The Great Debate

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.

Roberts: The ‘swing’ justice of election law

By Joshua A. Douglas
October 7, 2013

Tuesday’s oral argument in McCutcheon v. FEC, the latest high-profile campaign finance case, will likely generate familiar storylines about a fiercely ideological Supreme Court, where one justice drives the outcome of a close 5-4 decision. Public perception of the Supreme Court is that there are four conservatives, four liberals and Justice Anthony Kennedy in the middle — as the “swing” vote.

King’s deferred ‘Dream’ of democracy

By Janai S. Nelson
August 28, 2013

In the midst of current retrenchments on voting rights, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech provides an important opportunity to consider whether his “dream” has been realized. Or, is it now, in the words of the famous poet Langston Hughes, a “dream deferred.”

The Supreme Court ‘s Gilded Age redux

By Richard White
August 14, 2013

The Supreme Court belongs to the small club whose members seem to assume that saying something makes it so. It deals in precedents — not the same thing as dealing in history. It prefers obiter dicta to the messiness of the past.

The framers on campaign finance law — via Tumblr

By Elizabeth B. Wydra
July 29, 2013

How our nation’s founding fathers would feel about Tumblr is as impossible for the Supreme Court to know as how James Madison would have felt about violent video games. But fortunately there’s a new Tumblr blog available to help the justices understand how the framers of the Constitution felt about “corruption” in politics.

Court due to make second trip down the aisle

By Richard L. Hasen
July 16, 2013

Near the end of his engaging and informative e-book on the Supreme Court’s recent same-sex marriage decisions, To Have and To Uphold, New York Times reporter Adam Liptak makes a prediction: “The day will come when the constitutional question [over the constitutionality of a ban on same-sex marriage] will return to the Supreme Court for some final mopping up, perhaps when the number of states still banning same-sex marriage has dwindled to a score or fewer.”

The cost of America’s first black president

By Janai S. Nelson
June 28, 2013

President Barack Obama addresses supporters at his election night victory rally in Chicago, Nov. 7, 2012. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

The Supreme Court’s race impatience

By David Dante Troutt
June 28, 2013

ILLUSTRATION: Matt Mahurin

As Tuesday’s decision gutting the heart of the Voting Rights Act made clear, it is June and a slim conservative majority of Supreme Court justices is again impatient with race.