Category: Supreme Court

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 »

December 14, 2001

Don’t Rush to Judgment on John Walker

Don’t label John Walker a traitor yet. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York didn’t hesitate to call John Walker a traitor when she was interviewed on Meet the Press. The American was recently found with the Taliban in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan, and was taken into U.S. custody. The crime of treason requires a prosecutor to… Read more »

August 17, 2001

Balkans Pacification and Protecting an Oil Pipeline

George W. Bush’s recent announcement that the United States is committed to stay in the Balkans comes as no surprise. Despite his rhetoric about helping the people there, it’s really about the transportation of massive oil resources from the Caspian Sea through the Balkans, and maintaining U.S. hegemony in the region. Although NATO ostensibly bombed… Read more »

June 2, 2001

The Deportation of Slobodan Milosevic

The deportation of former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was a direct result of blackmail by the United States. Desperate to rebuild its economy, the Serbian government capitulated to U.S. threats: deliver Milosevic to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, or the U.S. would see… Read more »

December 21, 2000

States Rights When the End Justifies the Means

At first blush, the five justices who decided to name George W. Bush the 43rd president appear to be hypocritical. How could these staunch “states rightists” now decry federalism in order to quash the Florida Supreme Court’s interpretation of Florida’s election statutes? While admitting that the court “generally defers to state courts on the interpretation… Read more »

December 5, 2000

High Court Hides From Camera in Bush v. Gore

When the Supreme Court entertained arguments last Friday that could determine who will be the 43rd president of the United States, it worked virtually in private. Unlike the Florida Supreme Court, which let the sunshine (and television cameras) into the hearing that gave the green light to hand-counted ballots, the highest court in the land… Read more »

April 18, 2000

Lethal Law: America Must Follow International Lead, Abolish Death Penalty

“The deliberate institutionalized taking of human life by the state is the greatest conceivable degradation to the dignity of the human personality,” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg wrote in a 1976 article in the Boston Globe. Echoed by all Western democracies except the United States, Goldberg’s words aptly describe the tragedy promised if… Read more »