Monday, February 18, 2002

the importance of a swing vote

One of the best choices I made while in law school, was to read the Brethren the summer before my second year, when we studied constitutional law. The book, unfortunately now out of print, is an excellent introduction to the people behind some of the most important judicial cases of our time, including Roe v. Wade, Miranda, and many others. It also has the power to give its readers a good sense of how the Court functions.

Because of this book, Constitutional law was one of my favorite classes. But I may have learned more about the constitution from the book than from the class. See Movie Day at the Supreme Court “I Know It When I See It” (pdf), for the types of insights that the book provides. Or even better, find a copy of the book somewhere, and read it, if you're interested in learning about how the Supreme Court works.

One thing The Brethren taught well was the value of a swing vote. And there may be no person in the history of the Court who has understood the role of a moderate in deciding final outcomes than Sandra Day O'Connor

The Washington Post's article The O'Connor Factor; Justice Plays Pivotal Role on High Court describes the growing popularity and influence of the Justice. It also asks a number of questions, such as whether she will retire soon, or become Chief Justice.

Delaware Justice Randy Holland (President of the American Inns of Court) was recently involved in honoring Justice O'Connor (scroll down) in Arizona for her service to the American legal community.

moving justice

The time of the move to the new courthouse in New Castle County is fast approaching. This article states that the Delaware Supreme Court will also move into the Building. I had heard otherwise, and I suspect that they are wrong.

an apple candybar a day...
The type of story that you like to hear every once in a while tells us that Dark chocolate may help fight off heart attacks.

people who live in glass houses...

Best title for any article I've seen on the net in quite a while. After three years of labor and 42,000 bottles, "Stones Least of Worries For Glass House People," from the Moscow Times. [sorry. upon revisiting this story, I've discovered that anything older than a day on the Moscow Times English Language site requires a subscription. Some fascinating stuff there, regardless.]

who's on first

Stealing a pizza in California might no longer be the means of earning a twenty-five-year to life sentence as a third felony, in light of a Ninth Circuit decision made last week. The federal court asked for more proportionality in sentences when habitual offender statutes are used to enhance sentencing orders. Draconian measures of sentencing someone should not be based upon failed attempts to apply baseball metaphors (three strikes) to justice. Nor should they be based upon failed attempts to use the legal system to "rehabilitate" someone, when many measures aimed at rehabilitation are aspirational at best, and total failures at worst; often without sufficient funds or resources to make them successful.

- William Slawski