On March 2, 2009, all 41 Senate Republicans, including Cornyn, sent a letter to the newly elected President Obama, basically threatening to block judicial nominees from their own states unless they were consulted about and approved those nominees. In his blame-shifting remarks last week and his defense of those remarks since then, Cornyn ignored this letter.
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Why has partisan obstructionism continued to trump what would ordinarily seem good politics and policy? A major reason is that ACA bitter-enders have insisted that they have an ace in the hole: right-wing federal judges sympathetic to their avid distaste for Obamacare.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s stunning decision this week to strike down a National Labor Relations Board rule requiring employers to post signs reminding workers of their right to organize, is a clear indication of why this D.C. court has become an ideological battleground.
On any given day, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has the power to throw the environmental movement into complete disarray.
There’s nothing the federal government does that’s more impressive than the high-quality debates that occur daily before the court. If only the American public could hear them in real time, in their entirety.
The breadth of the Equal Protection Clause was no accident. While the Fourteenth Amendment was written in the aftermath of the end of slavery, its framers were determined to write into the Constitution the broad principle of equality contained in the Declaration of Independence. Indeed, in Prof. McConnell's own scholarly writings, he has recognized the force of the text and history of the Fourteenth Amendment's universal guarantee of equality, which, in his words, "introduce[d] a constitutional prohibition on invidious discrimination" and abolished "legally sanctioned inequality."
Perry and Windsor have arrived at the court on a tidal wave of cultural and legal change. Polls show increasingly broad and growing support for marriage equality, while nine states and Washington, D.C., now allow same-sex couples to marry. That's a minority of states, to be sure, but it is clear where our country is headed and how the fight for marriage equality will play out. The only question is, how long it will take. I was in the courtroom Tuesday morning for the Perry argument and was struck by the inability of those arguing against marriage equality to identify any legitimate reason for excluding same-sex couples from marriage.
It may have taken us 100 years to get it right with respect to race-restrictions on the freedom to marry, but it doesn't mean those laws weren't unconstitutional in 1868. The same is true, nearly 150 years after the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, for laws that deny gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry. I only wish Justice Scalia had been forced to face this constitutional text and history head on this morning.
Since media coverage of the high court already focuses on the trite at the expense of the court's majesty, it makes sense to remove the media filter. Exposing the American public to the fullness of Supreme Court arguments by permitting cameras in the courtroom would be a service rather than hindrance to the judiciary.
With Justice Antonin Scalia's controversial statement that the Voting Rights Act represents the "perpetuation of racial entitlement" continuing to reverberate across the media landscape, it's hard to believe that the Supreme Court is poised to hear another seminal challenge to a federal law protecting Americans' right to vote.