U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, left, speaks with Trendle Smith, right, before Thomas spoke to a group at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, Friday, Jan. 26, 2007, in Little Rock, Ark. (AP Photo/Mike Wintroath)Justice Thomas is a Diet Pepsi man. Who knew?
Scalia, answering questions after a speech, also said that critics of the 5-4 ruling in Bush v. Gore need to move on six years after the electoral drama of December 2000, when it seemed the whole nation hung by a chad awaiting the outcome of the presidential election.Scalia has held this position for a long time. It seems like people always ask him about the case during Q&A sessions. I'm sure he's sick of it.
"It's water over the deck - get over it," Scalia said, drawing laughs from his audience. His remarks were reported in the Gannett Co.'s Journal-News.
"A no-brainer! A state court deciding a federal constitutional issue about the presidential election? Of course you take the case," Kennedy told ABC News correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg in her new book, "Supreme Conflict."I really need to pick up Greenburg's book. I've heard nothing but rave reviews. Hopefully, I can swing by Borders Monday.
Kennedy said the justices didn't ask for the case to come their way. Then-Vice President Al Gore's legal team involved the courts in the election by asking a state court to order a recount, Kennedy said.
O'Connor said the Florida court was "off on a trip of its own."I think O'Connor is on the mark here. The Florida Supreme Court was off in legal la la land. I also don't think much of the Court's per curiam opinion. I liked Rehnquist's concurrence much more, but it only had three votes. But that is what happens when the Court is rushed to produce something. I think that the Pentagon Papers case showed us that too. Justice Harlan's dissent, with its list of unanswered questions, showed just how bad a rushed Supreme Court ruling can be.
She acknowledged, however, that the justices probably could have done a better job with the opinion if they hadn't been rushed.
Still, O'Connor said the outcome of the election would have been the same even if the court had not intervened.
She was referring to studies that suggest Bush would have won a recount limited to counties that Gore initially contested, although other studies said Gore might have prevailed in a statewide recount.
When President Bush signed the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act in 2002, he did so with reservations. The law, he said, presented "serious constitutional concerns."Bush never should have signed the law if he had such serious constitutional concerns. I understand the political reality of the situation. I know that most people think McCain-Feingold is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Personally, I think it's just slightly better than cholera. It's a mess of a law that abridges political speech.
At issue in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life is a series of ads financed by the Wisconsin anti-abortion group in 2004. The ads criticized by name Sens. Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl, both Democrats, for blocking Bush's judicial nominees. But because Feingold was running for re-election, the messages ran afoul of the law, which bans messages referring to clearly identified candidates within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary - if those messages are financed directly by corporations or unions. The law allows such ads if they are paid for by corporate or union political-action committees, which are governed by greater regulation and disclosure rules.Just so everyone's on the same page, the ads told people to call Feingold and Kohl and tell them to stop blocking judicial nominees. They didn't say "don't vote for Feingold," "Feingold sucks," or any other number of things that you'd hear out of my mouth. However, the law would cover those ads that WI Right to Life ran.
The federal court system bars judges from hearing cases where they have a financial interest at stake. But Wisconsin is one of many states that have moved to a system that allows judges to decide what level of investment by them creates a conflict. In essence, Wisconsin leaves it to judges to impartially rule on whether they can be impartial in trying a case against a company in which they have an economic stake.The article is very provocative. I'm going to refrain from making any analytical commentary because I'm not familiar enough with the ins and outs of the Wisconsin judicial standards concerning conflicts. I'd definitely want to read more before passing any judgments on the behavior discussed in the article. It's worth a read though.
University of Southern California Law School professor Greg Keating calls states with a system like this "pretty lax."
Local attorney John Carter, former head of the Milwaukee County Ethics Board, says an honor system for judges does not assure citizens that justice is impartial. "It's absolutely the appearance of a conflict to sit in judgment in a case where the judge has an interest in the outcome," he charges.
Let's call on the courtIf you ever find yourself agreeing with this, punch yourself in the eyesocket over and over until you change your mind. Rarely can a single, solitary sentence be so devoid of thought. There are a few points that I would like to make.
