READ: IRS Inspector General Report on Tax-Exempt Scrutiny of Political Organizations
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was in a San Francisco court as judges heard oral argument on the state’s immigration law. A Ninth Circuit Appeals Court will decide if an Arizona state law requiring its police to arrest & detain suspected illegal immigrants based on a reasonable suspicion is constitutional. A lower court ruled that Arizona pre-empted the federal government’s authority to set immigration law and stopped enforcement of this part of Arizona’s law. More »
Justices Breyer and Thomas testified about the proposed fiscal year 2011 budget for the U.S. Supreme Court. In his opening remarks Justice Thomas said major portions of the requested five percent increase were due to the Supreme Court's modernization project and additional security personnel. The justices responded to questions on topics including the Supreme Court case load; cameras in the court; the diversity of law clerks, justices, and vendors; deciding what cases are heard and who testifies; granting stays of execution; and possible rulings on the recent health care legislation.
The hearing began with Chairman Serrano honoring Jack Roosevelt Robinson, who integrated baseball when he joined the major leagues on April 15, 1947.
More Info »
Justices Stephen Breyer and Antonin Scalia participated in a discussion on the constitutional theories of original intent and the Constitution as a living document. They also discussed the use of legislative history in judicial decisions. Mr. Duff moderated.
"Original Intent and a Living Constitution -- A Discussion" was part of the 2010 Leon Silverman Lecture Series: The Supreme Court and Separation of Powers.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts addressed students at the University of Alabama Law School about the history of the U.S. Supreme Court. Following his remarks he responded to questions from audience members. In response to a student, Justice Roberts said the Senate's confirmation process for federal judges is "broken down" and stated that President Obama's State of the Union speech degenerated "into a political pep rally."
A moot court hearing was held testing the constitutionality of rationing health care in a hypothetical case of a non-citizen being denied a life-saving vaccine. The case of Obasanjo v. Morrison postulated a massive outbreak of the "Simian" influenza in 2020. With the vaccine in short supply, Congress passed a law that gave priority to administer the vaccine to health care workers, pregnant women, and children without making any reference to citizenship. The Arizona state legislature interpreted the law to grant the state authority to impose a citizenship based priority for the vaccine. Isoke Obasanjo was an immigrant who lawfully resided in the U.S. for two years and was recently granted asylum. At two months pregnant she went to a clinic in Tucson to get vaccinated but was turned away because she was not a U.S. citizen. Pepperdine University Dean Kenneth Starr represented Ms. Obasanjo and Georgetown Law Professor Nina Pillard represented the state of Arizona.
"A Moot Court: Rationing Health Care" was a program of the fourth annual Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution held by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. It took place on Saturday, February 27, 2010, at 1:00 p.m. in the Ceremonial Courtroom of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Yale Law School Professor Bruce Ackerman, former Army vice chief of staff General Jack Keane, and Brigadier General H. R. McMaster talked about maintaining a constitutional balance in a protracted war. Terry Moran of ABC News moderated. Among the issues they addressed were sustaining efforts to combat terrorism, emerging threats to national security, definitions of combat and war, and the separation of posers among the branches of government in wartime. They also responded to questions from the audience.
"The Constitution and 'The Long War'" was a program of the fourth annual Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution hosted by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. It took place on Saturday, February 27, 2010, at 5:30 p.m. in the Annenberg Center for Education and Outreach.
Oral arguments were heard at the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in CBS v. FCC. The case concerned the CBS television network's appeal of a $550,000 fine levied by the Federal Communications Commission for a performance by Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake during CBS' coverage of the 2004 Super Bowl that involved partial nudity. This was the second time the Third Circuit heard this case. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the case but sent it back to the Third Circuit to be reviewed in light of the Supreme Court ruling on "fleeting expletives" in FCC v. Fox Television.
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Roger Gregory spoke about the importance of diversity in the federal judiciary, his recess appointment by President Clinton, and his experience as the first African American to serve on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
"The Importance of a Diverse Judiciary" was a program held by the New York City Bar Association Thursday, February 18, 2010, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
On February 23, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court would hear oral argument in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project and Humanitarian Law Project v. Holder, a constitutional challenge to application of laws such as a provision in the USA Patriot Act that make it criminal to provide "material support or resources" to groups designated as "terrorist." Panelists previewed the arguments that the law is too vague and violates the First Amendment's free speech and freedom of association provisions and the Fifth Amendment's due process clause. They talked about the legal questions at issue and the likely impact of the Court's ruling in the case.
Panelists talked about the role of the media in covering national security issues. Among the topics they addressed were sourcing, presentation of classified or sensitive material, research methods, and responsible journalism. They also answered questions from the audience.
Panelists discussed the relationship between U.S. Supreme Court decisions and American popular opinion. They focused on Mr. Friedman's thesis that the justices and the people are partners in a "marriage" that sidesteps the two elected branches. Mr. Friedman does not argue that the justices and the people are always in agreement, "but rather that they come into line with one another over time." Lyle Denniston moderated.
Barry Friedman is the author of The Will of the People: How Public Opinion Has Influenced the Supreme Court and Shaped the Meaning of the Constitution (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; September 29, 2009), in which he examines the history of the relationship between popular opinion and the Supreme Court from 1776 to the present.
"The Will of the People: The Supreme Court and the American Public," held at the National Constitution Center's Annenberg Center for Education and Outreach, was co-sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania Law School. The program was part of a two-day symposium at the University of Pennsylvania Law School titled "The Judiciary and the Popular Will," sponsored by the Journal of Constitutional Law.