Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is The Latest In A Long Line Of Justices To Weigh In On Politics

by IAN MILLHISER – On a fall day in 1955, Thurgood Marshall needed a signature to save a man’s life. Marshall’s client, as recounted in Gilbert King’s Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America, was an African-American man convicted of raping a white woman under dubious circumstances. The Florida Supreme Court had just rejected Marshall’s request for a last-minute stay of execution, and Marshall needed the Chief Justice of the United States, Fred Vinson, to stop the execution before it was too late. Marshall found the chief in a hotel, two blocks from the White House, playing poker with President Harry Truman. Truman sat silently as his good friend Vinson read Marshall’s brief and eventually decided to side with Marshall’s client. It was a common scene in the Truman administration. Often, Vinson and Justice Tom Clark joined Truman on the presidential...

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Rick Perry Made Last Week’s Single Most Incisive Statement About The 2016 Election

by IAN MILLHISER – In a week when the Pundit-Industrial Complex pondered such important questions as who has the best 2016 presidential slogan or what does Ja Rule have to say about the field of candidates, last week’s most important analysis of what is actually at stake in the 2016 election came from the man behind an infamous “oops” moment in the last presidential election. Speaking at a barbecue restaurant in South Carolina, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) explained why the winner of the 2016 election is likely to leave a legacy that will continue for decades after that future president leaves office. “Something I want you all to think about is that the next president of the United States, whoever that individual may be, could choose up to three, maybe even four members of the Supreme Court,” Perry told the South Carolina audience. So this election “isn’t about who’s...

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How The Supreme Court Will Make Their Decision On Marriage Equality

by IAN MILLHISER – Well, the time has finally arrived. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in four cases consolidated under the name Obergefell v. Hodges. By the end of June, the Court is widely expected to hand down a decision declaring that anti-gay marriage discrimination violates the Constitution. Indeed, this outcome is so widely expected that one of the Court’s conservatives, Justice Clarence Thomas, complained in February that his colleagues are signaling that marriage equality is coming. Should these expectations prove accurate, however, the question of how the Court’s opinion is drafted is almost as important as what result it ultimately reaches. Here are four things to watch out for in the upcoming oral argument that could shape how gay rights continue to develop after these cases are decided: Justice Kennedy Nearly every gay rights victory handed down by the Supreme Court has Justice Anthony Kennedy’s name on...

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