The Great Debate

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.

Why corporations don’t deserve religious freedom

By Jay Michaelson
March 24, 2014

On March 25 the Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, whose outcomes will decide whether corporations can exempt themselves from provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), based on religious beliefs. The cases challenge a provision of the ACA that requires employer-provided insurance plans to include contraception coverage.

Making every voter equal

By Jonathan Soros
February 26, 2014

The venture capitalist Tom Perkins recently suggested that he should have a greater voice than others in selecting our government because he’s rich. “You pay a million dollars in taxes,” he told the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, “you get a million votes. How’s that?”

Not ‘court-packing,’ GOP’s aim is ‘court-shrinking’

By Jeff Shesol
November 5, 2013

The party that brought you “death panels” and “socialized medicine” has rolled out another term — carefully selected, like the others, for its power to freak people out. “Court-packing” now joins a Republican rogue’s gallery of poll-tested epithets.