Skip Navigation
Judging the Environment judicial nominations photo

A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Editorials and Opinion


Opinion Type


Items 61 - 90 of 789  Previous12345678910Next

The Senate GOP’s Appalling Judicial Confirmation Double Standard (Think Progress, 12/06/11)
Ian Millhiser: "Unlike Halligan, many of Bush’s appointees to the DC Circuit are among the most ideological judicial nominees selected in the last several decades — and yet Bush’s judges now control nearly half the active judgeships on this important court. ... there is no evidence whatsoever that Halligan is a radical in the vein of Roberts, Kavanaugh or Brown. But, of course, in the era of Mitch McConnell, the only rule that really matters is the rule of obstructionism."

If Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts rules against Obamacare, he will prove himself a political partisan: The case for the individual mandate is strongly supported by precedent  (New York Daily News, 11/20/11)
Jamal Greene: "The goal of the health insurance mandate is to prevent insurance companies from discriminating against people because of pre-existing health conditions. . . . Anyone can argue that the individual mandate is a bad idea, but no one can argue that it isn’t rationally related, indeed intimately related, to Congress’s legitimate objectives."

Editorial: Court should support health care reforms (Bakersfield Californian [CA], 11/17/11)
"The court should rule in favor of the Affordable Care Act, giving Congress the power to require people to purchase health insurance. The concept is little different from the requirement to, for example, withhold a part of paychecks for Social Security. ... The U.S. needs to reduce medical costs and provide health insurance to all Americans. Obama's reforms are a start down that path, and we hope the Supreme Court validates them."

The Court Sharpens Its Knives to Disembowel America (Esquire, 11/14/11)
Charles P. Pierce: "here are at least four justices on the Supreme Court who want to roll the law regarding the Commerce Clause back to approximately midway through the Taft Administration."

LETTER: A response to George Will's column (Morning Sun [MI], 09/14/11)
Glenn Sugameli: "George Will: A ruling's rehabilitation" (Sept. 8) ignores a key fact: Will's claim that the Supreme Court "correctly decided Lochner" in 1905 has been rejected overwhelmingly by conservatives - including George Will. Indeed, the author of the book Will relies on reacted by stressing that "conservative jurists have been, if anything, even more anti-Lochner than their liberal counterparts." Libertarian professor Don Bordeaux pointed out that: "conservatives - including Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia - routinely join "Progressives" in bashing Lochner. No less a conservative icon than Robert Bork derides Lochner as being "the symbol, indeed the quintessence, of judicial usurpation of power." Finally, as National Review commentator Matthew J. Franck explains: "This is the same George Will who in 1996 described Lochner as standing for the proposition that 'the court can overturn laws it considers unwise.'"

Op-Ed: The Supreme Court closes the door to justice; The Supreme Court seems to have lost faith in the American court system (Los Angeles Times, 07/06/11)
Erwin Chemerinsky: "in case after case in the just-completed term, the court, usually in 5-4 decisions with the conservatives in the majority, denied access to the courts."

Operating Instructions: The Supreme Court shows corporate America how to screw over its customers and employees without breaking the law (, 07/01/11)
Dahlia Lithwick: "the Supreme Court is giving corporate America a handbook on how to engage in misconduct. In case after case, it seems big companies are being given the playbook on how to win even bigger the next time."

Term review: A more activist Court; The Court has just finished a Term in which its tendency to decide cases more broadly than necessary — an activist inclination — appeared to deepen (SCOTUSBlog, 06/30/11)
Lyle Denniston: "It is activist, of the purest form, for a Court to decide a case on a broader legal basis than is necessary — no matter what its reason for doing so. And the Roberts Court is, one might say, perfecting the practice."

Editorial: Supreme Court sides with the rich and powerful (Star-Ledger Newark [NJ] , 06/28/11)
"This decision makes a perfect bookend to the court’s decision last year, in Citizens United, that allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited funds from their general treasuries on political campaigns. While that decision ensured that wealthy interests can press their advantage to new heights, yesterday’s decision effectively kills any chance that public financing of campaigns can present a viable alternative. Both decisions relied on a 5-4 majority, with the familiar ideological split."

Editorial: Decision went too far: Walmart ruling should spur Congress to review laws on class action cases (Buffalo News [NY], 06/27/11)
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision protecting Walmart from a class action lawsuit on behalf of as many as 1.5 million female employees undercuts the ability of groups of people to seek redress in the courts.

Editorial: Setback for women’s rights (Miami Herald, 06/26/11)
"The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision tossing out a huge employment discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of up to 1.5 million female workers at Wal-Mart represents a major setback for gender rights in the workplace, and beyond that for investors, consumers and others who file class-action lawsuits. The court’s action reverses decades of precedent allowing women and other workers to challenge common practices that have a harmful outcome, regardless of intent and notwithstanding written policies that ostensibly forbid discrimination."

Editorial: Bringing home less bacon (Post-Standard [NY] , 06/23/11)
"The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow Monday to the women of Walmart when it voted unanimously to throw out a class-action lawsuit claiming the world’s largest retailer discriminated against women when awarding pay and promotions."

Editorial | Wal-Mart decision (Courier-Journal [KY] , 06/23/11)
"Higher hurdles in class actions also will make it harder for investors and consumers to pursue claims. The Court's increasingly apparent determination to protect corporate interests above all else has wide and frightening consequences."

A Federal Judge Responds Defiantly to Chief Justice Roberts; There is a growing gulf between the Supreme Court justices and the rank-and-file federal judges who decide the merits of tens of thousands of cases each year (Atlantic, 01/03/11)
Andrew Cohen: "The chief justice copped out, I believe, by failing to even mention the fact that lower-court federal judges all over the country are sorely understaffed (because of Republican intransigence in the Senate) and under unwarranted, and sometimes just plain crazy, political attack from conservative politicians. I also found it odd, though I didn't mention it Sunday, that the chief justice did not mention the late John M. Roll, the Chief District Judge of Arizona, who was shot and killed in Tucson last January -- literally in the line of duty -- in the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Judge Roll was in line to talk to Rep. Giffords at the supermarket that day to discuss the "judicial emergency" in Arizona caused by too few federal judges trying to handle too many cases."

Concerned Women For America’s Twisted Attack on Goodwin Liu and Obama’s “Poisoned Apples” (Right Wing Watch, 12/27/10)
"The Senate battle over the confirmation of judicial nominees reflected the epitome of Republican obstructionism, with nominees who won significant if not unanimous support from the Judiciary Committee failing to receive up-or-down votes on their confirmation. Of the 38 pending judicial nominees the Senate was only able to confirm 19 of them before adjourning for the year, exacerbating the country’s judicial vacancy crisis that is growing so badly that even GOP-appointed judges have called on Senate Republicans to end the blockade.... Liu has received wide praise from both progressive and conservative legal scholars, and conservatives John Yoo and Ken Starr said “Goodwin is an outstanding nominee.”"

The Most Neglected Branch: Obama's Judicial Nominees Need to Be Confirmed Now (Center for American Progress, 12/15/10)
Ian Millhiser: "Senate conservatives have bent over backwards to prevent President Barack Obama from elevating newer, more moderate voices while the federal judiciary is practically bursting at the seams with right-wing ideologues. Obama’s judges have been confirmed at only half the rate of President Bush’s and one third that of President Bill Clinton’s at the same point in their presidencies. Yet the right lacks one legitimate ideological objection to any of to the president’s nominees."

Blocking the Judiciary (Hold Fast blog, 12/15/10)

Editorial: A hollow victory over health care (Virginian-Pilot, 12/14/10)
"[S]ince a majority of the high court's justices are adherents of a conservative strain of judicial activism, neither precedent nor history is likely to help much in predicting the result."

Health care and interstate commerce (St. Petersburg Times [FL] , 11/07/10)
Robyn E. Blumner, Times Columnist: "Just like the opponents of health reform, the owners of Heart of Atlanta and Ollie's demanded to be left alone in their inactivity. They were choosing not to engage in commerce with black patrons. While Congress was forcing them to. And Congress won....Under current precedent, health reform is constitutional. An intellectually honest Supreme Court would let the measure stand."

Commentary: Thank you Supreme Court for all the sleazy attack ads (McClatchy newspapers, 11/02/10)
Dan Morain | The Sacramento Bee: "The 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission handed Republican strategists something they long sought, the ability to raise unlimited money from corporations. Worse, the high court decision permits many of the organizations to forever hide the identities of their funders, while other groups easily can delay identifying their donors until after votes are cast."

In Williamson v. Mazda, SCOTUS Has Chance to Right Preemption Wrongs  (American Constitution Society Blog, 11/01/10)
Prof. William Funk commentary

The Chamber, Citizens United, and the Campaign for the Third Branch (Huffington Post, 10/26/10)
Doug Kendall, Founder and President, Constitutional Accountability Center: we "comprehensively examined cases decided by the Supreme Court in which the Chamber of Commerce filed briefs since Justice Samuel Alito began participating in decisions in early 2006. Over this nearly five-year period (through the end of June 2010), the Chamber prevailed in 68 percent of its cases. The Chamber was even more successful in the October 2009 Term, winning over 80 percent of its cases ... During the five Supreme Court Terms from October 1981 to June 1986, the Court ruled in the Chamber's favor just 43% of the time. Even more striking was the lack of any comparable ideological divide on the Court during this earlier era."

Study Documents Corporate Takeover Of Supreme Court  (Think Progress, 10/26/10)
Ian Millhiser: "this ideological shift in favor of corporations appears to be driven entirely by the Court’s conservative members.... n just the last few years, right-wing justices have immunized powerful corporate interest groups from campaign finance law, from laws intended to protect the environment, and from laws intended to protect women and older Americans in the workplace."

