The Great Debate

Despite Scalia, Supreme Court sends Obama a progressive message

By William Yeomans
July 1, 2014

breyer-and-scalia-1024x707

In a decision widely perceived as a setback for President Barack Obama last week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the president’s recess appointment of three members of the National Labor Relations Board. Though the ruling could mean Obama never makes another recess appointment, the court’s reasoning is a substantial victory for progressives. It decisively rebuffs the wrongheaded, rigid brand of originalism that argues only the framers’ original intent is relevant in interpreting the Constitution — which conservative justices have supported for decades.

Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision puts faith in compromise

By Jay Michaelson
June 30, 2014

Anti-abortion demonstrators high five as the ruling for Hobby Lobby was announced outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington

On Monday the Supreme Court decided its most anticipated case of the year. According to a sharply divided 5-4 court, the government cannot compel a closely-held corporation to provide contraceptive coverage as part of its Affordable Care Act-mandated employee insurance plans.

Think we don’t need to update the Voting Rights Act? Check out Tuesday’s primaries.

By Janai S. Nelson
June 25, 2014

mahurin-for-troutt--- nelson

The door is open for Congress to repair the nation’s most transformative election law, which was neutered by the U.S. Supreme Court a year ago today.

Brown v. Board of Ed: Key Cold War weapon

By Aryeh Neier
May 14, 2014

neier top -- better!!

The U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education, issued on May 17, 1954, is probably the most important judicial decision in American history.

Exorcising the voter fraud ghost

By Richard L. Hasen
April 30, 2014

A poll worker looks at voter authorization forms and provisional ballots after the polls closed at the Covenant Presbyterian Church during the U.S. presidential election in Charlotte, North Carolina, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Keane

When it comes to the fight about voter fraud and voter suppression, how do you prove a negative?

The increasing significance of race

By David Dante Troutt
April 28, 2014

Behind every Supreme Court decision is a sociology of ordinary life. Opinions reveal the justices’ view of what’s what in the world, how people act and why things change.

from Stories I’d like to see:

Obama’s unaccountable briefers, pipeline bribery, and economic woes at Yankee Stadium

By Steven Brill
April 22, 2014

 

1. Obama’s unaccountable briefers:

Here’s a key paragraph in Saturday’s New York Times report explaining the Obama administration’s decision to delay yet again a decision on the Keystone pipeline:

Opening the political money chutes

By Richard L. Hasen
April 7, 2014

The headline about a new Supreme Court opinion rarely tells the whole story.  Rather, the detailed reasoning of the ruling often reveals whether a decision is a blockbuster or a dud.

Roberts Court: Easier to donate, harder to vote

By Elizabeth B. Wydra
April 4, 2014

Chief Justice John Roberts’ first sentence of his majority opinion in McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission, striking down important limits on campaign contributions, declares “There is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders.”

McCutcheon: Should the rich speak louder?

By Jeffrey Rosen
April 3, 2014

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court handed down its most important decision on campaign finance reform since Citizens United. The decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, seemed to divide along familiar ideological lines, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority opinion for five conservatives and Justice Stephen Breyer, writing the dissent for the four liberals.