GOP promises “whale of a fight” if court pick “too liberal”

GOP promises “whale of a fight” if court pick “too liberal”

By Mark Sherman
The Associated Press

Posted: 04/10/2010 10:02:14 AM MDT

Updated: 04/10/2010 10:22:39 AM MDT

 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., along with Sens. George LeMieux, (R-Fla.) and Richard Burr, R-N.C. (Getty Images North America | Brendan Hoffman)

WASHINGTON — Republicans are promising a “whale of a fight” during the congressional election campaign if President Barack Obama picks too liberal a nominee to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Eleven days before his 90th birthday, Stevens said Friday he would step down when the court finishes its work for the summer, in hopes that a replacement could be confirmed well before the next term begins in October.

Obama said he would quickly name a successor in the mold of Stevens, who he said was a voice for ordinary people rather than powerful interests.

A White House official said about 10 people are under consideration, but speculation has focused on fewer than that.

Leading candidates are said to be Solicitor General Elena Kagan, 49, and federal appellate judges Merrick Garland, 57, in Washington and Diane Wood, 59, in Chicago. All three were considered last year as well, and Obama interviewed Kagan and Wood before choosing Sonia Sotomayor for the high court.

Of those, Wood would be most likely to excite Obama’s liberal base and stir up conservative opposition. Garland is seen as most acceptable to Republicans, with Kagan somewhere in between.

Senate Republicans said the nominee should not be an activist, which they describe as someone driven by a preferred result rather than by the law. In practice, though, Republicans find that only liberal Democratic-appointed judges wear the activist label.

“I have hopes that President Obama will at least try to appoint somebody who will get a huge bipartisan vote, and if he will, he’s going to go down in history as a better president,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “If he doesn’t, there’s going to be a whale of a fight if he appoints an activist to the court. That’s not good for him, it’s not good for the Senate, it’s not good for the country.” Looking toward the hearings, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said, “Americans can expect Senate Republicans to make a sustained and vigorous case for judicial restraint and the fundamental importance of an evenhanded reading of the law.” Much like the Republicans, Democrats said they hoped to avoid a partisan fight, though neither party appears to expect anything other than a rancorous debate. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, appealed for civility.

“I hope that senators on both sides of the aisle will make this process a thoughtful and civil discourse,” he said.

With just 41 seats in the Senate — their second-smallest contingent in 29 years — Republicans would have to be unified to block an Obama nominee. Last year, nine Republicans joined to help confirm Obama’s first high court nominee, the liberal-leaning Sotomayor.

Democrats said they would follow the same approach that led to Sotomayor’s confirmation in August as the court’s 111th justice.

Obama nominated her less than four weeks after Justice David Souter announced his retirement. The Senate held a confirmation hearing in July.

Stevens is the court’s last remaining World War II veteran. His retirement had been hinted at for months, and the White House had made clear it would be ready to nominate a replacement quickly.

At the very least, the high court nomination could rev up both Democratic and Republican fundraising machines for the November election, even though Stevens’ replacement by a liberal-leaning justice would not alter the court’s ideological balance. Partisans on both sides were ready for a conflict.

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel at the conservative American Center for Law and Justice, said, “President Obama is likely to name a nominee who will embrace an extremely liberal judicial philosophy.” Michael Keegan, president of the liberal People for the American Way said, “In recent years, the court has given extraordinary preference to powerful interests at the expense of ordinary Americans. Justice Stevens was a bulwark against that trend. Our country’s next justice must play a similar role.” How much of a fight Republicans put up probably will turn on whom Obama chooses.

“If it’s Diane Wood, I think you’ll see a very strong pitched battle,” said Michael Carvin, a partner with the Jones, Day law firm who served in the Reagan administration Justice Department and is active in Republican politics.

Beyond the political back-and-forth, a new justice is unlikely to exert the same influence for which Stevens has been known over the past 15 years. He has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to attract the support of the court’s swing votes, now-retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Justice Anthony Kennedy, to preserve abortion rights, to limit application of the death penalty and to restrain Bush administration policies on the detention of suspected terrorists following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

However, after the arrival of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, President George W. Bush’s appointees, Stevens more often was among the four liberal justices in dissent.

