Constitutional Opinions

Constitutional Opinions

Mighty Mandate

By From the December 2013 issue

For fans of blind justice few things are as exciting as the drama unfolding in the Second United States Circuit Court of Appeals in the case captioned as Floyd v. New York. It involves the policing practice known as stop-question-and-frisk. This strategy has been pursued by New York’s police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, to make New York the safest big city in the country, if not the world.One would think this would have brought Mr. Kelly—who has held nearly every rank in the New York Police Department—the Nobel Prize, particularly because the victims of crime in New York are overwhelmingly members of the minority community. Instead, Kelly’s campaign has made him a lightning rod for leftist sentiment, which has now come to a head in the most astonishing fashion.

Constitutional Opinions

Winning the ‘War on Women’

By 11.25.13

When the Supreme Court is in session, one or two afternoons each week are reserved for closed-door conferences during which the justices discuss petitions for writs of certiorari. These petitions, in ordinary English, are requests by litigants for the Court to review cases that have been inconclusively adjudicated by lower courts. Such requests often involve high profile public controversies, and those scheduled for discussion on Tuesday fit comfortably into that category. Tomorrow, the justices will confer about Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius and Autocam v. Sebelius, all of which challenge the constitutionality of Obamacare’s contraception mandate.

That the justices will discuss these cases does not by any means guarantee that they will agree to hear any of the three. The Court has several options, as Geoffrey Surtees at the American Center for Law and Justice points out:

Constitutional Opinions

Conventional Thinking

By From the November 2013 issue

POLITICS 'HAVE REACHED civil war levels’…” was the headline on the Drudge Report the other day. It linked to a story in National Journal quoting Sen. Tom Harkin as saying, “We are at one of the most dangerous points in our history.” It quoted Sen. Ted Cruz likening the Republican moderates to the appeasers at Munich. Another article quoted an aide to President Obama as comparing Republicans to “terrorists, kidnappers, arsonists…” Yet another quoted the Senate’s chaplain as saying “Lord, deliver us from governing by crisis.”

Constitutional Opinions

Ex Parte Scalia

By From the October 2013 issue

IF WE CONSTITUTIONAL fundamentalists ever triumph in the courts, the person to have whispering the reminder that all glory is fleeting would be Hendrik Hertzberg. A former chief speechwriter for President Carter and now a writer for the New Yorker, he is an honest liberal—and a crafty constitutionalist. He is just out with a column on the only remaining feature of the Constitution that the parchment itself says can’t be amended, namely the equal representation in the Senate of each state, no matter what its population.  Hertzberg’s column came up on the scope when I started poking around about the logic of the Senate, which has been creeping into the national conversation. There was the 13-hour filibuster against drones mounted by Rand Paul. There are all of Harry Reid’s threats to use the “nuclear option”—to change the chamber’s rules so that certain filibusters can be ended with just a simple majority, instead of the 60 votes now required.