It’s always been a dream of mine to interrupt a Supreme Court justice.
Well this should be fun. Florida federal judge Roger Vinson has struck down the heart of Obama’s health care reform plan, finding that the individual mandate part of the bill is unconstitutional and therefore the whole thing is unconstitutional.
You know what that means? It means that very soon America will be operating under the Anthony M. Kennedy health care system. Does Justice Kennedy think that I have a right to health care? Does he think that pre-existing conditions should be covered? Is he comfortable having an entire nation’s health care system held hostage by a few insurance giants?
Exciting questions! I can’t wait to see how a man who nobody elected will decide our medical futures….
President Barack Obama just finished delivering his State of the Union address for 2011. Alas, it wasn’t as exciting as last year, which featured a confrontation between the president and the Supreme Court. This time around, six justices attended — Chief Justice Roberts, joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan — but they were on their best behavior. There was no POTUS v. SCOTUS showdown.
Here’s an open thread for discussion of the address. We’ll get the party started with a few legally-oriented highlights, after the jump.
- Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Barack Obama, Clarence Thomas, Elena Kagan, John Roberts, Politics, Reader Polls, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito, SCOTUS, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Supreme Court
Last year’s SOTU did not disappoint drama-seekers. As you may recall, an Article II vs. Article III smackdown took place: President Obama chided the Supreme Court for its Citizens United decision, with six members of the Court sitting a stone’s throw away from him, and Justice Samuel Alito responded by mouthing “not true” at the POTUS.
(Speaking of Citizens United, the decision celebrated its one-year anniversary last week, on January 21. And as Josh Blackman notes, the world has not come to an end, contrary to the dire predictions of distraught liberals. Of course, experts in this area — including some Obama-supporting liberals — told us that Citizens United wasn’t that big a deal.)
Let’s make some predictions, justice by justice….
* After being bombarded with hurricanes, earthquakes, and cholera, I can hardly blame the people of Haiti for rioting over an election that appears to have been rigged. [BBC]
* A Kansas church will be protesting at Elizabeth Edwards’s funeral. Nobody seems to know why. [WRAL]
* Now the police are getting into the game of spying on you while you check out porn. Oh no, that’s State Action’s music playing. He’s stepping into the ring! This can’t be good. [Forbes]
* Glad to see that Justice Kennedy wields his unimaginable power with such thoughtful deliberation. [Law Librarian Blog]
* David PaTTTerson pardoned six immigrants facing deportation. Apparently he thought it was random and cruel to send them back to… New Jersey. [ACSBlog]
Money’s Assault on American Politics Is Well Underway — Thanks to the Psychological Effects of Citizens UnitedBy Elie Mystal
I hope Anthony Kennedy is happy. It’s Justice Kennedy’s world now, and we’re all just playing by the rules he lays down. Despite all the talking points you may have heard about how Citizens United really isn’t that big of a deal, what Justice Kennedy calls speech is flooding American politics ahead of this November’s mid-term elections. So reports Michael Luo of the New York Times.
I know what you are thinking, especially if “you” happen to be Justice Alito: Not True! But you have theories about what might happen, while the Times has facts about what is happening.
And the facts speak for themselves. According to the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which monitors political advertising, “television spending by outside interest groups has more than doubled what was spent at this point in the 2006 midterms.”
Of course, at least four Supreme Court justices could have told you that would happen. And I’d imagine that even the other five damn well knew that tons of corporate money would flood into politics, and just didn’t care. What’s marginally more interesting than the “water is wet” fact that money is pouring in is the reason why captains of industry are
speaking spending freely…
- Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clerkships, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, Supreme Court Clerks
Earlier this week, the New York Daily News reported that Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has no plans of stepping down from the Supreme Court anytime soon. This wasn’t terribly exciting, since there haven’t been any rumblings of an AMK departure. In addition, Justice Kennedy has already hired at least two law clerks for October Term 2011.
And so have several of his colleagues, including Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who are said to be done with their OT 2011 hiring). Some have wondered whether Justice Ginsburg might be leaving the Court, given her health issues. But RBG’s commitment to the Court appears strong — she took the bench the day after the deeply sad passing of her husband, Marty Ginsburg — and her hiring a full clerk complement for 2011-2012 suggests she isn’t going anywhere.
A full list of the October Term 2010 law clerks, who are starting at One First Street this month, plus news (and rumor) of OT 2011 hires — after the jump.
Today’s big Supreme Court ruling was the case of Berghuis v. Thompkins. At issue was whether a suspect’s silence constituted a waiver of his right to remain silent.
Yes, you read that correctly. There was actually an open question as to whether remaining silent waives your right to do so. More importantly, it does! One must speak in order to be protected by a right guaranteed to you in the Constitution.
Justice Kennedy wrote the opinion for the 5-4 majority…
That’s the question the Supreme Court answered in the negative today, in Graham v. Florida. The Court’s opinion was by Justice Kennedy, whose vote usually controls on Eighth Amendment issues, and it was joined by the four liberal justices.
The case generated oodles and oodles of pages and a welter of separate opinions. Thankfully, the AP has a fairly clear and concise summary:
The Supreme Court has ruled that teenagers may not be locked up for life without chance of parole if they haven’t killed anyone.
By a 5-4 vote Monday, the court says the Constitution requires that young people serving life sentences must at least be considered for release.
The court ruled in the case of Terrance Graham, who was implicated in armed robberies when he was 16 and 17. Graham, now 22, is in prison in Florida, which holds more than 70 percent of juvenile defendants locked up for life for crimes other than homicide.
Florida: where it’s good to be an old person.
Interestingly enough, Chief Justice John Roberts — not known as a bleeding heart — agreed with the majority as to Terrance Graham specifically. Because he concurred in the judgment, the vote on the disposition of the case was actually 6-3.
The back-and-forth between the majority and the dissent gets quite heated at times. Justice Thomas wrote the main dissent, which Robert Barnes of the Washington Post described as “stinging.” But given the power that Justice Kennedy wields at One First Street, it’s generally unwise to attack him too harshly.
So the most snarky exchange did not involve Justice Kennedy, but took place between Justice Thomas and his soon-to-be-former colleague, Justice Stevens….