Your editorial "Packing the D.C. Circuit" (May 20) accuses President Obama of preparing to "pack" the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit with three judges it "doesn't need." "Packing" is an odd description of the president's constitutional duty to nominate people to fill vacant seats on the federal bench. Congress has authorized this important federal appellate court to have a total of 11 judges, and it currently has only seven.
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Articles & Commentary
While the Roberts vs. Scalia face-off is mainly about style and tactics, not ideology—they both agree on the goal of reducing the size of the federal government—it’s real and likely to last. For sure they will put aside their differences in many cases, starting in all likelihood with the upcoming ruling in an Alabama county’s challenge to a key part of the Voting Rights Act. Still, the court’s right flank is divided, and that is producing some surprising and important legal victories for the Obama Administration.
The good news about increased turnout among African-Americans is worthy of celebration, but it is no reason to scrap the preclearance requirement of the Voting Rights Act, which for the last 48 years has played a critical role in realizing the Constitution’s command of voting equality and preventing state-sponsored voting discrimination.
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.
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.