1. Adam Liptak doesn't care for Justice O'Connor's book "Out of Order." From Sunday's review:
The book is short and padded. The main part, only 165 pages long, is interrupted by stock photographs and curious, unexplained editorial cartoons. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are included in an appendix. They are surely worth rereading from time to time, but their main purpose here seems to be to add some bulk to a very skimpy effort.The illustrations are particularly infuriating markers of missed opportunities. In one cartoon from 1981, the year O’Connor joined the court, the Rev. Jerry Falwell is seen on his knees, praying and crying, as she swings in what looks like one of the scales of justice. He is not mentioned in the text, and the reader is left to guess at what he is so worked up about. That he wants O’Connor to vote to strike down Roe v. Wade? (She was, as it turned out, an author of a 1992 joint opinion reaffirming its core, also not discussed in the book.)...The larger problem is not that Justice O’Connor’s little sketches and lessons are wrong. Quite the contrary. The problem is that they are empty. She writes, correctly, that “the court’s only weapon is its moral authority.” But she refuses to give this and similar sentiments substance.In retirement, she writes, she has “taken up the cause of promoting civics education in our nation’s schools.” But civics are just a skeleton. They need the flesh of argument to come to life, to have bite, to matter.
Inside the U.S. Supreme Court last week, the justices were doing what they do best: dissecting a difficult legal issue — this time same-sex marriage — in the intense back-and-forth of oral argument.Over two illuminating mornings, the justices and top-notch advocates worked through most of the pros and cons of giving same-sex marriage constitutional protection — or instead letting the political process continue the debate.
Outside the court, however, the scene was less noble. People seeking seats for the oral arguments were forced to wait in line, with some arriving five days earlier. Tents were pitched, and money changed hands, with some paying as much as $6,000 to a line-waiting service for the chance of securing a seat inside. Inevitably things got messy, and the line seemed more befitting of a music hall or an Apple store on the eve of the release of a new iPhone.
In one sense, the avid interest of those in line was a healthy sign that people really care about the issue and about how the Supreme Court — their Supreme Court — would handle it.
In another sense, it was a disgrace. The notion that spectators have to camp out or spend money to see a public institution do public business is offensive. It is the direct result of the court's arrogant and stubborn refusal to allow cameras to record and broadcast its proceedings. Some of those waiting for days for seats might still do so if cameras were allowed, but it is a safe bet that most would have preferred to watch the oral arguments in the comfort of home on C-SPAN rather than wait in line over several cold and snowy days in March.
While the public shivers, the justices — newcomers and veterans alike — refuse to give in to the reasonable demands of the information age. They are fearful of the changes that cameras might trigger in the dynamics between justices and advocates and with each other — as if the court were a fragile flower, instead of the sturdy institution it is, an institution that usually holds up well under public scrutiny.
3. Rumpole, posting to this NY Times article on Project Mercy, asks if we have any Judge Gleesons in the Southern District of Florida. Do we?
5. Justice Scalia says he should be the "pinup of the criminal defense bar." Via the Washington Post.
6. Your Jeffrey Toobin moment of zen: