to the Court. Souter, a New Hampshire Republican, had served as a New Hampshire supreme court justice before being appointed. Although he had a long judicial record, Souter had ruled on few […]
Why did 81-year-old Justice Anthony Kennedy, known best for his decisions protecting gay and abortion rights, choose to retire at the time that best enables Donald Trump to appoint a right wing successor who will most likely vote to reverse those decisions? Adam Liptak and Maggie Haberman of the New York Times give us the answer. Trump “guiled” him. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/28/us/politics/trump-anthony-kennedy-retirement.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news Liiptak and Haberman outline a “flattery” campaign aimed at convincing Kennedy his legacy would be […]
Identifying a problem is usually easier than solving it. Take, for instance, the spate of police shootings of unarmed minority suspects like Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Proposed solutions seem to vary from mild responses like more racial sensitivity training for police officers to more punitive ones like heavy criminal sanctions that are never in fact imposed . UC Berkeley Law professor Franklin Zimring in his book When Police Kill suggests a more indirect, but […]
When I first visited China in the 1980’s, the tallest building in Shanghai was the fourteen story Peace Hotel; when I returned a few years later, there were over fifty skyscrapers over fifty stories. So China’s economic miracle is no surprise to me. But up till now, it has consisted mostly of supplying low price goods to Western consumers at very competitive prices. Now China is planning to provide over a trillion dollars of capital […]
I have always been puzzled by the venerable phrase “thinking like a lawyer.” What does it mean and should we take it as a compliment or a put-down? I think the idea is best captured by a metaphor trial lawyers sometimes use to describe the craft of a colleague they especially admire or an adversary they fear — he or she can “see out the front.” It means the ability to look over a complex […]
It’s easy enough to enjoy some righteous indignation when the Roy Moores of the world are accused of sexual harassment, but I have a different reaction when people I admire like Garrison Keillor, Louis C.K. and Al Franken are the accused. But in the final analysis, if they have done the deeds they are accused of, they too must suffer the consequences. John Huston was one of the most important directors in Hollywood in the […]
The New York Times has good news to report. It turns out that doing good works. Non-profits in inner city areas that have worked on mundane projects– e.g. planting trees, building playgrounds, mentoring students, and finding employment for young males– have played a significant role in reducing the murder rates in American cities. Here’s the whole story.
The title to Tim Wu’s op-ed in the NYT sounds the alarm– “How Twitter Killed the First Amendment.” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/27/opinion/twitter-first-amendment.html?_r=0. . Professor Wu points out that there has been a dramatic change in how speech operates in American politics. Formerly, the First Amendment worked to protect speakers from government prosecution, thereby creating a workable national political discourse. But now censors in Russia and China have invented new techniques geared to the internet age that permit them […]