He was on the losing end of a major case involving campaign finance laws in January.

That dissent showed both the eloquence of Stevens’ writing and, in his stumbling reading of his opinion in the courtroom, signs that his age might at long last be affecting him, though he remains an active tennis player and swimmer.

Roberts said in a written statement Friday that Stevens “has enriched the lives of everyone at the court through his intellect, independence, and warm grace.”

Sen. Kyl fires first shot in battle over next Supreme Court nominee

The battle over the next Supreme Court justice is already under way, as the No. 2 Republican in the Senate on Sunday would not rule out blocking a successor to Justice John Paul Stevens — who said in interviews published this weekend his retirement is on the horizon.

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” warned President Obama not to try nominating anyone “overly ideological” to replace Stevens, who is known as the leader of the liberal wing of the court.

He suggested the party did not want anyone so outspoken as Sonia Sotomayor, who was picked to replace former Justice David Souter last year, and said the decision on whether the GOP will filibuster will “all depend” on who the next nominee is.

Full story: FOXNews.com – Sen. Kyl Fires First Shot in Battle Over Next Supreme Court Nominee

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/04/04/sen-kyl-fires-first-shot-in-battle-over-next-supreme-court-nominee/print/#ixzz0kEPuuCG1

Justices may extend gun owner rights nationwide

Justices may extend gun owner rights nationwide

By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer Mark Sherman, Associated Press Writer Tue Mar 2, 9:12 pm ET

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court suggested Tuesday it will strike down U.S. cities’ outright bans on handguns, a ruling that could establish a nationwide ownership right fervently sought by gun advocates. But the justices indicated less severe limits could survive, continuing disputes over the “right to keep and bear arms.”

Chicago area residents who want handguns for protection in their homes are asking the court to extend its 2008 decision in support of gun rights in Washington, D.C., to state and local laws.

Such a ruling would firmly establish a right that has been the subject of politically charged and often fierce debate for decades. But it also would ensure years of legal challenges to sort out exactly which restrictions may stand and which must fall.

Indeed, the outcome of the Washington lawsuit in 2008 already has spawned hundreds of court challenges, including one in Massachusetts over a state law requiring gun owners to lock weapons in their homes.

Two years ago, the court announced that the Constitution’s Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess guns, at least for self-defense in the home.

That ruling applied only to federal laws and struck down a ban on handguns and trigger lock requirement for other guns in Washington, a city with unique federal status. At the same time, the court was careful not to cast doubt on other regulations of firearms.

The court already has said that most of the guarantees in the Bill of Rights serve as a check on state and local laws. Still, “states have substantial latitude and ample authority to impose reasonable regulations,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was among the majority in the 2008 decision.

“Why can’t we do the same thing with firearms?” he asked.

Alan Gura, the lawyer who represents the Chicago challengers, also has filed a new suit against Washington over the city’s prohibition on carrying loaded weapons outside the home.

The justices themselves acknowledged that only through future lawsuits would the precise contours of the constitutional gun right be established. “We haven’t said anything about what the content of the Second Amendment is beyond what was said in Heller,” Chief Justice John Roberts said, using the name of the Washington resident who challenged the city’s ban.

Roberts and the four other justices who made up the majority in the Washington case remain on the court, so it would not be a surprise to see them extend the Second Amendment’s reach to the states.

Still, James Feldman, a Washington-based lawyer representing the city of Chicago, urged the court to reject the challenges to the gun laws in that city and its suburb of Oak Park, Ill. Handguns have been banned in those two places for nearly 30 years, although they appear to be the last two remaining jurisdictions with outright bans, according to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Feldman ran into difficulty with several justices who formed the majority in 2008 — the ruling’s author Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Kennedy and Roberts. Only Thomas asked no questions, as is his custom during argument.

Even those who were not in the 2008 majority appeared to recognize that some extension, or incorporation as it is called, of the Second Amendment is likely. “Would you be happy if we incorporated it and said reasonable regulation is part of the incorporation?” asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who only joined the court last year.

As in earlier cases applying parts of the Bill of Rights to the states, the justices suggested they use the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, which was passed in the wake of the Civil War to ensure the rights of newly freed slaves.

