Are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee more likely to vote in favor of Supreme Court nominees who are candid and forthcoming during their confirmation hearings? Based on a line by line content analysis of every hearing transcript since 1955, we find that candor actually plays less of a role today than in years past. Specifically, we conclude that since 1981, when the hearings were first televised, senators have been influenced more by partisanship and ideology than by nominee forthcomingness. Thus, contrary to the claims of many lawmakers, candor does not appear to influence the amount of support that a nominee receives at the pivotal committee stage. We close by discussing the political and normative implications of these findings.
The Candor Factor: Does Nominee Evasiveness Affect Judiciary Committee Support for Supreme Court Nominees?
Election law is experiencing immense change. The Supreme Court’s recent approach to election law cases has significant implications for the scope of the right to vote and the meaning of political participation and self-governance. This Article examines the importance of the Court’s recent pronouncement that plaintiffs can bring election law challenges only as applied to a particular political actor for a particular situation, instead of challenging a law in its entirety. 1 The “as-applied only” rule may seem like simply a procedural method for construing election laws or a mere semantic distinction, but, as I show, in reality the Court’s decisions have significant substantive ramifications.
The organized bar is increasingly providing pro bono legal assistance to the more than fifty million people of limited means in the United States. 1 In 2008, the 200 highest grossing law firms in the United States contributed a record 5.57 million hours of pro bono service to individuals and organizations that could not afford to hire lawyers. 2 These large firms now have well-organized pro bono programs that enjoy considerable administrative support. But the lawyers in large firms (over 100 lawyers) comprise only about 16% of the lawyers in private practice. 3 Solo and small firm (two to five) lawyers, who comprise 63% of private practitioners, 4 contribute more time and in greater numbers to the pro bono legal representation of persons of limited means than any other group of lawyers.
Before the ink had dried on our critical assessment of new empirical research on implicit bias, 1 Professor Samuel Bagenstos had critiqued our critique. 2 Unfortunately, Bagenstos resorted to an old rhetorical gambit: refute a caricature of an opponent’s position rather than the real thing. If Bagenstos were to be believed, we took the position that the “the law should prohibit only discrimination that results from self-conscious, irrational animus” 3 and that “rational discrimination is not a proper target of antidiscrimination law.” 4 Having attributed this extreme position to us, it is no wonder that Bagenstos concludes that our arguments will “resonate strongly” with those who believe “antidiscrimination law should aim solely at punishing individuals who act on irrational racist and sexist animus” but “will be far less relevant” to those who see discrimination as “a social problem that entrenches the subordinated and disadvantaged status of particular, socially salient groups.
Many legal rules suggest that the dead do not have rights. Often, the dead cannot marry, 1 divorce, or vote. The executor of an estate cannot sue for the libel or slander of a deceased person. And the right to medical privacy substantially erodes at death, giving family members the ability to obtain sensitive information about a decedent’s medical conditions. On the other hand, various legal institutions have spent considerable time trying to protect the rights of the dead. As a result, most testamentary distributions, burial requests, and organ donation designations are held to be valid even if they contradict the preferences of the living. Certain destructions of property requested in wills are honored even though they may have a negative impact on the living. Some states even statutorily recognize a posthumous right of publicity, and recent case law suggests there may be a posthumous right to reproductive autonomy.
It is well known that the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or the “Commission”) is the administrative agency that regulates insider trading in the United States’ financial markets. 1 It is also well known that insider trading law is notoriously difficult to understand, and even more difficult to apply. 2 It is less well known, however, that the Commission itself adds to this confusion and difficulty through its hesitancy to utilize pleading rules designed to lighten its burden in effecting its insider trading enforcement program (the “Program”). 3 The Program is the Commission’s effort to outlaw trading on material, nonpublic information by corporate insiders and outsiders which harms investors in the United States. 4 Although its goal is clear, the Program is plagued by a combination of poor Congressional guidance, courts that struggle with applying a legal fiction (the insider trading prohibition), and a disjointed Commission. 5 As a result, the prohibition on insider trading continues to be difficult to articulate and enforce. This is a situation detrimental to the Commission, the courts, and the market players—that is, the buyers and sellers of financial securities.
For nearly a century, aggressive judicial correction of government abuses has protected individual privacy rights. Favoring result over method, many of the Supreme Court’s remedies attract harsh criticism for their heavy-handed but uncertain application—subject to constant metamorphoses while maintaining a distinctive bite. Perhaps most galling to critics is the policy of exclusion, inciting spirited debate since its inception. 1 Despite the name of the doctrine, the exclusionary “rule” of the Fourth Amendment looks nothing like a “rule” at all thanks to its numerous and expansive exceptions. Historically amorphous, even slight variations on fact patterns reap widely disparate judgments when the suppression of evidence is at stake. Indeed, the rule’s good faith exception, incontrovertibly established in United States v. Leon, 2 has been consistently redrafted to account for those wrinkles encountered in the unpredictable realm of law enforcement. 3 Such ambiguity has likely been tolerated because all incarnations of the exception have thus far hinged upon one unifying principle: those members of the police department involved in disputed searches and seizures have acted with objective reasonableness. This stasis is now threatened, however, by the Court’s 5-4 decision in Herring v. United States, where officers who sought to invoke the exception, despite error on the part of internal personnel, were granted immunity from exclusionary tenets.
Finding Common Ground: How Inclusive Language Can Account for the Diversity of Sexual Minority Populations in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (“ENDA”) aims to protect all American employees who are or may be perceived as gay, lesbian, or bisexual by prohibiting discrimination in employment or employment opportunities, including, “firing, hiring, compensation, terms, conditions and privileges of employment . . . .”
Thus, ENDA creates a cause of action for any individual who is discriminated against because that individual is “‘perceived’” as a homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual, whether or not they actually identify as such.
This Note explores possible language for ENDA, a measure that has been the primary legislative vehicle for extending federal protection from employment discrimination on the basis of an employee’s actual or perceived sexual orientation.
An undocumented immigrant and a single mother, Tatiana arrived in the United States almost eleven years ago. Since then, she has been working very hard to support her three minor children, all of whom are U.S. citizens. She is a maid and a nanny working for minimum wage, as she does not have valid employment documents. Even though her income is small, she says that she is happy living in this country because her children will have a better future here than they would have had living in their home country.
Tatiana has to drive to work. She says that she is scared to get into her car every day because if she gets pulled over by the police for even a minor traffic violation, she may end up in removal proceedings even though she has no past criminal convictions. Tatiana lives in a jurisdiction that has activated the Secure Communities Program (“Secure Communities”). She knows that if she gets deported, her minor children will end up in a foster home. While the stated goal of Secure Communities “is to identify and remove dangerous criminals from local communities,” the data shows that more than fifty-six percent of the removed individuals had no criminal convictions.
The U.S. Supreme Court Upholds the Health Care Reform Law: What’s Next for Employer-Sponsored Group Health Plans?
In March of 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as the health care reform law and hereinafter as the “Affordable Care Act” or “PPACA”). Despite its stated dual intent to increase health insurance access and reduce health care costs for Americans, PPACA has evoked intense protests, threats of repeal, and prolonged litigation. Indeed, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits, as well as several federal district courts, considered the constitutionality of PPACA. As the circuits split, the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in this past summer with a controversial 5-4 decision, upholding the constitutionality of PPACA’s “individual mandate,” which is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2014.