Monday, October 10, 2011

Columbus day reading

Here's some fun reading for those of you at work, like me:

1. The first of the Cuban 5 is out. Now what do we do with him? (Via Curt Anderson)

2. The Glass Ceiling doesn't apply to my law firm. (Via NY Times)

3. Judge Denny Chin talks about the difficult time he had sentencing defendants. (Via NY Times)

4. Justices Scalia and Breyer talk to Congress. (Via NPR) Here's an interesting exchange:
Scalia said he tries to figure out how the framers themselves understood the rights they outlined, and then carry those forward to today. Anything beyond that, he said, would be drafting new rights into the Constitution.

"I don't trust myself to be a good interpreter of what modern American values are. I have very little contact with the American people, I'm sorry to say. You do, and the members of the House probably even more," Scalia said. "So if you want to keep the Constitution up to date with current American values, you ought to decide what it means, and you can kiss us goodbye."

Then Breyer actually helped Scalia make an argument, explaining Scalia's worry that Breyer will end up substituting what he thinks is right for what the Constitution actually says.

"What I say is, yes, you are right about that — and all I can do is be on my guard, write my opinions, try to look to objective circumstances," Breyer said, "and I see the opposite danger — the opposite danger is called rigidity. The opposite danger is interpreting those words in a way that they will no longer work for a country of 308 million Americans who are living in the 21st century — work in the way those framers would have wanted them to work had they been able to understand our society."

Then, in a moment of remarkable collegiality, the liberal justice prompted Scalia to make an argument Breyer knew would trump what he had just said. He reminded Scalia about a familiar joke.

Two old friends are camping, Scalia said. When a great, big grizzly bear comes after them, the slower, pudgier friend says they will never outrun the bear. The friend running in front says, "I don't have to outrun that bear. I just have to outrun you."

"It's the same thing with originalism — I just have to show it's better than his [idea]," Scalia said.

It was clear the two justices had debated this hundreds of times. Wednesday's argument just happened to take place before a group of powerful senators. Because of that, the session became a kind of master class in the philosophy of law — and the art of "comity."

5. Scalia also says that the drug laws have hurt the judiciary (Via The Atlantic):

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia isn't a supporter of legalizing drugs. But he does believe that passing federal laws against them has done harm to the U.S. government. "It was a great mistake to put routine drug offenses into the federal courts," he told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal went on to report Scalia's belief that the laws forced Congress to enlarge the federal court system, and diminished "the elite quality of the federal judiciary."

6. The Sun-Sentinel got the Mangione search warrants.

No comments: