The following post is by Mark Graber, co-editor with Mark Tushnet and Sanford Levinson of the recently published Oxford Handbook of the United States Constitution.

Efforts to provide comprehensive guides to the Constitution date from the framing and ratification of the Constitution. The Federalist was the first self-conscious handbook on the Constitution.   Unlike the original and subsequent treatises or comprehensive guides, we were not motivated by a cheerleading impulse when we edited the 2015 Oxford Handbook of the U.S. Constitution. Although our Handbook contains no specific chapter on what might be termed the “adequacy” of the Constitution in the twenty-first century, the very structure of this text and many specific entries raise questions relevant to such an inquiry. Comparing our contemporary Handbook of the Constitution with the original may shed some light on the incongruities that have manifested over time as contemporary citizens of the United States employ concepts grounded in late eighteenth-century constitutional thought when operating a constitution in the early twenty-first century, as well as convincing many of you, we hope, to read the book and the many wonderful essays written by very distinguished scholars.   Continue reading »

Posted in Featured
 
Share:

Friday round-up

By on Aug 7, 2015 at 2:05 am

Writing for this blog, Lyle Denniston reports on a recent ruling by the Fifth Circuit striking down (in part) Texas’s voter ID law, observing that the case “or one of the others is likely to make its way to the Supreme Court.”  Chris Kieser analyzes the case at the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Liberty Blog, where he notes that – whether Texas asks for rehearing en banc in the Fifth Circuit or asks the Court to review the decision – “this is likely to be the most important Voting Rights Act case since Shelby County [v. Holder].”

Ian Smith weighs in on Evenwel v. Abbott, the “one person, one vote” case in which the Court will hear oral arguments in the upcoming Term, in two separate posts.  At National Review, he argues that the case “looks as if it could transform the political layout of the country,” while in the Daily Caller he contends that, “[g]iven the historical context, granting representation rights to illegal aliens should be treated as an absurdity.”  Continue reading »

Posted in Round-up
 
Share:

Acting one day before the fiftieth anniversary of the nation’s most important voting rights law, a federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled that Texas will be barred from enforcing at least part of its four-year-old law that requires a photo ID before a voter can go to the polls.

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, however, left a good deal of doubt about how much of the Texas law will actually be nullified after a new round of analysis that it ordered a federal trial judge to do.

Continue reading »

 
Share:

Thursday round-up

By on Aug 6, 2015 at 1:02 am

Briefly:

  • In The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro reports on the Justices’ overseas summer travel, including a trip by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to South Korea.
  • In another story for the Supreme Court Brief (subscription or registration required), Mauro highlights a new article on secret photos of the Court in action.
  • At The Huffington Post, Dhyana Taylor observes that “[t]his week the women of the United States Supreme Court will celebrate the anniversaries of their entrance onto the highest court in the land.”
  • In a column for Forbes, George Leef looks ahead to possible vacancies on the Court and argues that “the most effective way of identifying nominees who won’t turn tail when pressured to vote for unconstitutional power is to find judges who have expressed a coherent philosophy favoring liberty.”
  • In his column for Bloomberg View, Noah Feldman criticizes a recent “friend of the Court” brief filed in a securities fraud case, urging the Court not to “take the bait, or the case” because it “doesn’t, and shouldn’t, engage in what it calls error correction, except maybe in death penalty cases.”
  • In the Daily Report (subscription or registration required), R. Robin McDonald reports that “[e]ight veteran prosecutors” have filed an amicus brief in support of the death-row inmate in Foster v. Chatman, in which the Court will hear oral argument in the upcoming Term.
  • At his Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen discusses his draft article on the Roberts Court and election law.
  • In another post, Hasen analyzes a new decision by the Fifth Circuit that he describes as “a great (but not complete) victory for those challenging Texas’s strict voter id law”; he adds that it is “quite possible that Texas will try to take this case en banc to the full 5th Circuit, or perhaps to the Supreme Court.”
  • In The Economist, Steven Mazie looks at a recent decision by the Eighth Circuit holding that a North Dakota law which prohibited abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected is unconstitutional, noting that it “closed with a five-page lament: North Dakota’s law may be inconsistent with Roe v Wade and Casey v Planned Parenthood, but the Supreme Court should ‘re-evaluate its jurisprudence.’”

If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up when we come back, please send it to roundup [at] scotusblog.com.

Posted in Round-up
 
Share:

First-year law students learn that the Constitution requires lawsuits in federal court to be based on claims of sufficient injury to establish standing to sue. When the Justices return to the bench in the fall, they will tackle the question whether it is enough for that injury to be based on the violation of rights created by Congress in a federal statute.

The case, Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, raises the important question whether Congress can create a cause of action in a statute that will satisfy the requirement for actual injury that comes from the Constitution or whether there must be additional evidence of harm.

The answer is important as a theoretical matter in further defining the role of Congress and the contours of the constitutional separation of powers. The answer also has enormous practical importance because, according to some briefs filed in the case, there are many federal causes of action that raise this issue and that open the door to lawsuits, including potentially large and costly class actions. Continue reading »

SCOTUSblog is hiring

By on Aug 5, 2015 at 3:45 pm

The blog and Goldstein & Russell, P.C., are looking for someone to serve as both the firm manager for Goldstein & Russell, P.C., and the deputy manager of SCOTUSblog.  The principal responsibilities for this position include, but are not limited to:

  • Coordinating and proofing Supreme Court filings;
  • Paralegal tasks, including drafting simple legal documents, checking citations for accuracy and formatting, and light legal research;
  • Administrative work for the firm and in particular for Tom Goldstein, the firm’s managing partner;
  • Scheduling travel, which may entail making frequent last-minute changes and arrangements, sometimes during off hours;
  • Overseeing all web development for the blog, from strategy and planning to execution by web development team;
  • Assisting the blog manager with case coverage; and
  • Overseeing occasional special projects.

