A History of Supreme Court SnarkRoundup
tags: Supreme Court
“It's gotten heated before—but never this personal or this public,” Sahil Kapur wrote in Talking Points Memo in the wake of the Court’s decision in Schuette v. BAMN, the Michigan affirmative action case decided by a bitterly split Court last week.
There’s no denying the drama of the dueling opinions in Schuette. Justice Sonya Sotomayor’s dissent parodied Chief Justice Roberts’s words in Parents Involved in Seattle Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” Sotomayor implied that Roberts was willfully closing his eyes to reality. “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race,”she wrote. “[W]e ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society.”
In a short, highly unusual concurrence (Kennedy’s plural opinion had already spoken on his behalf), the Chief did not discuss any point of law. His point was solely to complain about dissent. “To disagree with the dissent’s views on the costs and benefits of racial preferences is not to ‘wish away, rather than confront’ racial inequality,” Roberts wrote. “People can disagree in good faith on this issue, but it similarly does more harm than good to question the openness and candor of those on either side of the debate.”
Direct? Yes. Bitter? You bet.
Worst ever? Not hardly.
Justices have been roughing each other up for years. Personal dislike? Consider that Justice John H. Clarke resigned from the Court in large part because he found Justice James C. McReynolds so odious. For his part, McReynolds would stand and leave the conference room when Justice Louis D. Brandeis began speaking, and would not pose for the Court’s formal portrait with Brandeis, because he was Jewish.
Passive aggression? Consider Justice Robert Jackson’s concurrence in the denial of rehearing in Jewell Ridge Coal Corp. v. Local 6167, United Mine Workers, published in 1945. The original case, decided 5-4 a few weeks earlier, had concluded that the time unionized miners spent traveling in underground train cars to and from the coal face counted as “work” under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and thus had to be compensated by the mine owner. Justice Jackson had written the dissent, arguing that pay for “travel time” was actually covered under the contract signed by the union, and that the FLSA did not displace that. ...
comments powered by Disqus
- Trump Holds Wide Lead in South Carolina
- An All-or-Nothing Fight for the Supreme Court
- Did Trump Really Lose the Debate?
- Scalia’s Death Sets Off Epic Battle
- Democrats See Gift in GOP Blocking Court Nominee
- Quote of the Day
- The Nastiest GOP Debate
- Reaction to the Republican Debate
- The GOP Presidential Debate
- How Clinton Could Respond on Supreme Court Vacancy
- Trump and Clinton Way Ahead in South Carolina
- McConnell Says Senate Will Wait to Replace Scalia
- Antonin Scalia Is Dead
- Clinton Says Sanders Would Be Threat to Obama Legacy
- Internal Tracker Shows Trump Leading in South Carolina
- Ben Carson used an apparently fake Joseph Stalin quote — and the Internet loved it
- Rubio exaggerates in saying it's been 80 years since a 'lame duck' made a Supreme Court nomination
- Humans Hard-Wired to Teach, Anthropologist Says
- Parents outraged after students shown ‘white guilt’ cartoon for Black History Month
- Maryland is once again considering retiring its state song
- Historian at the center of Sanders-Clinton debate
- James Loewen Says Additional Baltimore Confederate Statues Should be Removed
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?
- A historian’s advice to students thinking of getting a PhD in a tough economic climate
- German historian Heinz Richter cleared of charges