Not long after the ratification of our Constitution, the great Justice Joseph Story marveled “How easily men satisfy themselves that the Constitution is exactly what they wish it to be.” The Constitution is designed to be a type of waltz with a three rather than six-step pattern in our tripartite system of government. Many today however treat it more like an interpretative dance, an invitation for expressive individual moves. Indeed, in the last few months, President Joe Biden often seems to be dancing alone. The improvisational element to constitutional interpretation reflects more than mere political opportunism. It reflects a crisis of faith on the Constitution Day.
President Joe Biden has long pledged to “build back better” but in the last few months it has become clear that his transformative plans go beyond mere infrastructure and extend to our very structure of government.
From abortions to elections to rents, Biden is seeking to federalize huge areas to displace state law. Not since John Adams and his Federalist Party has the country faced such a fundamental challenge to our system of federalism. Continue reading “The New Federalist Party: Biden Move Forward With the Greatest Federalization Push Since Adams”
Below is my column in The Hill on reaction to the refusal of the Supreme Court to enjoin the Texas abortion law. The order of the Court expressly did not reach the merits and certainly did not, as claimed, overturn Roe v. Wade. The Texas law is not even the greatest threat to Roe. Not only is there a pending case on the docket of the Court that has long been viewed as a serious threat to Roe, but the White House and the House of Representatives are threatening immediate actions that could also create new challenges for pro-choice litigants.
According to a new Gallup poll, the Supreme Court has fallen to the lowest point in four years in approval despite a term marked by a long list of unanimous and non-ideological decisions. In perhaps the best evidence that the Court is getting it right, all sides seem equally frustrated with the Court.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the renewed calls for the investigation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The often over-heated coverage however omits key factual and legal context for a new report.
Here is the column:
Below is my column in the Hill on a series of cases that appear propelled by political rather than legal considerations. The costs to the legal system, the public, or victims in such cases are often overlooked but they are considerable.
Here is the column:
In the final decision of the Supreme Court before its summer break, Chief Justice John Roberts delivered a major ruling striking down the California law requiring the disclosure of donors for charities. The law attacked so-called “dark money” but the Court ruled that the state was curtailing free speech in a 6-3 decision. Continue reading “Supreme Court Strikes Down California’s Donor Disclosure Law”
While not one of the matinee cases often discussed in the press, the Supreme Court handed down a major ruling this week on takings under the Fifth Amendment. In a 6-3 decision that broke along ideological lines (a departure from a long line of unanimous or non-ideological rulings), the court ruled in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid that a California law was a takings under the Constitution. As I mentioned yesterday, I expect to be teaching this case in the fall and it represents a very significant new precedent in the area. Continue reading “The Right to Exclude: The Supreme Court Delivers Haymaker Reversal of the Ninth Circuit In Major Takings Ruling”
Below is my column in The Hill on the recent ruling on college athletes by the Supreme Court. The decision could prove to be the critical “crossing the Rubicon” moment for college sports and force schools to address long unsettled questions regarding big sports programs.
For those seeking to portray the Supreme Court as, to use President Joe Biden’s words, “out of whack,” the Court itself continued to disappoint critics this week with another major and nearly unanimous decision in the long-awaited decision in Mahonoy v. B.L. While many of us in the free speech community hoped for a bright-line decision protecting student speech, the decision sharply rebuts the sweeping claims of schools (from high schools to universities) of authority to monitor and punish off-campus speech. What is striking about the language is that the Court secures near unanimous decision by limiting the reach of the decision. Continue reading “Supreme Court Rules 8-1 for Cheerleader in Mahonoy Case In Major Victory for Free Speech”
Below is my column in the Hill on the growing number of losses by the Biden Administration in courts around the country, including a particularly embarrassing loss before the United States Supreme Court. What is notable is that such losses in the early days of the Trump Administration led to coverage declaring a war on the “rule of law” and even indications of authoritarianism. The Biden losses have received little coverage despite what could be a worst record in the early days of his Administration. The fact is that such adverse decisions are not uncommon as Administrations try to fast track changes. However, the Biden Administration has actually had some very serious losses, including some which are being appealed. Yet, many previously outspoken legal experts have either blamed conservative judges or simply ignored the losses all together. It is a continuation of an interesting pattern where Democrats are adopting the very rationales that they once denounced.
During the confirmation hearings of now Justice Amy Coney Barrett, I repeatedly objected to the clearly false narrative that she was nominated to vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act in the pending case of California v. Texas. The case was highly unlikely to result in such a decision and the Democrats knew it. The case was focused on a highly technical and limited issues of severability. It would either be resolved on that limited basis or dismissed for standing. While Barrett might view the ACA as unconstitutional (as many do), I noted that she was more likely to dismiss the challenge or sever the individual mandate than to strike down the Act in the case. That is what she did in joined the 7-2 decision to dismiss the case. Continue reading “Will The Senate Democrats Now Apologize To Justice Barrett?”