The Harris County bail system denied ODonnell “equal protection of the laws” by demanding a sum of money she did not have to secure the same freedom that others with more money could buy. Disparity in treatment based on wealth turns a constitutional right into a privilege only for those who can afford it. The 5th Circuit should strike down this arbitrary imposition of bail and rule in ODonnell’s favor.
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Articles & Commentary
Neil Gorsuch—the newest member of the court—could benefit from watching and emulating his mentor and former boss.
The High Court’s docket in the new term is brimming with cases of national interest and importance, the resolution of which will have far-reaching effects for all Americans. For anyone who ever ignored the importance of the courts in our everyday lives — from the workplace to the polling place — the justices are poised to grab our nation’s attention with a thunderclap.
The lesson we must take from this history is that the Constitution must be renewed with each successive generation of Americans. It is now our turn. Let us use this Constitution Week to rededicate ourselves to what President Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature," to the principles that make our nation's founding charter the envy of the world, and to the hard work of defending it.
For one who promised to “take seriously . . . the appearance of impartiality,” it is time for Gorsuch to return to those words. Speaking at the Trump International Hotel does not foster the appearance of impartiality. It does the opposite. Gorsuch should reflect soberly on his decision to speak at his patron’s property, which lies at the center of not one but three cases that could come before him in the months ahead. Upon such reflection, Gorsuch should withdraw from speaking at any of Trump’s properties and thereby begin to match the volume of his actions as the court’s newest justice with those of his words as Trump’s nominee.
If Trump or his team are found likely to have committed a crime or crimes, or other bad acts, then the grand jury will issue one or more indictments or a critical report. In that case, the American people will have the Founding Fathers to thank for vesting regular, ordinary citizens in our system of government with a strong and resilient mechanism to hold even the most powerful person in our country to account to our laws and the Constitution.
The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are chiseled into the marble frieze above the main entrance to the Supreme Court building. But the Term that ended this week revealed a heavy thumb on the scales of justice for corporate interests and against workers, consumers, and average Americans.
The bottom line, as court after court has recognized, is that religious intolerance masquerading as security is offensive to the principles on which the Founders established this nation, and toward which we as a country must constantly strive. Sessions has promised to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court the administration’s defeat in the 4th Circuit, but it is past time for Trump to stop the masquerade. He should jettison his unconstitutional Muslim travel ban.
In the Trump era -- with a Senate confirmation process now subject to a simple majority vote, thanks to McConnell and Senate Republicans -- it is impossible to imagine any stronger or more able steward of Justice Kennedy's legacy than Kennedy himself. Despite all the pressure and pointed rumors of his retirement, he surely realizes this.
The Constitution’s promise of religious freedom is neither an accident of history nor a footnote. Trump’s anti-Muslim travel and refugee ban defies this founding wisdom.