I just freed an innocent man from death row. And I’m still furious. "Some people expect me to feel satisfied, or even happy. The truth is: I am angry. I am angry that we live in a world where two disabled boys can have their lives stolen from them, where cops can lie and intimidate with impunity, where innocent people can be condemned to die and where injustice is so difficult to bring to light. As I lie awake at night, mulling over the maddening details of this case, I wonder: How many more Henry McCollums are still imprisoned, waiting for help that will never come?" [more inside]
In Conversation: Antonin Scalia "On the eve of a new Supreme Court session, the firebrand justice discusses gay rights and media echo chambers, Seinfeld and the Devil, and how much he cares about his intellectual legacy ("I don’t")." [more inside]
In less than an hour, the Supreme Court will hand down its final judgment in what has become one of the most crucial legal battles of our time: the constitutionality of President Obama's landmark health care reform law.
The product of a strict party line vote following a
of debate, disinformation
, and tense legislative wrangling, the Affordable Care Act
would (among other popular reforms
) require all Americans to buy insurance coverage by 2014, broadening the risk pool
for the benefit of those with pre-existing conditions.
The fate of this "individual mandate," bitterly opposed by Republicans despite its similarity to past plans touted by conservatives
(including presidential contender Mitt Romney
) is the central question facing the justices today
. If the conservative majority takes the dramatic step
of striking down the mandate, the law will be toothless, and in danger of wholesale reversal, rendering millions uninsured
, dealing a crippling blow to the president's re-election hopes, and possibly endangering the federal regulatory state
But despite the pessimism of bettors
, some believe
the Court will demur, wary of damaging
its already-fragile reputation
with another partisan 5-4 decision
. But those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know
. Watch the SCOTUSblog liveblog
for updates, Q&A, and analysis as the truth finally comes out shortly after 10 a.m. EST.
This morning marked day two of marathon proceedings
in what's likely the most momentous
Supreme Court case since Bush v. Gore
: the effort to strike down President Obama's landmark health care reform law
. While yesterday was a sleepy affair of obscure technical debate
, today's hearings targeted the heart of the law -- the individual mandate
that requires most Americans to purchase insurance by 2014. With lower courts delivering a split decision
before today, administration lawyers held some hope that at least one conservative justice
could be persuaded to uphold the provision, which amortizes the risk that makes universal coverage possible
. But after a day of deeply skeptical questioning
by swing justice Anthony Kennedy
and his fellow conservatives [transcript
], the mandate looks to be in grave trouble
, with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin going as far as calling the day "a train wreck"
for the administration. But it's far from a done deal
, with a third day
of hearings tomorrow and a final decision not expected until June.
Third, class arbitration greatly increases risks to defendants. Informal procedures do of course have a cost: The absence of multilayered review makes it more likely that errors will go uncorrected. Defendants are willing to accept the costs of these errors in arbitration, since their impact is limited to the size of individual disputes, and presumably outweighed by savings from avoiding the courts. But when damages allegedly owed to tens of thousands of potential claimants are aggregated and decided at once, the risk of an error will often become unacceptable. Faced with even a small chance of a devastating loss, defendants will be pressured into settling questionable claims.
—Justice Scalia delivers the opinion of the Court, and a knife in the back of class-action suits. [more inside]
Fruit of the poisonous tree
is a legal term used to describe illegally gained evidence. The logic of the terminology is that if the source of the evidence is tainted, then anything gained from it is as well.
For the uninitiated, such terms used as described make for odd introductions to supreme court arguments (PDF warning) [more inside]
'Conservative justices appear to agree police should be allowed to enter a suspect's residence without a warrant if they suspect evidence is being destroyed.'
'Police officers who smell marijuana coming from an apartment can break down the door and enter if they have reason to believe the evidence might be destroyed, several Supreme Court's justices suggested Wednesday
.''Scalia said the police couldn't go wrong by knocking loudly on the door.
"Criminals are stupid," he said, and they often cooperate with police when they are not required to do so. They might open the door and let officers inside, or if not, the police can break in.''In the past
, the high court usually has said police cannot enter a home or apartment without a search warrant because of the 4th Amendment's
ban on "unreasonable searches and seizures."
But during arguments in a drug case, the court's conservatives said they favored relaxing that rule when police say they have a need to act fast.' [more inside]
In this day of twitters, emails, and SMS messages, there is something suddenly strangely fascinating about reviewing written personal correspondence. For example, consider this this letter from artist Winston Smith to a young fan named Austin Kleon.
On the other side of the "inspiration coin" is this letter in which San Francisco's Harvey Milk defends cult leader Jim Jones
. But perhaps the most bizarre correspondence to hit the Internet of late is this letter from Supreme Court Justice Scalia to an aspiring screenwriter, in which Justice Scalia declares that the concept of secession is not something he can help the writer understand.
"Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so. So the question is really whether we believe in these absolutes. And ought we believe in these absolutes. ... I don't care about holding people. I really don't." Justice Scalia on 24 and torture
. 24 and torture previously.
Justice Scalia spoke in support of Guantanamo Bay
earlier this month, despite the fact that Gitmo cases such as Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
are pending before the Supreme Court. "War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts
," Scalia said, prompting calls that he recuse himself
from the case, which will be heard today
. Justice Roberts has already done so, as he has previously ruled
The Fourth Amendment
provides, in part, that "...no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause." The Supreme Court has issued its (yet another) 8-0 opinion
, authored by Justice Scalia in the case of United States v. Grubbs
, overturning the Ninth Circuit decision
. Justice Souter filed a concurring opinion
deals with the question of anticipatory warrants, and it is the first time that the Court has addressed the practice. It appears that under this ruling, preemptive warrants can issue without existing probable cause, but merely on the supposition that probable cause will exist in the future.
