Category: Supreme Court

July 13, 2004

Bush’s Judges: Right-Wing Ideologues

In 1988, while trying to convince skeptical conservative activists of his father’s Christian bona fides, George W. Bush reassured them that George I was with them on judicial nominations, as well as abortion and other issues dear to their hearts. Then he punctuated his declarations with the six words that would ensure their support for… Read more »

June 30, 2004

Supreme Court: War No Blank Check for Bush

In a direct repudiation of the Bush administration’s position that the President is answerable to no one, the Supreme Court held the Guantánamo prisoners and U.S. citizen Yaser Hamdi are entitled to contest their detention in federal courts. The Court, however, punted in Jose Padilla’s case, holding that he filed his case against the wrong… Read more »

July 10, 2003

Affirmative Action Counteracts Centuries of Racism

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent momentous affirmative action decisions, the talking heads have railed against “reverse discrimination,” a term that entered our vernacular 25 years ago with the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke opinion. But focusing on equal rights for whites misses the point. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in her separate… Read more »

Affirmative Action Counteracts Centuries of Racism

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent momentous affirmative action decisions, the talking heads have railed against “reverse discrimination,” a term that entered our vernacular 25 years ago with the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke opinion. But focusing on equal rights for whites misses the point. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in her separate… Read more »

June 11, 2003

Dropping the Ball on Torture: The US Supreme Court Ruling in Chavez vs. Martinez

The use of torture to obtain information from suspects has become an important topic in fighting the war on terror. In December, for example, the Washington Post reported that CIA officials at Bagram air base in Afghanistan used interrogation techniques that could constitute torture. In Chavez v. Martinez, decided May 27, the United States Supreme… Read more »

February 6, 2003

A Double Standard on Torture: The U.S. Should Practice What We Preach

The Bush administration has a double standard on torture and human rights violations as it prosecutes the “war on terror.” While trying to convince the American people in his State of the Union address that war with Iraq is necessary, President George W. Bush marshaled accusations that Saddam Hussein has tortured his people to coerce… Read more »

December 7, 2002

Three Strikes: Bad Cases Make Bad Law

When former governor Pete Wilson signed California’s three strikes law, he compared the construction of new prisons which would be required to house the increased inmate population to building the University of California system: “We’re producing … capital improvements for future generations, and they rightly can be called upon to help pay for it.” Following… Read more »

August 19, 2002

War on Civil Liberties Hits a Speed Bump

“Watch out for well-meaning men of zeal!” These words penned 74 years ago by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis are no less relevant today. Brandeis was dissenting from a ruling that exempted wiretapping from the protections of the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court later reversed its decision, holding that the government must follow the… Read more »

April 11, 2002

Scalia’s Schizophrenic Theory Slights Human Rights

United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wants to have it both ways. While he claims to have the only objective theory of constitutional interpretation, his theory is internally inconsistent. Scalia calls himself a “textualist” who purports to follow the precise text of the Constitution. But he also labels his theory “originalist,” as he subjectively… Read more »

January 18, 2002

Will Walker’s Statements be Admitted Against Him?

No evidence is more damning than the confession of a defendant in a criminal case. Attorney John Ashcroft has announced that the federal government will charge John Walker, who was found in the company of the Taliban in Afghanistan, with conspiracy and aiding terrorists. Walker’s statements to the government and to CNN, if admitted, will… Read more »