Tuesday, March 26, 2013

RIP Anthony Lewis (UPDATED with Scalia opinion in favor of 4th Amendment)

He wrote Gideon’s Trumpet and covered the Supreme Court.  From the NY Times obit:

As a reporter, Mr. Lewis brought an entirely new approach to coverage of the Supreme Court, for which he won his second Pulitzer, in 1963.
“He brought context to the law,” said Ronald K. L. Collins, a scholar at the University of Washington who compiled a bibliography of Mr. Lewis’s work. “He had an incredible talent in making the law not only intelligible but also in making it compelling.”
Before Mr. Lewis started covering the Supreme Court, press reports on its decisions were apt to be pedestrian recitations by journalists without legal training, rarely examining the court’s reasoning or grappling with the context and consequences of particular rulings. Mr. Lewis’s thorough knowledge of the court’s work changed that. His articles were virtual tutorials about currents in legal thinking, written with ease and sweep and an ability to render complex matters accessible.
“There’s a kind of lucidity and directness to his prose,” said Joseph Lelyveld, a former executive editor of The Times. “You learned an awful lot of law just from reading Tony Lewis’s accounts of opinions.”
Mr. Lewis wrote several books, two of them classic accounts of landmark decisions of the Warren court, which he revered. Chief Justice Earl Warren led the Supreme Court from 1953 to 1969, corresponding almost precisely with Mr. Lewis’s years in Washington.
One of those books, “Gideon’s Trumpet,” concerned Gideon v. Wainwright, the 1963 decision that guaranteed lawyers to poor defendants charged with serious crimes. It has never been out of print since it was published in 1964.
“There must have been tens of thousands of college students who got it as a graduation gift before going off to law school,” said Yale Kamisar, an authority on criminal procedure who has taught at the University of Michigan and the University of San Diego. 

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court this morning will hear the first of two gay-marriage cases.  There were long lines to get into the Court and line-holders were paid handsomely to get one of the few seats.  The lawyers for both sides made the list of top 100 influential lawyers in the United States by the National Law Journal.  

Italy's High Court overturned the acquittal of Amanda Knox.  I doubt she will be going back voluntarily.  I wonder what the U.S. will do if Italy seeks her extradition.

UPDATE -- Yes, Justice Scalia is a defendant's best friend again -- this time in a dog-sniffing 4th Amendment case:

A 5-4 decision (SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which THOMAS, GINSBURG, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. KAGAN, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which GINSBURG and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined. ALITO, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KENNEDY and BREYER, JJ., joined.).

First paragraph:
We consider whether using a drug-sniffing dog on a homeowner’s porch to investigate the contents of the home is a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.

Last paragraph answer:
The government’s use of trained police dogs to investigate the home and its immediate surroundings is a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida is therefore affirmed.

Congrats to Miami PD Howard Blumberg for this victory!



Anonymous said...

Big congratulations to Miami A.P.D. Howard Blumberg for his great victory in Jardines!

Rumpole said...

Hey- no props for Miami PD Howard Blumberg?

David Oscar Markus said...

Good point -- will update.

Anonymous said...

The level of debate in the gay marriage case before the SCt truly depresses me.

Anonymous said...

Why is gay marriage even an issue?

No one should have a say whom a person should be with. You love who you love.

The end.

Anonymous said...

I agree; why is the SCt standing in the way of love?