Justice Breyer’s Quarantine Routine | Check Out New Gerrymandering Documentary As You Shelter In Place
April 2, 2020
FROM CONSTITUTIONAL DEBATES TO CONTENT DEBATES|
Jess Bravin with The Wall Street Journal reports that now JUSTICE STEPHEN BREYER has been confined to his home as a result of coronavirus, his daily debates are now focused on what video to watch in the evening. Bravin writes, “Not all Supreme Court functions have ceased; deliberations among the nine justices continue by telephone, and law clerks are working with their bosses via phone and email to write opinions for previously argued cases. But telework is antithetical to the intimate culture of the Supreme Court. Justice Breyer says he’s tried to keep to a routine during the exile.” That routine includes stretching, meditating and running — their interview took place while Breyer was taking his daily 2-mile run through Cambridge.
As Congress considers whether it needs to resort to remote voting, SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI has expressed concern for instituting the practice citing “serious constitutional, technological and security concerns.” Ian Millhiser with Vox notes, “There are very strong constitutional arguments in favor of remote voting — and even stronger arguments that the courts have no business weighing in on whether remote voting is constitutional in the first place. But if the House were to implement remote voting and use it to pass crucial coronavirus relief legislation, it would likely begin a journey through an unpredictable judiciary dominated by Republicans.”
WHAT'S MINE IS NOT YOURS|
“America’s encounter with COVID-19 is causing people already enthusiastic about enlarging government to strenuously affirm the self-evident: the fact that government can perform indispensable functions. And a new pandemic — virus opportunism — is intensifying calls by perennial advocates of substantially enlarged government for just that. Government, they say, should be understood sentimentally as (in words ascribed to former Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank) ‘simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together.’ So it is serendipitous that on Friday the Supreme Court will consider whether to take the case brought by Miladis Salgado. Her 2015 encounter with ‘the things we choose to do together’ left her unenchanted by the romance of government.” In The Washington Post, George F. Will previews the case of a woman who had $15,000 of cash taken from her home by federal DEA agents who acted on a false tip that her estranged husband was a drug dealer.
OH SO SENSITIVE|
TIME published an adaptation from “Dangerous Crooked Scoundrels: Insulting the President, from Washington to Trump” by Edwin L. Battistella which explores the history of presidents trying to use the courts to stop people from insulting them — disputes that required the Supreme Court to weigh in and give its final word. Battistella asserts, “Today, DONALD TRUMP characterizes reporting he does not like as ‘fake news’ and has called the mainstream press ‘enemies of the people.’ But part of the genius of American democracy—both in our legal system and in our politics—is that citizens can openly insult the president. We enjoy protections of freedom of speech and freedom of the press that other nations do not, and our freedoms allow us to direct invective at the president with legal impunity.”
SLAY SLAY SLAY|
Ben Kenigsberg with The New York Times reviews a new documentary on gerrymandering called “Slay the Dragon.” He says the film “persuasively” argues that the Flint water crisis never would have happened without gerrymandering. It’s not a new assertion, he notes, but the film does do a “skillful job of distilling a complicated history.”