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Empathy = ovary?

When President Obama says he's looking for a judge with the "quality of empathy" to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, is it code for a female judge? In the two decades since Bertha Wilson famously asked Will Women Judges Really Make A Difference? (mms), the answer has come back as a resounding yes (studies: 1 (pdf), 2) -- and no (studies: 1 (pdf), 2). But either way, is choosing judges based on supposed gender qualities ever a good idea?
posted by hayvac on May 21, 2009 - 64 comments

Souter to retire

NPR is reporting that Supreme Court Justice David Souter will retire at the end of the current Court term, pending the approval of a replacement to be appointed by President Obama. Appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, Souter's replacement will presumably maintain the balance of ascribed "left-leaning" to "right-leaning" justices at 4-5, but will increase the number of justices on the bench appointed by a Democratic president to 3. At 69, Souter is in fact the youngest of the so-called "left-leaning" justices currently on the bench.
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Apr 30, 2009 - 113 comments

The Fourth Amendment

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. Grubbs 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 been discussed by the smart people over at the Volokh Conspiracy.
posted by Pontius Pilate on Mar 22, 2006 - 45 comments

when will the common man learn? This isn't *your* government.

Kelo vs. City of New London (mefi) is still getting those wacky libertarians riled up. They're trying to take the house of one of the justices (david souter) who backed the ruling. They've now got an initiative on the ballot in Souter's home town. The initiative would take souter's home for the purpose of building a hotel and set up the necessary donation funds to make it happen. That may be over now that a motion made by Board of Selectmen queen WALTER BOHLIN (light shirt gray pants) has passed. The motion will add the word "NOT" before each action item. You gotta admit, that's kinda funny. (full disclosure: i have these guys $25)
posted by Tryptophan-5ht on Feb 5, 2006 - 31 comments

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