Sep 052018
 

I’ll begin with a disclosure: I tend to vote blue.  I don’t like my fellow Americans going hungry, or having to choose between being ill or being bankrupt (or both), or not having control over their bodies (especially if they’re women).  And unfortunately the Democrats have been the only game in town to reliably share these values.

At the same time, while I lean blue, I’m not deaf to red.  I can hear the merit to many things Republicans have to say, particularly to the extent that they counsel government restraint and fiscal responsibility.  Even when I don’t agree with their full conclusions, I can still respect the value of their input.  And I have no problem with advocating for more reddish policies when I think they would ultimately be more effective in actually achieving liberal values than those that are more bluish, as often is the case.

Which is why, even though I was disappointed in the choices of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, I have not been panicked.  True, each of these judges have, at times, espoused ideas that gave me pause. And I worry that they lack enough empathy for others’ lived experience to understand how the law they define may or may not actually be just.  But at the same time, both are educated, intelligent, thoughtful jurists, before whom equally capable lawyers can advocate to bring about the judicial results that will best preserve liberty for all.

Which is also why I say the following: as a credible jurist, Judge Kavanaugh should withdraw his Supreme Court nomination.  The power of the president to award a life appointment in the nation’s highest court presumes that this power was derived from elections that were free and fair.  Yet today there is ample reason to doubt that the last presidential election met these criteria and that the exercise of this appointment power legitimate. Continue reading »

Feb 092017
 

Yes, I know I read judicial decisions for a living, and as someone practiced in it my notion of whether reading one is “easy” may be different than someone who has never read one. But the Ninth Circuit’s decision on the immigration Executive Order is remarkably well-written and walks clearly through each and every issue before it. In fact it is so well-written that everyone, lawyers and non-lawyers alike, should be able to read it and understand what they are reading. And it’s of such importance that everyone should try to, so that when people debate and discuss it in the coming days everyone will be able to have an informed opinion about it.

What therefore follows is a guide to reading this decision, a roadmap that explains what you are reading to help make its pages seem less intimidating. Go on and give it a shot. The decision is a little long, but there’s not too much legal gobbledygook, and what there is I try to translate below. Continue reading »