Continue reading »

Posted in Everything Else
 
Share:

Capture

“In many ways, if you want to know what moves the Court to decide cases, listen to oral argument, which is much more like the Supreme Court’s Id. Opinions are like the Supreme Court’s Super Ego.”

Walter Dellinger is the Douglas B. Maggs Professor of Law at Duke University and a Partner in the Washington, DC, office of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where he is a member of the Appellate Practice Group. Dellinger advised President William J. Clinton on constitutional issues in 1993 and then served in the Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General and head of the Office of Legal Counsel from 1993 to 1996. He was Acting Solicitor General for the 1996-97 Term of the Supreme Court. He graduated with Honors in Political Science from the University of North Carolina and from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. He served as law clerk to Justice Hugo L. Black for the Court’s 1968-69 Term.

In this five-part interview, Mr. Dellinger discusses his background, including his emerging awareness of the civil rights movement growing up in North Carolina and talking his way into Yale Law School; his clerkship for Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black; how the Court has changed since the Warren Court years; the importance of a Court made up of Justices with diverse experiences; the importance and experience of oral argument; life in the White House and in the Justice Department, as head of the Office of Legal Counsel and as Solicitor General; nominating a Supreme Court Justice; and the relationship between the media’s coverage of the Court and public understanding of the Court.

Part Two: Consequences

“The single greatest shift between the Court on which I clerked and the present Court is the degree to which the Court respects the judgment of the other branches of government.”

Justice Hugo Black as a writer; hyper-technical opinions and the effect of too many Supreme Court clerks; oral argument as the way to understand the Court; the need for more diversity of experience on the Court; why Justices with political experience would benefit the Court and its judgments; the Court as a necessarily political but not partisan institution; and just how well prepared this Court really is.

Posted in Everything Else
 
Share:

Wednesday round-up

By on Aug 5, 2015 at 1:04 am

Briefly:

  • In an op-ed for JURIST, David Cortman discusses the significance of the Court’s decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert and argues that the “impact of the broad protections for free speech the court recognized in Reed will be badly needed far outside of the context of sign regulations.”
  • At Dorf on Law, Eric Segall summarizes a recent panel on transparency at the Court, explaining that it focused primarily on “the lack of cameras at the Supreme Court but also the Justices’ anonymous votes on granting or denying certiorari, the Court’s recusal practices (or lack thereof), and the lack of rules concerning their taxpayer-funded papers.”

If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up when we come back, please send it to roundup [at] scotusblog.com.

Posted in Round-up
 
Share:

Capture

“In many ways, if you want to know what moves the Court to decide cases, listen to oral argument, which is much more like the Supreme Court’s Id. Opinions are like the Supreme Court’s Super Ego.”

Walter Dellinger is the Douglas B. Maggs Professor of Law at Duke University and a Partner in the Washington, DC, office of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where he is a member of the Appellate Practice Group. Dellinger advised President William J. Clinton on constitutional issues in 1993 and then served in the Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General and head of the Office of Legal Counsel from 1993 to 1996. He was Acting Solicitor General for the 1996-97 Term of the Supreme Court. He graduated with Honors in Political Science from the University of North Carolina and from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. He served as law clerk to Justice Hugo L. Black for the Court’s 1968-69 Term.

In this five-part interview, Mr. Dellinger discusses his background, including his emerging awareness of the civil rights movement growing up in North Carolina and talking his way into Yale Law School; his clerkship for Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black; how the Court has changed since the Warren Court years; the importance of a Court made up of Justices with diverse experiences; the importance and experience of oral argument; life in the White House and in the Justice Department, as head of the Office of Legal Counsel and as Solicitor General; nominating a Supreme Court Justice; and the relationship between the media’s coverage of the Court and public understanding of the Court.

Part One: Elemental

“When I read Hugo Black’s decision in the school prayer case, Engel v. Vitale, I was in college at the time, I was wowed with what this southern Baptist thought about keeping government out of religion.”

Growing up in North Carolina; an early awareness of the civil rights movement; talking one’s way into Yale Law School; teaching at Ole Miss after desegregation; and clerking for Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, an “elemental force.”

Posted in Everything Else
 
Share:

Tuesday round-up

By on Aug 4, 2015 at 8:07 am

Briefly:

  • Jeremy Jacobs of Greenwire reports that “[a]t least one change U.S. EPA made to its Clean Power Plan before finalizing it was clearly aimed at a specific audience: the Supreme Court’s nine justices.”
  • In an op-ed for The Washington Post, David Kravitz argues that “[w]e would do ourselves a favor by giving [Justice Antonin] Scalia’s clever, but pointless and ultimately harmful, zingers the attention they deserve: none.”
  • Writing for this blog, Andrew Hamm reports on a recent speaking appearance by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Ginsburg noted, among other things, that the Court “is still ‘the most collegial’ place she has ever worked.”

If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up when we come back, please send it to roundup [at] scotusblog.com.

Posted in Round-up
 
Share:
More Posts: More Recent PostsOlder Posts
Term Snapshot
Awards