The court has relied on that same clause — “no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law” — in cases that established a woman’s right to an abortion and knocked down state laws against interracial marriage and gay sex.

This is the approach the National Rifle Association favors.

For years, Scalia has complained about the use of the due process clause. But Tuesday he said, “As much as I think it’s wrong, even I have acquiesced in it.”

Gura urged the court to employ another part of the 14th amendment, forbidding a state to make or enforce any law “which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

Breathing new life into the “privileges or immunities” clause might allow for new arguments to shore up other rights, including abortion and property rights, liberal and conservative legal scholars have said.

But why use that approach, calling for overturning 140 years of law, Scalia said, “unless you’re bucking for a place on some law school faculty?”

Gura assured the court he was not in search of a job.

A decision is expected by the end of June.

The case is McDonald v. Chicago, 08-1521.

Justice Defends Ruling on Finance

Justice Defends Ruling on Finance

WASHINGTON — In expansive remarks at a law school in Florida, Justice Clarence Thomas on Tuesday vigorously defended the Supreme Court’s recent campaign finance decision.

And Justice Thomas explained that he did not attend State of the Union addresses — he missed the dust-up when President Obama used the occasion last week to criticize the court’s decision — because the gatherings had turned so partisan.

Justice Thomas responded to several questions from students at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Fla., concerning the campaign finance case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. By a 5-to-4 vote, with Justice Thomas in the majority, the court ruled last month that corporations had a First Amendment right to spend money to support or oppose political candidates.

“I found it fascinating that the people who were editorializing against it were The New York Times Company and The Washington Post Company,” Justice Thomas said. “These are corporations.”

The part of the McCain-Feingold law struck down in Citizens United contained an exemption for news reports, commentaries and editorials. But Justice Thomas said that reflected a legislative choice rather than a constitutional principle.

He added that the history of Congressional regulation of corporate involvement in politics had a dark side, pointing to the Tillman Act, which banned corporate contributions to federal candidates in 1907.

“Go back and read why Tillman introduced that legislation,” Justice Thomas said, referring to Senator Benjamin Tillman. “Tillman was from South Carolina, and as I hear the story he was concerned that the corporations, Republican corporations, were favorable toward blacks and he felt that there was a need to regulate them.”

It is thus a mistake, the justice said, to applaud the regulation of corporate speech as “some sort of beatific action.”

Justice Thomas said the First Amendment’s protections applied regardless of how people chose to assemble to participate in the political process.

“If 10 of you got together and decided to speak, just as a group, you’d say you have First Amendment rights to speak and the First Amendment right of association,” he said. “If you all then formed a partnership to speak, you’d say we still have that First Amendment right to speak and of association.”

“But what if you put yourself in a corporate form?” Justice Thomas asked, suggesting that the answer must be the same.

Asked about his attitude toward the two decisions overruled in Citizens United, he said, “If it’s wrong, the ultimate precedent is the Constitution.”

Justice Thomas would not directly address the controversy over Mr. Obama’s criticism of the Citizens United ruling or Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s mouthed “not true” in response. But he did say he had stopped attending the addresses.

“I don’t go because it has become so partisan and it’s very uncomfortable for a judge to sit there,” he said, adding that “there’s a lot that you don’t hear on TV — the catcalls, the whooping and hollering and under-the-breath comments.”

“One of the consequences,” he added in an apparent reference to last week’s address, “is now the court becomes part of the conversation, if you want to call it that, in the speeches. It’s just an example of why I don’t go.”

SCOTUS Knocks Down McCain-Feingold

 

January 21, 2010 10:45 AM

SCOTUS Knocks Down McCain-Feingold
By Daniel Foster

Updated: 11:18 A.M. 

The Supreme Court today struck down key elements of McCain-Feingold legislation in a decision that could radically alter campaign finance.

In a broad 5-4 decision in Citizens United vs. FEC, the Court found unconstitutional provisions in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act that prevented corporate and labor union money from funding some kinds of political communication. Under the ruling these groups may now fund political advertisements out of their general treasuries.

The decision overturns Austin vs. Michigan Chamber of Commerce and part of McConnell vs. FEC, which separated individual and collective campaign contributions into two legal classes and restricted the latter. But it upholds restrictions on direct contributions by corporate bodies to candidates, as well as requirements that the funding sources of political advertisements be disclosed to the public.

