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  • Originally published 03/31/2017

    The History of the Filibuster

    Sarah Binder

    Historical lore says that the filibuster was part of the original design of the Senate. Not true. When we scour early Senate history, we discover that the filibuster was created by mistake.

  • Originally published 03/24/2017

    Borking Started Before Bork

    Justin P. Coffey

    The borking of nominees to the Supreme Court began when Nixon tried to put Clement Haynsworth on the Supreme Court.

  • Originally published 04/06/2016

    The Supreme Court Mystery We Couldn’t Solve

    Brian Johnson

    The Obama administration claims that every nominee to the Court since 1875 has received a hearing or an up or down vote. So what happened in 1875? Nothing as far as we could determine.

  • Originally published 03/18/2016

    Merrick Garland, religion, race and American identity

    Jonathan Zimmerman

    When Max Garland came to America, the Bureau of Immigration still classified Jews as a distinct race. And you couldn’t “choose” a different one, the argument went, any more than a leopard could change its spots.

  • Originally published 02/22/2016

    Looking Back

    Jeffrey Toobin

    Antonin Scalia, who died this month, after nearly three decades on the Supreme Court, devoted his professional life to making the United States a less fair, less tolerant, and less admirable democracy. Fortunately, he mostly failed.

  • Originally published 02/15/2016

    Top 5 Scalia Rulings that helped Progressives

    Juan Cole

    Perhaps his passing is an opportunity to point to a few things on which we, as Americans, did agree, because of our commitment to the Constitution, however different our interpretation of it might be in general.

  • Originally published 02/15/2016

    Antonin Scalia’s Lasting Influence

    He showed modern presidents and political parties that it is possible to pick a Supreme Court justice who shines brightly without shifting shape.

  • Originally published 07/09/2014

    Scalia’s an Originalist When It’s Convenient

    Bruce Allen Murphy

    While Antonin Scalia is winning his career-long war for more governmental accommodation of religion, he is doing it by silently consenting to the further dismantling of one of his most important decisions.

  • Originally published 10/14/2013

    How Activist Is the Supreme Court?

    If judicial activism is defined as the tendency to strike down laws, the court led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is less activist than any court in the last 60 years.

  • Originally published 08/07/2013

    Student's simple stand made history in Abington v. Schempp

    He was a 16-year-old junior at Abington Senior High School, just making a statement, utterly unaware that he was about to make legal history.It was in 1956 that Ellery Schempp staged the classroom protest that yielded Abington v. Schempp, the landmark 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision banning mandatory Bible readings in public schools.When Schempp's homeroom teacher read aloud 10 verses from the New Testament at the start of the day, as required by Pennsylvania law, Schempp brazenly paged through a Quran he had borrowed from a friend.When a student read the Lord's Prayer over the public address system, another daily requirement, Schempp refused to stand.Those actions earned him trips to the principal and guidance counselor, and triggered years of litigation over his belief that such readings were unconstitutional....

  • Originally published 07/22/2013

    Antonin Scalia: Holocaust Was Partially Brought About By Judicial Activism

    Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's warnings on judicial activism appear to have gained a new chapter at the Utah Bar Association's 2013 summer convention.The Aspen Times reported Sunday that Scalia drew upon the Holocaust as an example of how judicial activism can lead to problems. According to the Utah Bar Association's website, Scalia was slated to be the keynote speaker for the 2013 Summer Convention event, which was held from July 17-20 in Snowmass, Colo....Scalia opened his talk with a reference to the Holocaust, which happened to occur in a society that was, at the time, “the most advanced country in the world.” One of the many mistakes that Germany made in the 1930s was that judges began to interpret the law in ways that reflected “the spirit of the age.” When judges accept this sort of moral authority, as Scalia claims they’re doing now in the U.S., they get themselves and society into trouble....

  • Originally published 06/26/2013

    Mary L. Dudziak: Why Affirmative Action Took a Hit

    Mary L. Dudziak is the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law at Emory University. She is the author of War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences, and Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall's African Journey(CNN) -- When the Supreme Court on Monday sent Fisher v. University of Texas, an affirmative action case, back to the lower court for a second look, supporters of race-conscious policies breathed a sigh of relief.

  • Originally published 03/14/2013

    Pamela S. Karlan: "Gideon" Turns 50

    Pamela S. Karlan is Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law at Stanford Law School.This spring marks the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, in which the Supreme Court considered the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.” The Court unanimously interpreted the Amendment as requiring that states provide attorneys for defendants who lack the resources to hire them privately. The “noble ideal” that “every defendant stands equal before the law,” Justice Hugo Black’s opinion declared, “cannot be realized if the poor man charged with crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him.” Given an attorney for his retrial, Clarence Gideon was acquitted.Today, the vast majority of felony defendants depend on appointed counsel to represent them, and the quality of representation varies wildly.