Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bill Kristol Interviews Justice Samuel A. Alito

Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, interviews Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito as part of Mr Kristol's interview series, Conversations With Bill Kristol. Justice Alito discusses his education, including studying at Yale Law School, thinking about the theoretical legitimacy of Supreme Court decision-making and an interesting assessment of the Warren Court as an "untheoretical Court"; the work of the Court, including the relevance of Oral Argument, how the Justices decide and write cases, and the importance of clear decisions; dissenting in three recent free speech cases; marriage equality and dissenting in Obergefell v. Hodges, including discussion of the problem of the Court basing the decision in substantive due process; and baseball. 

It is an in-depth and interesting interview that gives insight into how Justice Alito thinks about the Court, his job and some issues the Court has faced recently. The following are some particularly interesting excerpts from the interview:

Photo: Thank You, SCOTUS

"Thank you, SCOTUS"
21 July 2015
© Fabrizio di Piazza

Bank Street Book Store is an institution on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Bank Street's storefront window reflects a reaction to the Supreme Court's decision on 26 June 2015 in Obergefell v. Hodgesa 5-to-4 decision written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy holding that the Fourteen Amendment's Equal Protection clause requires individual states to (1) issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in their own state and (2) recognize marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples by other states.

For more on the decision, including a reprint of the decision and links to relevant coverage, please visit the GWorks Post Obergefell v. Hodges—The Supreme Court & Marriage Equality.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Moon!

Commander Neil Armstrong on the surface of the moon
(20 July 1969)
Photo: Buzz Aldrin, NASA

"Apollo 11 astronauts trained on Earth to take individual photographs in succession in order to create a series of frames that could be assembled into panoramic images. This frame from Aldrin's panorama of the Apollo 11 landing site is the only good picture of mission commander Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface." NASA

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Describing the Supreme Court

As the Supreme Court of the United States concluded its 2014 Term in June, a perhaps surprising assessment began to emerge: The Court appeared more liberal in this last Term than it had for quite a while.

Above: Deep Dive: Monumental Decisions, The Supreme Court 2014- 2015 (The Aspen Institute)
Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO of The National Constitution Center interviews
Sentor Chris Coons (D–DE), Alan Cooperman, Ken Davis, David Frum,
Neal Katyal, David Leonhardt, Sam Tanenhaus and Garry Wills

In Right Divided, a Disciplined Left Steered the Supreme Court, The New York Times Supreme Court Correspondent Adam Liptak notes the shift and writes,
the court’s four-member liberal wing [Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan], all appointed by Democratic presidents, managed to pick off one or more votes from the court’s five conservative justices, all appointed by Republicans. 
They did this in large part through rigorous bloc voting, making the term that concluded Monday the most liberal one since the Warren court in the late 1960s, according to two political-science measurements of court voting data.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Fourteenth Amendment

On 9 July 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which Congress passed on 13 June 1866, was ratified.

Below, you may find pictures of the Amendment as it was proposed and a transcript of the Amendment.

Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution
Source: Our Documents

Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution
Source: Our Documents

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Courting The Death Penalty

An anti-death penalty protestor faces the Supreme Court building. (30 June 2014. Washington, DC) PHOTO: Fabrizio di Piazza

For the reasons stated in Justice Sotomayor's opinion, I dissent from the Court’s holding. But rather than try to patch up the death penalty’s legal wounds one at a time, I would ask for full briefing on a more basic question: whether the death penalty violates the Constitution.
576 U. S. ____ (2015)

In With Subtle Signals, Supreme Court Justices Request the Cases They Want to Hear, The New York Times Supreme Court Correspondent Adam Liptak explored instances of the Supreme Court broadcasting interest to hear a case on a particular issue. This Term there was no more dramatic example than Justice Stephen G. Breyer's dissent in Glossip v. Gross, a 5-to-4 decision written by Justice Samuel A. Alito upholding as constitutional Oklahoma's use of a "500-milligram dose of midazolam, a sedative, as the first drug in its three-drug protocol" for execution by lethal injection.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

4 July 1776

Declaration of Independence (Dunlap Broadside)
Photo: National Archives (Flickr)

"[Above] is the first printed version of the Declaration of Independence. Drafted for the most part by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence justified breaking the colonial ties to Great Britain by providing a basic philosophy of government and a list of grievances against the Crown. John Dunlap of Philadelphia was the printer to the Continental Congress." National Archives

You may read the full text of the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives, Charters of Freedom Web site.

The Flag: Happy Fourth of July (2015)!

Happy Fourth of July (2015)
Photo: Library of Congress (Flickr)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Civil Rights Act of 1964

On 2 July 1964, with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., standing behind him, President Lyndon B. Johnson
signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the East Room of the White House
Photo: Cecil Stoughton. Source: LBJ Presidential Library.

The first page of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Source: National Archives.