Calling John Roberts (New York Times, 10/21/10)
Linda Greenhouse column: there’s no doubt that the Senate Republicans deserve the lion’s share of the blame for refusing to permit even uncontroversial judicial nominees to get a floor vote. The Senate ended its pre-election session last month leaving 23 nominees hanging, including 16 who had had hearings and received unanimous favorable votes in the Judiciary Committee. In other words, sheer obstructionism, rather than legitimate disputes over judicial philosophy, is the source of the problem, and here is where Chief Justice Roberts comes in — or can, if he cares to....I look forward to waking up on New Year’s Day to this headline or its reasonable equivalent: “Senate Imperils Judicial System, Roberts Says.”"

Editorial: The Court’s Pre-emption Test (New York Times, 10/19/10)
"That prohibition is called pre-emption, a hot issue in constitutional law because it is at the heart of the balance of power between states and the federal government — the meaning of federalism. At stake is the ability of states to protect their citizens, by regulating health, safety, the environment, and other primary interests and by giving victims of wrongdoing redress in court, as long as a state law doesn’t conflict with a federal law. ... When the Roberts court, the most conservative in half a century, rules on pre-emption cases, the more conservative justices have sometimes taken an anti-federalist position in support of business, the more liberal ones a federalist stance in favor of vindicating people’s rights in state courts."

Poll Indicates Public Perceptions Of SCOTUS Driven By Confirmation Fights, Not SCOTUS Decisions  (Think Progress, 10/08/10)
Ian Millhiser: "The Roberts Court has pursued an almost single-mindedly pro-corporate agenda, immunizing powerful corporate interest groups from campaign finance law, from laws intended to protect the environment, and from laws intended to protect women and older Americans in the workplace. Unfortunately, however, a recent Gallup poll suggests that these actions are going largely unnoticed by Americans at large. According to the poll, an individual’s opinion of just one justice — Justice Sonia Sotomayor — appears to drive their opinion of the Court at large far more than the Court’s actual decisions."

Will There Be Crude Justice or True Justice For Oil Spill Victims? (Huffington Post, 10/07/10)
Nan Aron: "Alliance for Justice's new short film, Crude Justice, which exposes the terrible dilemma facing hard-pressed victims of the Gulf oil spill as they are forced to choose between suing BP in court and taking a payment from the company's $20 billion compensation fund. ... John Roberts and his conservative allies, after almost 20 years of litigation, gave Exxon a big gift by slashing the Alaska trial jury's punitive damages award by 90 percent."

Supreme Court's conservative majority is making its mark: The conservative justices' influence on constitutional law isn't likely to end soon, no matter who wins the White House in 2012.  (Los Angeles Times, 10/04/10)
Prof. Erwin Chemerinsky: "As the Supreme Court begins its new term Monday, its sixth with John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice, the reality is that this is the most conservative court since the mid-1930s. Since Richard Nixon ran for president in 1968, conservatives have sought to change constitutional law, and they have succeeded in virtually every area."

Judging Roberts: A Wide Strike Zone for Business (Jost on Justice: Law & Justice Blog, 09/27/10)
Kenneth Jost: "Roberts pledged in the confirmation hearing that he would just call balls and strikes and let the political branches decide the rules of the game. But he dissented in 2007 when the liberals plus Kennedy read the Clean Air Act to require the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate “greenhouse gases.” And when Congress required the EPA to use the “best technology” available to “minimize” fish kills at electric power plants, Roberts joined the majority decision in 2009 to allow the agency to retreat from that standard by adopting a cost-benefit analysis. The decision could have saved electric utilities billions but for the Obama administration’s reversal of the Bush administration rule.  One big company that did save billions thanks to a Roberts Court decision is Exxon, which won a 5-3 decision in 2008 cutting a $2.5 billion punitive damage award for the Exxon Valdez oil spill by more than 80 percent to $500 million. Here, the Roberts Court itself defined the strike zone by using its power over federal maritime law to impose a 1-to-1 ratio of punitive to compensatory damages."

Editorial: An Extreme Judicial Blockade (New York Times, 09/22/10)
"Senate Republicans ... invoked an obscure Senate rule that required the judicial candidates to be re-nominated. (Yes, these are the same Republicans who used to loudly demand that every one of President George W. Bush’s nominees get a vote on the Senate floor, regardless of their qualifications.) The most prominent of the five repeaters is Goodwin Liu, a law professor and legal scholar who would be the only Asian-American serving as an active judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. ...It would be nice if some Republican members of the Judiciary Committee voted for Mr. Liu and the four other re-nominees (along with three other new nominees). Whether they do or not, the White House and Senate Democrats should persist in fighting for their confirmation and the confirmation of the 16 other pending nominees already approved by the committee."