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2013-11

November 21, 2013

Minutes ago – and following the Republican filibuster of three important judicial nominees – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Democratic colleagues finally “went nuclear,” changing the Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster for executive branch appointees and all judicial appointees except those to the Supreme Court.  While the run-up to this vote has probably escaped the notice of all but the most pol

November 18, 2013

In the Gettysburg Address, in less time than it took Senator Ted Cruz to read Green Eggs and Ham, President Lincoln summed up and redefined the meaning of our constitutional heritage of liberty and equality for all persons.   Many of the changes we have made to the Constitution since that fateful day 150 years ago reflect the power of Lincoln’s stirring remarks.   The Gettysburg Address, in many ways, is the key to understanding the whole Constitution.   

November 18, 2013

In 2005, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) joined 13 other Senate colleagues in forming the so-called “Gang of 14,” a bipartisan group that agreed not to filibuster judicial nominees except in “extraordinary circumstances.”  This deal resulted in the confirmation of a number of extremely controversial George W. Bush nominees, including Janice Rogers Brown to the D.C.

November 14, 2013

Secular for-profit corporations cannot pray or exercise a religious conscience, but courts continue to fall into the trap of endowing business corporations with human characteristics of dignity and conscience, aspects of humanity that fundamentally are exercised only by individuals.  In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court will decide whether to review a remarkable ruling by the Tenth Circuit in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. that Hobby Lobby, and corporations like it, are persons exercising religion under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and may refuse to provide to their employees contraceptive health care coverage to which they are legally entitled under the Affordable Care Act.  In the meantime, new decisions have deepened the already existing split in the Circuits on this issue. 

November 13, 2013

Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will once again be hearing Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the challenge to the modest use of race in college admissions that made national headlines when it was considered by the U.S. Supreme Court last Term.

November 5, 2013

 It’s not every day that you watch a Supreme Court argument in which Lance Armstrong, Syria, tainted potatoes being given to racehorses, and the specter of Justice Alito poisoning little trick-or-treaters are all featured.  But Bond v. United States is not your average Supreme Court case.

November 4, 2013

In recent days, conservatives have been sounding the alarm over Bond v. United States, a case that my colleague Elizabeth Wydra has described as “a constitutional dispute wrapped in a sad soap opera” – with an extramarital affair, a child born out of wedlock, and a spurned spouse seeking revenge.