Judge Richard Posner Declares Support For Supreme Court Expansion Proposal

I have previously discussed the legendary career of Judge Richard Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  Widely viewed as the father of Law and Economics, Posner remains one of greatest influences on American jurisprudence in the history of this country.  I have long been a great admirer of his work and teach his theories as part of my torts course.  It is for that reason that I was delighted when my co-counsel sent me the interview below where Judge Posner expressed support for the proposal that I have advanced for many years to reform the Supreme Court.  Posner agrees with the proposal to expand the Supreme Court to nineteen members.

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Justice Kennedy and How Success Is Just Showing Up . . . And Knowing When To Leave


225px-Anthony_Kennedy_Official445px-woody_allen_2006There are various reports confirming that Justice Anthony Kennedy has told staff that he is seriously thinking of resigning and has notably not selected clerks for the October 2018 term. That raises some intriguing issues, including how such a vacancy would play in the midterm elections when there are 33 seats up for grabs in the United States Senate.  The vacancy could be used to rally conservatives and liberals alike.  As for Kennedy, it could be the difference between a lasting and short-lived legacy.

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The real winners in SCOTUS’s decision on the travel ban orders

SCOTUS Class Photo, 2017

By: Cara L. Gallagher, weekend contributor

It was back to the Supreme Court for me this week. An unusually sleepy end of the October 2016 term, except for gossip of a potential retirement (Kennedy, not Ginsburg, this time), came to a dramatic end when the Chief Justice announced in the final minutes of the Court’s last day that they would hear the travel ban/pause cases next term.

There were two clear victories on Monday with this announcement that the Justices would hear the government’s cases defending President Trump’s two executive orders. One was for an imam named Dr. Ismail Elshikh, whose mother-in-law in Syria will now be able to travel to the United States. The other went to John Doe, an anonymous lawful resident who has been trying to get his wife home from Iran. Their victories came in the form of exceptions to the orders which allow their families to be reunited.

The rest of the Court’s 13-page order largely holds onto the spirit of the executive orders issued by the President, with some caveats.

Using the text of the decision, below is what the Supreme Court said in the grant, followed by the potential effects of those decisions, what all this means, and what happens next.

Background and the previous cases
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Members of Congress Demand Ginsburg Recuse Herself From Immigration Appeal In Light Of Past Trump Comments

225px-ruth_bader_ginsburg_scotus_photo_portraitA letter from fifty-eight Republican lawmakers calls upon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse herself in the travel ban case scheduled to be argued in October.  While there is a fair chance that the case could be moot by October as I previously discussed, a recusal is highly unlikely despite that fact that Ginsburg’s comments were highly inappropriate and troubling.  I have been a long critic of Ginsburg’s public speeches and comments as raising serious ethical issues and undermining the integrity of the Court. However, the Court has long declared itself outside of the enforcement of the Code of Judicial Ethics.  The result is a dreadful record of self-regulation and Ginsburg is only the latest disturbing example.  Ironically, while the media has rightfully raised inappropriate public comments about Trump, it has shown little interest in the inappropriate comments of Ginsburg.

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Supreme Court Rules 9-0 Against Trump Administration in Immigration Case

440px-Elena_Kagan_Official_SCOTUS_Portrait_(2013)The Supreme Court handed down a stinging defeat for the Trump Administration in a unanimous decision in Maslenjak v. United States, where the Administration sought to strip an immigrant of U.S. citizenship over a false statement made on an immigration form.  In a decision by Justice Elena Kagan, the justices declared that the government could not strip citizenship from Divna Maslenjak because she falsely stated that her husband had not served in the Bosnian Serb army in the 1990s.  Notably, the Obama Administration had taken the same hard position in the case and the Trump Administration continued that position on the appeal.

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“Fair Is Foul And Foul Is Fair”: The Trial Of the Weird Sisters To Be Held Tonight

440px-Johann_Heinrich_Füssli_019-1I have the honor of participating this year in the special program benefiting the widely respected Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C.   Since 1994, the Mock Trial Series has been held to bring Supreme Court justices and members of the bar to join in a fun night in which Shakespeare figures are tried by leading members of the bar. This year, the three Weird Sisters from Macbeth will be in the dock.   The bench will consist of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Judge David S. Tatel, Judge Sri Srinivasan, and Judge Patricia A. Millett, United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  The court marshal will be  Pamela Talkin, of the Supreme Court of the United States.  As the jurists deliberate the fate of the three sisters, I will take the stage with attorney Abbe Lowell to discuss the recent conviction of Michele Parker for encouraging the suicide of Conrad Roy III.

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