With President Bush so wrong in establishing and running the Iraq war - and Congress a bit wishy-washy and certainly not unified - we should ask the Supreme Court to take hold of this terrible case, which has always been against the Constitution of the United States of America.
Irma Jo Sutton
The Milwaukee Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society invites law students to "A Conversation on Judicial Independence," featuring the Honorable Patience Drake Roggensack, Wisconsin Supreme Court, on Jan. 25, 12:00 - 1:30 p.m., at the Milwaukee Bar Association, 424 East Wells St. There is no cost to attend this event. Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP by completing form at http://www.acslaw.org/chapters/lawyer/milwaukee/rsvp.I would love to attend this, but I don't think my schedule will allow it. Justice Roggensack is one of my favorite members of the WI Supreme Court, so seeing her speak would be great.
Justice Patience Drake Roggensack of the Wisconsin Supreme Court will discuss the philosophy underlying judicial independence, its importance and effect in the three tiers of the Wisconsin court system, its relationship to the judiciary's interaction with the other branches of government, and how it relates to the development of common law doctrines, statutory interpretation and constitutional interpretation.
Rehnquist announced his opinion in the Texas case, and he struggled to provide even the briefest of summaries. Unable to eat because of his cancer, he'd become thin and stooped, and his skin appeared gray. His trademark booming baritone, which had silenced many a lawyer, sometimes in midsyllable, was gone. His voice now was weak and reedy from the tracheostomy. Rehnquist ticked off the names of the six other justices who'd also written opinions in that Ten Commandments case.I'm really looking forward to reading this book.
"I didn't know we had that many people on our Court," Rehnquist said slowly, his breathing labored. Then he smiled as he looked to the justices on his left and right, and the courtroom exploded in laughter. Rehnquist thanked the Court's staff for its work over the term. The audience grew completely still. The other justices peered intently at Rehnquist. This would be the time for the announcement. Rehnquist seemed to pause briefly. Then he banged down the gavel and carefully rose from his seat.
The other justices, looking confused, slowly began to follow. Only O'Connor seemed to have a sense of purpose. She turned and stepped beside her old chief, ready to help him if he needed her arm. Then the old chief shuffled back to his chambers, leaving all of Washington to wonder and wait.
Judge William H. Pryor, Jr. - United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh CircuitI'm very excited to hear Judge Pryor's keynote address about his time as Alabama's attorney general. Apparently, he will be discussing his role in the Ten Commandments monument issue there. It's always nice to hear Judge Sykes speak. I'm sure she will represent the Seventh Circuit and MULS well as usual. I'm also looking forward to seeing Volokh Conspirators Prof. Kerr and Prof. Barnett in action. Part of me is also interested to see Prof. Geoff Stone. Stone and I are polar opposites ideologically speaking. Still, he's a good advocate for his positions, even when they are completely wrong.
Judge Diane S. Sykes - United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich - United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
Judge Richard C. Wesley - United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Prof. Ron Allen - Northwestern University School of Law
Prof. Hadley Arkes - Amherst College
Prof. John S. Baker, Jr. - Louisiana State University Law School
Prof. Randy E. Barnett - Georgetown University Law Center
Prof. Lillian R. BeVier - University of Virginia School of Law
Prof. Robert Burns - Northwestern University School of Law
Prof. Stephen Calabresi - Northwestern University School of Law
Prof. G. Marcus Cole - Stanford Law School
Prof. Lino A. Graglia - University of Texas at Austin School of Law
Mr. Kevin J. Hasson - Founder and President, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
Prof. Orin S. Kerr - George Washington University
Prof. Andrew Koppelman - Northwestern University School of Law
Prof. Steven Lubet - Northwestern University School of Law
Prof. John McGinnis - Northwestern University School of Law
Prof. Michael S. Moore - University of Illinois College of Law
Prof. Michael J. Perry - Emory University School of Law
Prof. Saikrishna B. Prakash - University of San Diego School of Law
Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly - Best-Selling Author, Founder of Eagle Forum
Prof. Louis Michael Seidman - Georgetown University
Prof. Geoffrey Stone - University of Chicago Law School
Prof. Amy Wax - University of Pennsylvania Law School