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.


Late Night: Condi’s Anthem, SCOTUS Edition

By: Thursday June 27, 2013 8:00 pm

Probably the most infuriating, if entirely predictable, outcome of the Supreme Court’s fusillade of 5-4′s this week was the MSM’s dewy-eyed credulity that accompanied it.  Now, I’m not implying that say, Adam Liptak of the NYT is a clueless ninth grader, but his reporting would have been considerably more respectable if he were.  Pretending to parse the hastily concocted legal reasoning du jour behind decisions that were already made twenty years ago by the Court’s right wing not only makes boring reading, but it insults the intelligence of anyone capable of tying one’s own shoes.

In 5-4 Decision Supreme Court Strikes Down Part of Voting Rights Act

By: Tuesday June 25, 2013 8:30 am

In Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court struck down section 4 of the Voting Rights Act in a 5-4 decision. The majority opinion was delivered by Justice Roberts who was joined by the three other conservative justices with Kennedy providing the winning vote.

Voting Rights, Democracy, and the “Dignity of Man”

By: Sunday March 3, 2013 9:30 am

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on a challenge to the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The conservative justices lobbed hostile and for the most part uninformed questions at defenders of the historic legislation. It’s obvious that those judges couldn’t give a fig about the dignity of man or the destiny of democracy.

Late Night: Judicial Temperament, and Not

By: Thursday February 28, 2013 8:00 pm

It’s funny, albeit in the most depressing possible way, to hear Washington “journalists” discuss Supreme Court Justice (!) Antonin Scalia’s cartoonish hostility to the Voting Rights Act in terms usually reserved for, well, jurists, when Scalia and the Majority he leads are nothing of the kind. Wasting time talking about things we imagine Supreme Court Justices must thoughtfully consider as they contemplate scuttling fifty years of precedent is, as we’ve previously seen, patently ridiculous, when we know in advance Nino and the Gang are going to whatever it is their political movement currently needs at the moment, which is, among other things, a lot less of that messy ol’ democracy thing.

“Problem Solved!”

By: Thursday February 28, 2013 1:30 am

The conservatives of the Supreme Court sure reflected their rich life experiences in discussing the Voting Rights Act yesterday.

Of course Antonin Scalia self-proclaimed “originalist” showed that his original thought ends with whatever he heard on FoxNews last week.

Supreme Court Will Hear Challenge to Voting Rights Act

By: Friday November 9, 2012 3:20 pm

Part of the success in beating back efforts to limit election participation in a number of Republican-led states came from the work of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, which used its pre-clearance authority under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to block measures that could have disenfranchised minorities, like district-level maps in Texas and a stringent voter ID law in South Carolina. Nine states and several localities with a history of discrimination are subject to pre-clearance rules that force them to get approval from DoJ for any voting law changes. And now, the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to Section 5.

Federal Court Blocks Texas Voter ID Law

By: Thursday August 30, 2012 11:41 am

The latest in a string of rulings limiting the GOP’s war on voting has come down. A federal court has unanimously stopped Texas from instituting a voter ID law. While this would seem contradictory to the Supreme Court’s upholding of voter ID for Indiana in 2009, this case is different because it follows the Justice Department’s pre-clearance authority under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The Justice Department said that Texas’ law would impose disproportionate burdens on racial minorities, and the three-judge panel at the US Circuit Court for the District of Columbia basically agreed. They said that the poor would have additional trouble obtaining a voter ID, and that “racial minorities in Texas are disproportionately likely to live in poverty.”

Texas Redistricting Map Thrown Out by Federal Court for Minority Discrimination

By: Tuesday August 28, 2012 6:10 pm

A federal court has thrown out Texas’ redistricting plan, charging that it was discriminatory to minority voters. DC Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith ruled that the court would not pre-clear Texas’ map under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The rule will not affect the 2012 election.

Voting Rights News: Win for Ohio, Restricted Access to New Pennsylvania Voter IDs

By: Tuesday August 28, 2012 8:55 am

In voter suppression news, a big ruling in Ohio paves the way for thousands of wrong-precinct provisional ballots to be counted. But in Pennsylvania, election officials have introduced a new voter ID card but but it’s almost impossible to obtain one before the election, since the few offices where people can get them are closed most of the time.

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