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October 31, 2013

Fights over judicial nominations are hardy perennials. The politics around them can become dispiriting.  So it is important to remember that beneath the political warfare,there are often unbelievably talented human beings, without any ideological agenda, who are willing to take massive pay cuts and subject themselves to the grueling confirmation process to serve the American public as a judicial officer.

October 29, 2013

In December, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear an important case out of Mount Holly, New Jersey, that involves Fair Housing Act (FHA) claims in the context of an effort by Mount Holly Township to use eminent domain to redevelop its only predominately minority community—and in the process, displace and raze the homes of its residents. As such, the case raises an important test of the whether conservatives hate eminent domain more than they detest civil rights statutes like the FHA, that protect minority homeowners from unjustified disparate impact. The answer apparently is the latter.

October 28, 2013

The Roberts Court, once again, is considering whether to scale back critical, long-established protections for racial equality.   As we saw last year in Shelby County v. Holder and Fisher v. University of Texas, this is an area where the Court’s conservatives are looking to change the law, granting review even where there is no conflict in the lower courts.  This Term’s big, upcoming civil rights case is Mt.  Holly v. Mt. Holly Garden Citizens in Action, which raises the question whether minority residents may bring a claim under the Fair Housing Act of 1968 to challenge practices and policies that have an unjustified disparate impact on their ability to enjoy equal housing opportunity. 

October 21, 2013

The government shutdown may have ended, but the hardline conservative attack on the Affordable Care Act hasn’t.   In the coming months, the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear challenges brought by secular, for-profit corporations and their owners to a key provision of the ACA that requires certain employers to provide female employees with health insurance that covers all FDA-approved contraceptives.  

October 17, 2013

Be sure to catch this moment from the President’s post-shutdown speech from the State Dining Room this morning:

October 12, 2013

Originalism, properly understood and practiced, looks to the original meaning of key words and phrases to inform judicial decision makers of what these words meant at the time the Constitution was written.

October 11, 2013

At President Obama’s press conference on Tuesday, the White House press corps once again pushed the President on whether the Fourteenth Amendment gives him the authority to end the current standoff by simply ignoring the debt ceiling and continuing to pay the nation’s bills. 

October 11, 2013

On Tuesday, October 8, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in McCutcheon v. FEC, this Term’s huge campaign finance sequel to Citizens United v.

October 4, 2013

It may seem surprising with the federal government shut down, but across the street from the U.S. Capitol Building the Supreme Court is gearing up for the start of its 2013 Term. And while most Americans already think Congress is doing a bang up job preventing itself from solving the nation's problems, the Court will hear a case on the second day of its new Term that could make it even harder for Congress to address one particular issue: the corrupting influence of money in politics.

October 2, 2013

For decades, debates over the Constitution divided along familiar lines.  Progressives professed faith in a “living Constitution,” while conservatives claimed fidelity to originalism.  In recent Terms, however, this dynamic has changed.  The Court’s progressive wing – led first by Justice John Paul Stevens and, since his retirement, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and aided by leading academics and practitioners – have begun to stake their own claim to the Constitution’s text and history.