The string of lawless actions by these Pennsylvania Republican legislators is a telling reminder of why courts matter, and why courts must act to check abuse of power, particularly when our democracy is at stake.
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Our amended Constitution made this possible. Everyday Americans had the power to triumph last Tuesday because our Constitution is stronger than Roy Moore. It’s even stronger than the Supreme Court. But it isn’t certain to remain so. Only with the sustained, active commitment to the future of our country that we saw from the majority of voters in Alabama can We the People keep it that way.
Business owners, like customers, are entitled to be treated with dignity, and to speak out on issues that concern them. But business owners do not have a free pass to ignore content-neutral laws that prohibit conduct, such as outlawing discriminatory business practices. Robust protection of speech does not require gutting laws that help ensure that all persons—regardless of race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation—can buy the good and services they desire, free from discrimination.
Justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy, who broadly interpret the First Amendment’s guarantee of the freedom of speech, should be skeptical of these new complicity claims. They are not grounded in basic First Amendment principles, they ignore the Court’s precedents, and they would give businesses a license to take away the rights of those they serve. Our Constitution’s commitment to robust protection of speech does not require gutting protections that safeguard the equal dignity of all persons.
"The technology changes, but the principles don't." Then-Judge Gorsuch indeed spoke eloquently about how to apply the Fourth Amendment's 226-year-old text to today's challenges. Now Justice Gorsuch and his fellow conservatives face a test - the critical challenge of putting those words into action.
Under Dodd-Frank, now that Richard Cordray has resigned as Director, the CFPB’s Deputy Director is the Bureau’s acting Director. President Trump may decide he doesn’t care what Dodd-Frank says, but he doesn’t get the final say. If there ends up being a dispute about who’s the rightful head of the CFPB, the final say will rest with the courts. And if the courts follow the text, structure, and history of Dodd-Frank, it’s clear what they should say: Leandra English is currently the acting Director of the CFPB.
There are still about 40 open U.S. Attorney positions across the country, and nearly 140 Article III judicial vacancies. Meanwhile, the Justice Department’s mission still includes the commitment “to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.” Will Sessions take the opportunity to break from his ugly past, stake out independence from President Trump’s moral equivalency on racism post-Charlottesville, and live up to his Department’s mission by making our justice system look more like America?
On Nov. 29, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in an important case called Carpenter v. United States. Although the question in the case may feel very modern — whether government agents can obtain the location data generated by cellphones without a warrant — history can tell us a lot about how the court should answer that question.
Masterpiece has urged the Supreme Court to announce a sweeping ruling that would gut public accommodations laws and subject same-sex couples—and others—to all manner of discrimination. At each turn, though, its arguments run headlong into binding First Amendment precedents authored by the chief justice. If Roberts follows these past rulings, he will vote to uphold public accommodations laws that help guarantee equal dignity for all persons, no matter whom they love.
As President Trump travels through Asia this week, the American people should ask themselves: Will the president be acting only on behalf of us and our nation’s best interests? Or will he be on the lookout for ways to line his own pockets?