The case does not affect political action committees (PACs), which pool voluntary donations from individuals for direct contributions to candidates.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, and Associate Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Tohmas. Associate Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the dissent.

The majority saw the Austin and McConnell cases as significant departures from “ancient” First Amendment case law, compelling them to overturn the more recent precedents.

“We…hold that stare decisis does not compel the continued acceptance of Austin. The Government may regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements, but it may not suppress that speech altogether,” Kennedy says in his decision.

In his dissent, Justice Stevens warned that “The court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation.”

When the case was first heard last march, at issue was whether campaign finance laws that cap corporate spending on political activities applied to Hillary: The Movie, a scathing documentary about Hillary Clinton financed by a non-profit group.

But the case was given an unusual re-hearing, with new players in the form of Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Obama Solicitor General Elena Kagan, and this time it focused on the much broader question of whether corporate spending limits were themselves constitutional.

In an unconventional line of argument, Kagan seemed prepared to grant that non-profits like Citizens United, which produced the critical Clinton documentary, were not subject to the restrictions of 2002’s McCain-Feingold bill, so long as restrictions for for-profit corporations remained in place.

In response to the suggestion by Chief Justice John Roberts as to whether she — and by extension the government — had decided to strategically “give up” the particulars of the case to preserve the broader impact of McCain-Feingold, Kagan responded:

“If you are asking me, Mr. Chief Justice, as to whether the government has a position as to the way it loses, if it has to lose, the answer is yes.”

Lawyers tag nominee as ‘terror on the bench’

Friday, May 29, 2009
Lawyers tag nominee as ‘terror on the bench’
Tom LoBianco (Contact)

Lawyers who have argued cases before Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor call her “nasty,” “angry” and a “terror on the bench,” according to the current Almanac of the Federal Judiciary — a kind of Zagat’s guide to federal judges.

The withering evaluation of Judge Sotomayor’s temperament stands in stark contrast to reviews of her peers on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Of the 21 judges evaluated, the same lawyers gave 18 positive to glowing reviews and two judges received mixed reviews. Judge Sotomayor was the only one to receive decidedly negative comments.

Judge Sotomayor’s demeanor on the bench will be one of the issues the Senate Judiciary Committee tackles when she appears for her confirmation hearing. A lack of a good temperament has been used as a line of attack against nominees in the past – most notably conservative Judge Robert H. Bork, whose nomination to the Supreme Court was defeated.

But several lawyers and legal scholars on a call organized by the White House said the criticism is misplaced and that Judge Sotomayor’s legal acumen is overwhelming.

“She does not suffer fools gladly,” said Kevin Russell, a partner for Howe & Russell P.C. who argued a case before Judge Sotomayor about respiratory ailments suffered by the men and women who cleaned up ground zero after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. “I guess it is predictable that some of those fools would then complain about it.”

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Much of the public vetting of Judge Sotomayor, whom President Obama nominated to be the first Hispanic woman to sit on the nation’s highest court, has focused on her range of rulings on hot-button social issues.

Although the same lawyers who chastised her temperament gave her high marks on her legal abilities, Judge Sotomayor was the only member of the 2nd Circuit to receive a universally negative review of her temperament.

“She really lacks judicial temperament. She behaves in an out-of-control manner. She makes inappropriate outbursts,” one lawyer told the almanac. Another said she “abuses lawyers.”

The authors of the almanac interviewed at least eight lawyers who practice regularly before the judges and granted them anonymity so that they could provide candid assessments, said Megan Rosen, the editor of the almanac. The guide profiles every federal judge.

Ms. Rosen said that although Judge Sotomayor’s evaluations in the area of temperament were harsh, lawyers clearly respect her abilities – something not true of every judge reviewed in the almanac.

“Generally, when lawyers have respect for a judge it shows in all their other categories,” Ms. Rosen said. “If you know it’s just the general demeanor of the judge, it can help ease some of the tension that would otherwise be there.”

The lawyer reviews cover the rulings, political leanings and legal abilities of the jurists. The almanac, published in November, said Judge Sotomayor writes good opinions, is liberal but careful to follow precedent and has good legal abilities.

