February 20, 2016
Antonin Scalia, who combined a zest for intellectual combat with a vast talent for friendship, was a Roman candle of sparkling jurisprudential theories leavened by acerbic witticisms. The serrated edges of his most passionate dissents sometimes strained the court's comity and occasionally limited his ability to proclaim what the late Justice William Brennan called the most important word in the court's lexicon: "Five. " Scalia was, however, one of the most formidable thinkers among the 112 justices who have served on the court, and he often dissented in the hope of shaping a future replete with majorities steeped in principles he honed while in the minority.
January 25, 2013 |
The U.S. Senate has long promised and tolerated unlimited debate on legislation. It's only with 60 votes that the Senate's "cloture" rule can be invoked to stop debate and require a vote. In practice, that means that 41 senators can block most action by threatening to prolong debate, or filibuster. But now some senators and outside interests want to allow debate to be cut off by a simple majority, eliminating the filibuster. The desire for change comes from partisan passions and recent frustrations.
January 7, 2013
BY SEVERAL measures, the 112th Congress - which limped to a close last week - could be judged the worst in modern history. Not only did it fail to address many of the nation's pressing problems, it created new ones. Without substantial changes, the 113th Congress, sworn in Thursday, will likely be no better. At a 9 percent approval rating, Congress' popularity was one point below the percentage of Americans who favor a communist takeover. Its lack of productivity was historic: The legendary "Do Nothing" Congress made infamous by Harry Truman produced four times more laws (906 to 220)
February 8, 2012 |
The debate about who should decide the legal status of same-sex marriage, now unfolding in New Jersey and nationwide, is as old as the Constitution. Should the people decide in a referendum, as Gov. Christie maintains? Or should the Legislature or the courts settle it? While New Jersey ponders that question, Washington's state Legislature is poised to pass a bill allowing same-sex marriage. For anyone keeping score, that will bring the number of states that have permitted gay marriage by legislation or court order to seven.
September 20, 2010
Majority rule isn't always best A letter Tuesday ("Republicans are the ones listening") suggests that members of Congress shouldn't have voted for the health-care law because polls showed that 60 percent of the people were opposed to it. But majorities are often wrong, as most people don't have a full understanding of the problems we face as a society, nor do they fully understand the solutions. Our elected officials are not in government simply to fulfill the wishes of their constituents.
March 6, 2008 |
WITH RALPH Nader in the race, Democrats are fuming and no doubt preparing to use the same legal tricks they used in 2004 to keep Nader off the ballot in many states. Republicans are cackling with glee. But Republicans shouldn't cackle too loudly. They've also been hurt by the spoiler dilemma. In fact, the GOP lost control of the U.S. Senate due to Libertarian Party candidates in Montana, Washington, Missouri, Nevada and South Dakota spoiling things for Republicans. And many observers believe that Bill Clinton beat George H.W. Bush in 1992 only because Ross Perot drained away enough votes from Bush.
January 13, 2006
I WAS DISGUSTED to see the front-page story of Thomas Capano with his overturned death penalty. The change was due to a Supreme Court decision on being unanimous in the decision process. This stinks because the majority always rules, so why change now? For what he did, even lethal injection isn't good enough. As far as rotting in jail, I think it costs too much. His penalty should be the same as he gave his victim - and absolutely nothing else. Thomas G. Lutek, Philadelphia Respecting Casey's abortion views "They're pro-Casey - but not that pro" (Jan.
November 17, 2005
TO THE editor and management: Sorry about your "sagging profits. " That can be turned around, but you can't replace the honesty, wisdom and clarity of Carol Towarnicky. To borrow from another medium, she is your anchorwoman who, with deep thinking, made the complexities of issues critical to democracy easy for us to understand so that we can participate as citizens should. That's a gift. Hope to read her contributing opinions often. Arline Jolles Lotman, Philadelphia Outraged by K12 Re the K12 controversy: As an African-American female, I was appalled when I heard Bill Bennett's statement.
September 21, 2005
"Blog" is short for "Web log," a diary on the Internet. Blogs can be endless and self-indulgent, or thoughtful and challenging. "Blog Cabin" offers a selection from recent high-profile blogs. Bleeding Right http://bleedingright.antidoterecords.net/ Dear [U.S. District] Judge [Lawrence K.] Karlton: You're a complete and utter moron. Have you noticed that the Pledge [of Allegiance] states "under God" and not "under the Christian God"? There are many different gods for many different people.
August 21, 2005 |
David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey served in the Justice Department under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush The Senate soon will be asked for its "advice and consent" on the nomination of John G. Roberts for the Supreme Court. This role was set by the Constitution's framers, who expected that senators would exercise independent judgment on a nominee's qualifications. That includes, of course, examination of the nominee's background, accomplishments, and his or her understanding of the Supreme Court's role in our constitutional system.