Today's newspapers carry the obituary for the somewhat accidental civil rights pioneer Mildred Loving, who died last Friday at 68. Loving and her late husband Richard were the plaintiffs in one of the most important civil rights cases ever to reach the Supreme Court. Their exquisitely- and aptly-named case, Loving v.
If you doubt that Alice in Wonderland is the best primer available for understanding the legal system, you might read Tony Mauro's latest piece in the Legal Times. The Supreme Court just denied certiorari in the case challenging the government's warrantless wiretapping program, meaning that though it didn't make a decision as to the merits of the case, it couldn't muster four judges who wanted to consider the legal questions.
I received a few e-mails yesterday from civil libertarian
colleagues grumbling about the interview Antonin Scalia gave to BBC radio yesterday
in which the Supreme court justice seemed to advocate mild forms of torture in
a “ticking time bomb” scenario. Reuters has a good wrap-up here.
Some have gone as far as to call for the associate justice’s impeachment for
discussing in the news media matters either before the court or likely to arise
in the near future.
By Harvey Silverglate
Sometimes, as Sigmund Freud put it, a cigar is just a cigar. And, likewise, sometimes words in the Constitution actually mean what they say. Much brainpower, however, has been expended trying to argue that the First Amendment, which admonishes that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” [emphasis added], actually doesn’t mean what it appears to say.
By Harvey Silverglate
The media has been abuzz today with the Senate Judiciary Committee’s discomfort with Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey – and his refusal to opine whether waterboarding (the interrogation technique widely reported as used by CIA interrogators to wring information out of suspected terrorists) is illegal or unconstitutional.
Any publication that devotes itself to promoting liberty, like
this blog, must stop for a moment to take note of the passing of one of the
giants in the never-ending battle for freedom. Connecticut attorney Catherine
Roraback died last week at the age of 87. While she left no survivors other
than a sister who announced her death, she did leave an enormous legacy for
which we all should be grateful.
Once again, the news media faces a “prior restraint against publication” imposed by the courts, yet few in that industry or elsewhere seem to understand the nature and impact of prior restraints and the true threat they pose. Contrary to common belief, prior restraints pose a more serious threat to Sixth Amendment rights (i.