FDL Book Salon Welcomes, Mark Tushnet, In The Balance: Law and Politics In The Roberts Court

By: Saturday October 12, 2013 1:59 pm

In his recent book In the Balance: Law and Politics on the Roberts Court, Mark Tushnet does not disagree that politics and the Supreme Court go hand in hand. There is no denying that the Justices have political views and that those political views often influence how they decide cases. Professor Tushnet carefully dissects and criticizes the now infamous “umpire” analogy that Chief Justice John Roberts used in his confirmation hearing, replacing it with what he takes as the much more realistic and intellectually honest portraits of judging offered by Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

But where In the Balance makes its greatest contribution is in tempering the urge to dismiss the Court’s behavior as purely political.


The People Deciding Thorny Legal Questions About New Technology Don’t Actually Use Them

By: Wednesday August 21, 2013 2:05 pm

This is a rather frightening admission from Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. Apparently the other justices haven’t “gotten to email” and don’t understand modern computer technology at even the most basic level.

Supreme Court: Police Dog Powers Do Not Include Warrantless Searches of a Person’s Home

By: Tuesday March 26, 2013 10:20 am

The Supreme Court has ruled in a 5-4 decision that when the government uses trained police dogs to investigate a home and its immediate surroundings it is a “search” under the Fourth Amendment.

The case involved the Miami-Dade Police Department and Drug Enforcement Administration responding to an “unverified tip that marijuana was being grown in the home” of Joelis Jardines. In 2006, a joint surveillance team watched Jardines’ home and then, seeing there was no activity around the house, Miami-Dade Detective William Pedraja approached the home with Detective Douglas Bartelt, who had arrived at the scene with a drug-sniffing dog.

How the Future of Health Care Could Affect the Supreme Court

By: Thursday March 22, 2012 7:30 am

While much of the news next week will be dominated by how the Supreme Court could affect the future of health care in this country through its ruling on the Affordable Care Act, I thought now may be a good time to talk about how future health care developments could affect the Supreme Court. What if Supreme Court Justice with life-time jobs could live to be 200 years old?

Supreme Court Officially Rejects Expedited Health Care Review

By: Monday April 25, 2011 1:31 pm

This means that the likely scenario is a SCOTUS hearing after the appeals complete sometime in the next session, and a ruling right in the middle of the Presidential election in June 2012.

Former Obama Counselor Tribe: Bradley Manning’s Treatment Unconstitutional

By: Monday April 11, 2011 6:07 am

In Charlie Savage’s story from last year on the sidelining of Laurence Tribe as head of an “Access to Justice” program at the Department of Justice, he reported that Tribe originally believed he would serve as counselor for “rule of law” issues in Obama’s Administration.

Will SCOTUS Give Ashcroft Immunity in Ashcroft v. al-Kidd?

By: Monday October 18, 2010 4:10 pm

SCOTUS decided today to take John Ashcroft’s appeal of a 9th Circuit decision finding that he did not have immunity from suit in using the material witness statute to illegally hold someone without probable cause.

This is worrisome, not just because it’s another example of how Elena Kagan’s recusal on all these cases give the court an inherent conservative bias (even assuming Kagan will be better on executive power issues than I think she will be), but because by taking the case SCOTUS seems to suggest the 9th Circuit decision deserves more scrutiny.

Je Récuse! Supreme Court Starts Session, Often with Eight Justices

By: Monday October 4, 2010 12:35 pm

It’s the first Monday in October, which means that the Supreme Court reconvenes in Washington. Their docket this term includes a number of First Amendment cases. And while the new members of the Court chosen by President Obama have created a true partisan divide, with the court’s members appointed by Democratic Presidents nominally on the center-left, and those appointed by Republicans on the right, we won’t get to see that in action entirely this year. Because Elena Kagan, the newest Justice, has recused herself from 25 out of the 51 cases so far this term.

This Raid on Peace Activists Brought to You By Elena Kagan

By: Tuesday September 28, 2010 3:15 pm

I have no idea what Kagan thinks about this raid. But even during the argument, she sustained a fiction that the Court’s interpretation of material support to include peace efforts would be an unlikely use of prosecutorial discretion.

Graham Predicts Successful Terrorist Attack Followed by Harsh Resolution of Gitmo Impasse

By: Monday September 20, 2010 8:00 am

Josh Gerstein provides Lindsey Graham a soap box to complain that his efforts to craft a grand compromise with the Administration on Gitmo stalled in May.

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