“She is a direct and candid questioner,” said Thomas H. Dupree Jr., a former U.S. deputy assistant attorney general who has argued five cases before Judge Sotomayor since 2007.

People often mistake her intensity for aggression and anger, Judge Sotomayor told the Associated Press in 1998.

During a high-profile national security case heard by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in December, Judge Sotomayor gave the attorney for a Canadian man who had been detained by U.S. forces little room to work.

Judge Sotomayor interrupted the lawyer, David Cole, numerous times about whether there was standing for a U.S. court to hear the case, before eventually explaining her aggressive questioning.

“That’s why I’m trying to figure out and untie your arguments a bit,” Judge Sotomayor told Mr. Cole.

Legal scholar Jeffrey Rosen documented concerns from 2nd Circuit law clerks and New York prosecutors in a piece he wrote for the New Republic earlier this month. In the piece, he quoted anonymous members of the New York legal community who described Judge Sotomayor as an intellectual lightweight and “kind of a bully on the bench.”

On the White House-organized call, Judge Sotomayor’s colleagues praised her careful reading of laws and characterized her as a judge bent on restraint and narrow readings of statutes.

Lawyers on the call couched her aggressive questioning as a product of a “hot bench” and poring over details meticulously.

MORE ON JUDGE SOTOMAYOR:
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• Sotomayor would be court’s 6th Catholic
• Sotomayor deflected Republicans before
• Sotomayor reversed 60% by high court

Judge Sotomayor’s judicial temperament was raised during her 1997 confirmation hearing to the appeals court. Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican who recently became the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Judge Sotomayor that she was out of bounds when she criticized mandatory minimum sentences from the bench during one sentencing proceeding.

“I do think that a judge, would you not agree, has to be careful in conducting themselves in a way that reflects respect for the law and the system,” Mr. Sessions said.

Judge Sotomayor said she probably should not have used the word “abomination” to describe the guidelines, but that her record showed she didn’t let her personal opinions affect her rulings.

“I do what the law requires, and I think that is the greatest respect I could show for it,” she told Mr. Sessions.

Harvard law professor and Obama mentor Charles Ogletree said lawyers caught off guard by Judge Sotomayor’s demeanor who criticize her are “misconstruing her sense as a well-prepared judge, one who is not on a fishing expedition.”

Conservative activists have decided on attacking Judge Sotomayor as a judicial activist who would work outside the rule of law. The Judicial Confirmation Network, which is leading a coalition of conservative groups, is airing an ad featuring Judge Sotomayor talking about whether judges set policy from the bench.

Critics focus on Sotomayor speech in La Raza journal

Critics focus on Sotomayor speech in La Raza journal
By Alexander Bolton
Posted: 05/27/09 01:36 PM [ET]
Senate Republicans investigating Sonia Sotomayor’s record are zeroing in on a speech she delivered in 2001 in which she stated her hope that a “wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences,” including appreciation for Latin-American cuisine, “would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

They are also taking a close look at the Supreme Court nominee’s skepticism, expressed in the same speech, about whether it is possible for judges to “transcend their personal sympathies and prejudices.”

Sotomayor delivered the Judge Mario G. Olmos Memorial Lecture in 2001 at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. The Berkeley La Raza Law Journal published the lecture the following year.

Conservative critics have latched onto the speech as evidence that Sotomayor is an “activist judge,” who will rule on the basis of her personal beliefs instead of facts and law.

“Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see,” Sotomayor said. “My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.”

Sotomayor also claimed: “For me, a very special part of my being Latina is the mucho platos de arroz, gandoles y pernir — rice, beans and pork — that I have eaten at countless family holidays and special events.”

This has prompted some Republicans to muse privately about whether Sotomayor is suggesting that distinctive Puerto Rican cuisine such as patitas de cerdo con garbanzo — pigs’ tongue and ears — would somehow, in some small way influence her verdicts from the bench.

Curt Levey, the executive director of the Committee for Justice, a conservative-leaning advocacy group, said he wasn’t certain whether Sotomayor had claimed her palate would color her view of legal facts but he said that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee clearly touts her subjective approach to the law.

“It’s pretty disturbing,” said Levey. “It’s one thing to say that occasionally a judge will despite his or her best efforts to be impartial … allow occasional biases to cloud impartiality.

