Besides a fabulous name, Rufus Peckham is remembered in American jurisprudence for penning one of the most notorious decisions in the era between Reconstruction and the New Deal. Lochner v. New York invalided state laws regulating maximum hour laws. Something called “liberty of contract” existed in what William O. Douglas would later (in)famously call the… More Resurrecting Lochner
Last week I took a stab at a James Earl Carter obituary. Rick Perlstein, who will presumably finish his trilogy about post-sixties Republicanism with the triumph of Ronald Reagan in 1980, concentrates on Carter’s lifelong interest in voting rights, a subject that his southern colleagues knew much about after Congress’ 1965 act pushed the most… More Jimmy Carter and voting rights
I’m one of the liberals who supported the death penalty into the early 2000’s. The state has a perfect right to take your life should it find you difficult of a capital crime, I thought. Then DNA became accepted, resulting in exonerations, apologies, and nothing when innocent suspects died. Then evidence that years in death… More Rough justice
The column I’ve been waiting for. Rebecca Traister: But the other thing that’s so revolutionary about fighting for marriage to be about love and companionship – and not about a strictly gendered economic or social power construct – is that it acknowledges human connections that are also available to millions of people outside of marriage… More Options available!
Reading John Roberts’ majority opinion on the bus this morning, I was struck by the glee with which he skewers Antonin Scalia for the associate justice’s willingness to ignore statutory intent for the sake of his politics. This is called cynicism. Linda Greenhouse caught it too: Who said that we “must do our best, bearing… More The ‘cynically manufactured and meritless argument’ of the King v. Burwell plaintiffs
With the Affordable Care Act ruling, a big one regarding disparate impact in Fair Housing Act cases, and a likely affirmation of a right to marry gay coming next week, Anthony Kennedy is gunning for most hated man in the conservative blogosphere. But don’t mistake the Chief’s intentions: But it is of a piece with… More John Roberts: he ain’t goin’ nowhere
All ye need to know about King v. Burwell is in the syllabus, particularly this bit: If the statutory language is plain, the Court must enforce it according to its terms. But oftentimes the meaning—or ambiguity—of certain words or phrases may only become evident when placed in context. So when deciding whether the language is… More ‘Inartful drafting’
Ladies and gentlemen, your Supreme Court: Under Eighth Amendment caselaw, Glossip is a hard case. But the legalities fell away when Justice Samuel Alito asked this question: “Is it appropriate for the judiciary to countenance what amounts to a guerilla war against the death penalty which consists of efforts to make it impossible for the… More Cruelty in action
For the “Who Knew?” file, here’s the Nebraska legislature, comprised of an adamantine GOP majority, voting to abolish the death penalty: The vote margin in the unicameral Legislature was more than enough to override a promised veto from Gov. Pete Ricketts, a supporter of capital punishment. Ricketts, a Republican, said the vote represented a “dark… More Go, Nebraska!
Digby: It’s hard to imagine a country in which it’s legal for gay people to marry but it’s also legal to discriminate against gay workers, but it’s possible. In the past, as miscegenation laws were struck down, in some states it was still legal to discriminate on the basis of race against one member of… More Gay workers…?
The arc of history, etc: Leading law firms are willing to represent tobacco companies accused of lying about their deadly products, factories that spew pollution, and corporations said to be complicit in torture and murder abroad. But standing up for traditional marriage has turned out to be too much for the elite bar. The arguments… More Gay or go home
A sprinkle of constitutional history and a talent for what Walter Matthau’s Russell Long in JFK called pickin’ gnat shit out of pepper — that’s what a reporter needs to cover the Supreme Court.Adam Liptak is almost as good as Dahlia Lithwick. Here’s a scene at yesterday’s oral argument regarding the constitutionality behind a Texas… More ‘Texas will put a name on anything’