Category Archives: Judicial System

America for sale: How a private-equity firm would flip the United States to China. – Slate Magazine

America for sale: How a private-equity firm would flip the United States to China. – Slate Magazine.

Fire Congress, Dump Mississippi and Alaska

How a private-equity firm would refurbish the United States for quick resale to China.

Like many large corporations, America is going through a painful transition as it reaches maturity. Growth has stagnated, expenses have soared, and shareholders are getting antsy. While emerging markets offer potential, competitors are rapidly eating away at the United States’ market share. Analysts are bearish, with many believing the country is on the decline. Is it time for a leveraged buyout?

Probably not. Still, it’s a fun thought experiment: What sort of changes and cost-cutting measures would a firm like Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital impose if it wanted to buy the country at a discount and refurbish it for a quick, profitable sale to, say, China?

Though the United States carries a $15 trillion debt load, if you look past its bloated budget and shaky governance, the country has some valuable assets. America has vast real estate holdings, a productive workforce, reliable cash flows, and a globally recognized brand name. An aggressive private-equity outfit, though, would find a lot to cut and a lot of people to fire. Here’s a 10-point plan to get the country shipshape.

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Paying a Price, Long After the Crime – NYTimes.com

Paying a Price, Long After the Crime – NYTimes.com.

Op-Ed Contributors

Paying a Price, Long After the Crime

IN 2010, the Chicago Public Schools declined to hire Darrell Langdon for a job as a boiler-room engineer, because he had been convicted of possessing a half-gram of cocaine in 1985, a felony for which he received probation. It didn’t matter that Mr. Langdon, a single parent of two sons, had been clean since 1988 and hadn’t run into further trouble with the law. Only after The Chicago Tribune wrote about his case did the school system reverse its decision and offer him the job.

A stunning number of young people are arrested for crimes in this country, and those crimes can haunt them for the rest of their lives.

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Guantánamo, 10 Years Later – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com

Guantánamo, 10 Years Later – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.

Room for Debate Home

Updated January 9, 2012 6:33 PM

Guantánamo, 10 Years Later

On Jan. 11, the U.S. detention camp at Guantánamo Bay — despite calls for its closing — will have been open for 10 years. The politics of shutting down the camp are complex.

What’s wrong with Guantánamo, and to what extent have the problems been fixed? What should the next Congress do?

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Read the full debate here: The New York Times – Room for Debate

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Judicial Ethics and the Supreme Court – NYTimes.com

Judicial Ethics and the Supreme Court – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

Judicial Ethics and the Supreme Court

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. tried to address growing concerns about ethical behavior and conflicts of interest on the Supreme Court in his annual report on the federal judiciary. But he skirted the heart of the problem: the justices are the only American judges not bound by a code of ethics.

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Chief Justice Backs Peers’ Decision to Hear Health Law Case – NYTimes.com

Chief Justice Backs Peers’ Decision to Hear Health Law Case – NYTimes.com.

Chief Justice Defends Peers’ Hearing Case on Health Law

In the face of a growing controversy over whether two Supreme Court justices should disqualify themselves from the challenge to the 2010 health care overhaul law, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on Saturday defended the court’s ethical standards.

The chief justice’s comments came in his annual report on the state of the federal judiciary. In it, he made what amounted to a vigorous defense of Justices Clarence Thomas and Elena Kagan, who are facing calls to disqualify themselves from hearing the health care case, which will be argued over three days in late March. He did not, however, mention the justices by name.

“I have complete confidence in the capability of my colleagues to determine when recusal is warranted,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “They are jurists of exceptional integrity and experience whose character and fitness have been examined through a rigorous appointment and confirmation process.”

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Ironic Perry can’t get on Va. ballot – Houston Chronicle

Ironic Perry can’t get on Va. ballot – Houston Chronicle.

Ironic Perry can’t get on Va. ballot

Updated 08:14 p.m., Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gov. Rick Perry has another “oops” on his hands, having failed to get on the ballot for the March 6 Virginia primary. His campaign submitted more than enough names to meet the 10,000-signature requirement, but it did not ensure that the people who collected the autographs were all registered voters or eligible to vote in the state, which is a requirement for the Virginia Republican primary.

Perry does not deny that he failed to meet the state statutory requirements, but that does not mean he is simply going to take it. Rather, Perry is suing in federal court to overturn this state decision. And for a 10th Amendment advocate like Perry, that’s like rain on his wedding day.

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To win this case, Perry is going to need a judge willing to overturn state law. Dare we say, Perry will need an activist judge.

We think Perry should take this opportunity to reflect upon his antagonistic rhetoric toward federal courts.

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The governor might also use this experience to contemplate the consequences of the overreaching voter ID law that he supported in the Texas Legislature. After all, that law threatens to place severe burden on voters’ freedoms of speech and risks prohibiting otherwise qualified voters from taking part in the democratic process.

We agree that Virginia’s ballot requirements are overly burdensome, and as a major candidate Perry does belong on the ballot. But Perry suing in federal court over strict state voter ID rules is exquisitely ironic.

Read the full article here: The Houston Chronicle

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Filed under 1st Amendment, ballots, Constitution, election laws, elections, federal courts, judicial activism, Judicial System, politics, USA, Virginia, voter ID

Newt Gingrich and the Supreme Court: The liberal scholars who support his critique on judicial supremacy. – Slate Magazine

Newt Gingrich and the Supreme Court: The liberal scholars who support his critique on judicial supremacy. – Slate Magazine.