“But it’s almost like she’s proud that her biases and personal experiences will cloud her impartiality.”

Conservative critics say that a willingness to rule on the basis of personal values instead of the law and legal precedent is at the core of judicial activism. And some Senate Republicans have said a nominee with a clear propensity toward activism would deserve a filibuster.

Levey, who has been in contact with other conservative activists and Republicans on Capitol Hill, predicted that the speech would be raised at Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing.

“I cannot imagine that Sen. Sessions and some of the other Republicans will not bring that up,” he said in reference to Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

“It’s fine to identify with Latina heritage all she wants, just not in the courtroom,” he said.

The Berkeley La Raza Law Journal did not respond to a request for comment.

In her 2001 speech, after citing legal thinkers who called on jurists to transcend personal biases, Sotomayor questioned whether judges could in fact escape such prejudices.

“While recognizing the potential effect of individual experiences on perception, Judge Cedarbaum nevertheless believes that judges must transcend their personal sympathies and prejudices and aspire to achieve a greater degree of fairness and integrity based on the reason of law,” Sotomayor said.

“Although I agree with and attempt to work toward Judge Cedarbaum’s aspiration, I wonder whether achieving that goal is possible in all or even in most cases. And I wonder whether by ignoring our differences as women or men of color we do a disservice both to the law and society.”

Some Republican critics say these statements raise concerns about whether Sotomayor, who was raised under modest circumstances in the Bronx, would serve as a neutral arbiter in a case pitting a wealthy white male against a less wealthy man or woman of color.

In her most controversial decision, Sotomayor ruled against 18 white firefighters, including one Hispanic, in their lawsuit against New Haven, Conn., after city officials scrapped a promotional test that showed the plaintiffs more eligible for advancement within the fire department. The white firefighters scored much better than their African-American peers on the test.

Concerns about Sotomayor’s activist view of the law prompted 29 Republicans to vote against her nomination to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in 1998.

“I think 29 senators voted against her last time,” Sessions said in a CNN interview Wednesday. “I think there was an unease maybe about her background and her tendency to activism. We’ll just have to go back and look at the record and see what most people felt.”

Sessions voted against Sotomayor’s nomination.

Have a comment on this story? Sound off in The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room here.

FULL COVERAGE: Supreme Court

At last!

At last!

Clarice Feldman
At last! Some sensible limitation on Roe v. Wade.

The Supreme Court upheld the nationwide ban on a controversial abortion procedure Wednesday, handing abortion opponents the long- awaited victory they expected from a more conservative bench.
The 5-4 ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.
The opponents of the act “have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.
The decision pitted the court’s conservatives against its liberals, with President Bush’s two appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, siding with the majority.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia also were in the majority.
It was the first time the court banned a specific procedure in a case over how-not whether-to perform an abortion. [/quote]

This is a practice the majority of Americans find morally repugnant and despite prior state law limitations on it, remained unchecked due to the expansive interpretation of the Court’s Roe v Wade ruling by lower Courts.

Clarence Thomas: I Hate the Media

 Clarence Thomas: I Hate the Media

By NewsMax.com
Sunday, March 4, 2007 8:54 p.m. EST

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is no fan of the news media.

“One of the reasons I don’t do media interviews is, in the past, the media often has its own script,” he said in an interview with Business Week magazine. “The media, unfortunately, have been universally untrustworthy because they have their own notions of what I should think or I should do.”

Thomas has been particularly upset by stories of how he ended up at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. According to the Los Angeles Times, Thomas says the common wisdom is that he was recruited for the school in 1968 as part of an affirmative action effort.

“That was the creation of the politicians, the people with a lot of mouth and nothing to say, and your industry,” Thomas told Business Week. “Everything becomes affirmative action.”

The real story, Thomas says, is that a nun suggested Holy Cross to him.

“That’s how I wound up there,” he said. “Your industry [the news media] has suggested that we were all recruited. That’s a lie. Really, it’s a lie. I don’t mean a mistake. It’s a lie.

“That thing that has astounded me over the years is that there has been such an effort to roll that class into people’s notion of affirmative action,” he continued. “You hear this junk. It’s just not consistent with what really happened.”