Some legal scholars had anticipated
that at least the more conservative
members of the Court would rule against anticipatory warrants. After all, under Blackstone's analysis
of the common law rule that contributed to the Fourth Amendment, as noted by Professor Orin Kerr in the NYU Journal of Law and Liberty symposium
on the subject, warrants "issue" when they are signed by the judge, and not when the precedent condition occurs. Professor Chris Slobogin disagrees
. Kerr has posted a preliminary analysis
of the decision on his new blawg
. The case has previously
by the smart people over at the Volokh Conspiracy
Justice Scalia faces probing question
at NYU due to previous dissenting opinion
in Texas sodomy case.
to the controversy. via
Why does Scalia hate America?
Justice "Fat Tony" Scalia orders reporters to erase tapes of one of his speeches. Aren't public servents supposed to be public?
you are Fat Tony,
now you're just haggling
over the price." Thanks for the Churchill whore meme
, who flagged this comment
Justice Scalia: "If it is reasonable to think that a Supreme Court justice can be bought so cheap
, the nation is in deeper trouble
than I had imagined." So, what is
the going rate?
Scalia Was Cheney Hunt Trip Guest; Ethics Concern Grows
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia traveled as an official guest of Vice President Dick Cheney on a small government jet that served as Air Force Two when the pair came here last month to hunt ducks.
The revelation cast further doubts about whether Scalia can be an impartial judge in Cheney's upcoming case before the Supreme Court, legal ethics experts said. The hunting trip took place just weeks after the high court agreed to take up Cheney's bid to keep secret the details of his energy policy task force.
Justice Scalia's recusal in the Pledge case has prompted a serious debate on the judicial role. Robert Alt
has suggested that the Justice's recusal carries an important warning for the Senate in confirming new judges; if the Senate requires the nominees to answer questions about their opinions on potential cases, those nominees would have to recuse themselves if those cases later indeed came before them. Matthew Franck
, on the other hand, suggests "this argument ... permits the requirements of judicial ethics — and even a terribly broad reading of them — to trump the constitutional obligation of senators to inform themselves adequately about the kinds of judges they are being asked to confirm." [more inside]
The Onion keeps getting funnier
In this week's edition, Antonin Scalia bans the media from covering his acceptance of a free-speech award,
and also tells Americans "Most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires."
Haw-haw! Get it? Oh, wait a second...
gives divinity school students a peek at what his activism is really about. I can't say it any better than he does so I'll quote: "The reaction of people of faith to this tendency of democracy to obscure the divine authority behind government should not be resignation to it, but the resolution to combat it as effectively as possible."
Of course we knew Scalia detested democracy on 12/12/2000 with his decision that infamous day but now he admits favoritism to theocracy.
God's Justice and Ours.
Justice Antonin Scalia writes on capital punishment in First Things
: "In my view, the major impetus behind modern aversion to the death penalty is the equation of private morality with governmental morality. This is a predictable (though I believe erroneous and regrettable) reaction to modern, democratic self–government.
Scalia: Think the dealth penalty wrong? Resign
In particular, he says, any Catholic jurist who agrees with the Vatican's anti-death penalty stance should resign. One to raise an eyebrow over, given that Scalia - a jurist who just happens to be Catholic - has been a consistent foe of Roe v. Wade
and legalized abortion. He says his opposition to Roe
, however, is mainly legal, and adds that his religious views should play no role in his decisions.
He does return favors,
but how does it affect the workers? Eugene Scalia is President Bush's nominee for Labor Department solicitor. Scalia is one of nine children of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was a driving force behind the court ruling that stopped the counting of disputed presidential votes in Florida last year.
Scalia's Constitution is dead.
So, do rulings from the Warren Court deserve deference? Are colonial practices our standard for cruel and unusual punishment? Does the right to bear arms stop at muskets, or does it include nuclear arms?
Is the Consitution a "living" document?
Following "Scary" Scalia's arguments, the Dread Scott decision was a wise and appropriate one, right?
For Comment: "Does personality override politics in the Rehnquist Supreme Court?"
File under: "What is the rhetorical and effective nature of constitutional interpretation and judicial review?" I have always been intrigued by the ways in which the justices of the Supreme Court selectively reveal tidbits about their personality and the nature of their interactions. "Scalia and Ginsburg are polar opposites, but are secretly best friends!" "O'Connor likes Georgia O'Keefe, and has several originals in her office!"
While much of this can be explained by the media creating a story where there is none, the above comments by Thomas lead me to wonder that, if 'opinion' is the form by which laws are reviewed, then perhaps 'individuality,' 'style,' or 'personality' have an impact on how the concept of justice and constitutionality are applied.
"For those who are feeling this election doesn't much matter
, who think it's a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the court is the reason to care," said Lois Williams, senior counsel for litigation at the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, a liberal advocacy group.
"If we get another Scalia or Thomas, we are courting disaster," said Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way. "We are just one election away, and one or two new justices away, from the civil and constitutional rights we take for granted being eroded or eliminated overnight."
Damn Supreme Court.
Just when you thought this was a free country, now they're telling strippers to keep their G-strings on.