In case you missed it a couple weeks ago, the Brookings Institution has just posted a transcript of their full-day conference on the future of liberal jurisprudence and the competing conservative legal movement. The conference was fantastic across the board, but we at Constitutional Accountability Center were especially excited to see “New Textualism” gaining greater attention as progressives debate how to think and talk about the Constitution.
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Readers of CAC’s report, A Capitalist Joker, know that we traced the aggressive advocacy of the idea that corporations should have the same rights as individuals to a memorandum written by Lewis Powell for the Chamber of Commerce shortly before Justice Powell was nominated by President Richard Nixon for a seat on the United States Supreme Court. This fascinating and somewhat disturbing excerpt of a new book by Jeff Clement fills in many new details of this story.
For decades, conservatives like Ed Whelan, the President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a prolific blogger at National Review’s Bench Memos, have criticized progressive judicial nominees for not endorsing originalism or for espousing a “living Constitution.” So you would think that Whelan would be overjoyed that many of President Obama’s nominees, including D.C. Circuit nominee Caitlin Halligan – scheduled for a cloture vote next Tuesday -- have emphasized the priority they put on the Constitution’s text and history.
On Tuesday, December 6, 2011, the Senate is scheduled to vote on cloture in connection with the long-pending nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The very idea that this superbly qualified nominee could be filibustered is absurd.
Picture this: it’s early 2004, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has drawn national attention to the struggle of same-sex couples for marriage equality by ordering the city clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and now in-house lawyers for several municipalities in the state of New York have asked the New York Attorney General’s Office whether their clients too can issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. In a 17-page opinion that carefully analyzes the applicable statutes and decisional law, the New York Solicitor General advises that while New York statutory law does not expressly require that two people be of the opposite sex to obtain a marriage license, it is her view that “the Legislature did not intend to authorize same-sex marriage.”
For over a year now, CAC has documented the U.S. Senate's unprecedented obstruction of President Obama's judicial nominees -- under the direction of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Read why this obstruction has caused a "judicial emergency" throughout this country:
Conservative Justices like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas get a great deal of criticism (from the left) and praise (from the right) for being “originalists” and committing to follow the “original meaning” of the Constitution’s text. Constitutional Accountability Center comes at this debate from a different direction. We think Justices Scalia and Thomas are right in taking the text and history of the Constitution very seriously -- that’s what constitutional accountability is all about.