COOKIE-CUTTER COURT | Merrick, You Are Missed | Getting Dubs for Voting Rights
September 6, 2016
A COOKIE-CUTTER COURT|
Last week at different speaking engagements in Arizona and Colorado, JUSTICES ELENA KAGAN and SONIA SOTOMAYOR publicly considered how a new justice could alter the composition of the high court. Thursday, Sotomayor noted, “We’re not as diverse as some would like in many important characteristics — educational institutions, religion, places where we come from.” However, Sotomayor also added, “The Supreme Court is never going to be a melting pot reflective of the country. In most of our lifetimes, the court is only going to turn over one full circle.”
IT IS WHAT IT IS|
Echoing Adam Liptak’s coverage of comments made last week by JUSTICES KAGAN and SOTOMAYOR, Robert Barnes with The Washington Post writes, “The Supreme Court is never going to look like America. Get over it, as the late JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA might say. Or at least get used to it.”
DO YOU REMEMBER ME?|
Because we don’t remember you… CNN’s Ariane de Vogue reports on the silenced debate around the appointment of JUDGE MERRICK GARLAND, which some say is about to get a lot more attention than we saw this summer. Michele Jawando works with the Center for American Progress which is launching demonstrations in eight states to urge senators to act on the nomination. Jawando: “With the Senate wrapping up its longest recess of the year, communities are refusing to allow senators to go back to the Capitol quietly.”
And while activists plan to bring attention to a forgotten issue, we can expect Congress to come back to work with a strategy of their own. Congressional Republicans are planning a light legislative agenda in preparation of HILLARY CLINTON potentially winning the presidency. An aide to one Republican senator noted, “If Hillary wins, we force her to waste time, resources, momentum, early good will, and political capital — all on cleanup duty.” Richard Cowan with Reuters reports, “If all goes expected this autumn, a U.S. Supreme Court seat, vacant since Feb. 13, will remain unfilled until sometime next year.”
WHY IT MATTERS|
ICYMI, the Associated Press put out a report of issues at stake in the presidential election and their impact on Americans. No shock here: the Supreme Court made the list, along with the role of government, climate change, debt, trade and more.
CHEMERINSKY ON THE ISSUES|
Dean and Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, Erwin Chemerinsky also chimed in on the consequences of this election on Supreme Court-related issues. On abortion rights, affirmative action, campaign finance, gun control and the separation of church and state, Chemerinsky offered his insights and predictions for a Trump or Clinton victory.
“The Court is operating at a reduced level while waiting for a ninth justice who will determine whether the conservative or liberal wing will have a majority. Call it Schrodinger’s Court. Like the cat in the box who is both alive and dead, the Court finds itself in a sate of quantum superposition, a possible far-right Court shimmering simultaneously beside and within an equally ectoplasmic liberal one.” That’s Garrett Epps for The Atlantic.
“Just about the only thing dumber than judicial elections is trying to regulate what judges can say when they’re running for office.” Noah Feldman for BloombergView argues judicial candidates shouldn’t be “muzzled,” for they should be protected under the First Amendment to speak freely, like anyone else running for office.
WHILE MOM'S AWAY|
Without a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, a coalition of civil rights groups, Democratic lawyers, and the Obama administration are overturning strict voting laws left and right. Robert Barnes with The Washington Post reports, “With the presidential election approaching, the challengers have rung up wins against their two top targets. Texas and North Carolina are now under judicial order to shelve comprehensive voting laws, passed by Republican legislators, that appeals courts said discriminated against African Americans and Hispanics.”
William Wan with The Washington Post reports on the Republican creation of the North Carolina “monster law” that cut a week of early voting, eliminated out-of-precinct voting and required voters to show specific types of photo ID.
OTHER NEWSThe Sacramento Bee
Proposition 59 comes before voters this November urging California elected’s to use their power to overturn Citizens United. The Editorial Board encourages supporting this measure, “if only to avoid sending the wrong message.” A vote for Prop 59 could also “put more pressure on California’s members of Congress to seek a constitutional amendment.”The Associated Press
“The trial over a North Carolina law restricting restroom access for transgender people is being pushed back by several months, lawyers challenging the law said.”The Washington Post
“Less than three months after the Supreme Court vacated the convictions of former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell, the U.S. attorney’s office that prosecuted the Republican has recommended to Justice Department higher-ups that they endeavor to try him again.”The Washington Post
“No potential nominee should be judged solely on the basis of a single case. But Johnson is right to emphasize Kelo as an important yardstick — and not just because I happen to have written a book arguing that the Supreme Court made a major mistake in that ruling.”The Washington Post
“Within months of his death in February, the location of Scalia’s grave — at Fairfax Memorial Park in Virginia — was recorded on the cemetery website Findagrave.com with precision.”