Newt and His Surprising Liberal Allies

He’s not the only one who thinks there is a huge problem with giving the Supreme Court final say on the Constitution.

Newt Gingrich has turned his guns on the federal judiciary, and a lot of predictable squealing—from both left and right—about the threat to the rule of law has resulted. But Gingrich’s public statements, and a more elaborate position paper posted at his website, deserve serious consideration.

The brouhaha began at the last Republican presidential debate when Gingrich declared that “the courts have become grotesquely dictatorial, far too powerful, and I think, frankly, arrogant in their misreading of the American people.” In a subsequent TV interview, as well as in the position paper, Gingrich argued that when the president and Congress believe that the judiciary has rendered decisions that violate the Constitution, they should be willing to impeach judges, strip them of jurisdiction, haul them before congressional committees, and abolish courts.

The position paper, “Bringing the Courts Back Under the Constitution,” challenges the theory of judicial supremacy, which holds that the courts enjoy the last word on the meaning of the Constitution. As Gingrich correctly points out, the theory of judicial supremacy does not appear in the Constitution and, while the idea has roots in constitutional history, the Supreme Court’s clearest endorsement of it has surprisingly recent vintage in a case called Cooper v. Aaron, decided in 1958. The founders’ writings shed little light on what should happen when the branches disagree about the Constitution. They differed among themselves and in any event did not have a clear understanding of how the government would operate once set in motion. But Thomas Jefferson did clearly reject judicial supremacy and instead advocated departmentalism, the doctrine that each branch enjoys absolute authority to interpret the Constitution within its domain. And judicial supremacy is hard to reconcile with the Madisonian vision of the branches holding themselves in equilibrium through their efforts to increase their power at the expense of the others. Extended to the Supreme Court, this reasoning implies that the Supreme Court will advance spurious constitutional interpretations to enhance its power, and that Congress and the president must be prepared to resist.

This idea might be unsettling but Gingrich has logic on his side. If judges really had the last word, then there is no remedy if they misinterpret the Constitution—aside from constitutional amendment, which is extremely difficult, and in any event futile if judges then misinterpret the amendment. From a Madisonian perspective, while it is entirely predictable that the Supreme Court would claim that its views prevail over those of the other branches, the other branches have no reason to accept this claim.

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Read the full story here: Slate Magazine

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Filed under Constitution, judicial independence, Judicial System, separation of powers, Supreme Court, Supreme Court, USA

What logic could possibly be behind Newt Gingrich’s crazy attacks on the federal courts? – Slate Magazine

What logic could possibly be behind Newt Gingrich’s crazy attacks on the federal courts? – Slate Magazine.

Courting Disaster

Newt Gingrich’s ill-advised war on the only branch of government that people believe in.

For a self-confessed epic character, Newt Gingrich has stage-managed himself into an epic piece of political stupidity. With his escalating attacks on the federal judiciary, he has confirmed that, if elected, he would place himself atop a government that simultaneously manages to be both a dictatorship and a theocracy. In recent weeks—and just as his presidential star was improbably rising—he doubled down on his initial claims that the federal courts “have become grotesquely dictatorial and far too powerful,” to offer up new promises that, as president, he would abolish federal judgeships, occasionally ignore the Supreme Court, and—in the manner of a tiny tyrant in khaki shirts and mirrored sunglasses—have federal marshals arrest errant federal judges and force them to testify before Congress about their unpopular decisions.

One is tempted to open up a can of lofty rhetorical whoopass to explain why each of these ideas offends the basic constitutional principles of separation of powers, and judicial independence, but really, why? Does anyone even have to explain why Gingrich’s plans to construct a federal judiciary out of his own rib, then terrorize it into imposing his constitutional vision on the nation is a staggeringly bad one? Not really, given that conservative commentators have ably done so already. Former Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey last week called the Gingrich court plan “ridiculous,” “irresponsible,” “outrageous,” and “dangerous” and former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales called it “intimidation or retaliation against judges.” Conservative legal analyst Edward Whelan dismissed Gingrich’s proposal for abolishing judgeships “as constitutionally unsound and politically foolish.” Conservative columnist George Will poked fun at Gingrich’s hysterical rant about how the 9th Circuit’s decision that the word “God” in the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional was comparable to the court’s infamous Dred Scott decision. Wrote Will: “Really? It took four years of war and 625,000 dead to settle the slavery question; it took a unanimous Supreme Court a few minutes to swat aside the 9th Circuit’s silliness.”

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Nearly a Third of Americans Are Arrested by 23, Study Says – NYTimes.com

Nearly a Third of Americans Are Arrested by 23, Study Says – NYTimes.com.

Many in U.S. Are Arrested by Age 23, Study Finds

By age 23, almost a third of Americans have been arrested for a crime, according to a new study that researchers say is a measure of growing exposure to the criminal justice system in everyday life.

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The Case Against Sheriff Arpaio – NYTimes.com

The Case Against Sheriff Arpaio – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

The Case Against Sheriff Arpaio

After a three-year investigation, the Justice Department has accused Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., and longtime darling of the anti-immigrant crowd, of “unconstitutional policing” and creating a “pervasive culture of bias” against Latinos.

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Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Filed under Arizona, civil rights, Constitution, discrimination, due process, Hispanics, immigration, Judicial System, minorities, misconduct, police, unreasonable searches, USA