Unheralded

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Why We Don’t Trust Government

Chief Justice John Roberts’ characterization of the leaking of the draft decision on abortion as a “singular and egregious breach” of trust puts a fine point on the tenor of our times. In March, Senate hearings that confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson to the nation’s highest court in anticipation of shaping such decisions underscored the fact that, whatever the intentions of the …


Unheralded

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Why A Seat on The Supreme Court Matters

This is a bonus installment in a Governing series on the history of the U.S. Supreme Court, following the U.S. Senate’s historic confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson on April 7. The first four essays in the series examined “Myths of the U.S. Supreme Court,” “Why Supreme Court Nominations Sometimes Fail,” “Dangerous Trends on the Supreme Court” and “Life Tenure on the Supreme Court: …


CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Why Supreme Court Nominations Sometimes Fail

This is the fourth and final installment in a Governing series in a historical look at the U.S. Supreme Court to coincide with nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation process, which continues this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee. President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to fill the seat vacated by the retirement of Associate Justice Stephen Breyer seems likely to win confirmation this spring by the …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Life Tenure On The Supreme Court: Appointments and Disappointments

This is the third in a Governing series on a historical look at the Supreme Court to coincide with nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation process, which continued this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee. With hearings under way to fill an opening on the U.S. Supreme Court, it may be useful to look back on the history of court appointments. “Appointments,” Thomas Jefferson said, “and disappointments.” Since 1789, 115 …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Dangerous Trends On The U.S. Supreme Court

This is second in a series in a historical look at the U.S. Supreme Court to coincide with nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation process, which continues this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Three dangerous trends appear to be jeopardizing the independence and credibility of the third branch of the federal government. Court decisions are increasingly falling out along what appear to be purely partisan lines. …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Myths Of The U.S. Supreme Court

This is the first in an occasional Governing series on the Supreme Court in preparation for nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation process, which enters its next phase on March 21 when she appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee to publicly make her case for why she should win approval to sit on the nation’s highest court. The Supreme Court has been more than usually visible in …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — On Big Problems: Expect More From States, Less From Supreme Court

In today’s polarized political climate, Americans nervously anticipate U.S. Supreme Court rulings with the same fervor with that they enjoy sports, and with the same goal in mind: namely, to win. But American government is not a game, cautions U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton. By forcing the Supreme Court to make notably divisive, winner-take-all decisions, he argues, …

ED MAIXNER: Let’s Have A 21st Century U.S. Supreme Court

Amidst Congress’ partisan hostility, Americans who favor U.S. Supreme Court reforms can’t expect expansion or other structural changes soon. In fact, months before President Joe Biden named his commission in April to broadly evaluate possible judicial system revisions, he declared he wouldn’t “turn the Supreme Court into just a political football” with abrupt changes, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Supreme Court Packing: A Bad Way To Get Even (Or Ahead)

Recent talk among some Democrats about expanding the number of U.S. Supreme Court justices has caused enormous consternation among Republicans but also among many mainstream Democrats and conservative political commentators. The impulse to increase the number of justices is a partisan Democrat response to the refusal by Mitch McConnell and Republican senators to confirm (or even vet) President Obama’s Supreme …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Amy Coney Barrett Is In An Impossible Position; So Are We

In 1958, President Dwight David Eisenhower is reported to have said, “I made two mistakes and both of them are sitting on the Supreme Court.” The story may be apocryphal, but it continues to be widely quoted because it so perfectly expresses presidential exasperation with the behavior of U.S. Supreme Court appointees once they are confirmed by the U.S. Senate. …

ED MAIXNER: A Path Back To Less Partisan Supreme Court Confirmations?

With President Trump’s election eve choice of Amy Coney Barrett for the U.S. Supreme Court, another partisan fracas has ensued in the U.S. Senate. Regrettably, Trump has succeeded in casting most anything he can as partisan combat, generally with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell riding shotgun. And it’s become clear Trump will get his strictly partisan win with the Barrett confirmation …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Ginsburg, Trump And Midnight Appointments To The Supreme Court

First, the hard facts. An individual is president of the United States from the moment she or he takes the oath of office in the January after the election and remains president until the next person takes that oath, except in cases of assassination or successful impeachment. The sitting president has an unquestionable right to do all the things a …

CLAY JENKINSON: Days Of Reckoning

In the next few days and weeks, we are going to learn who everyone is, who has character and who has only a ruthless drive for power. The idea of a republic is on trial in so many ways in 2020. Now the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg brings it all into perfect focus. In a republic to have power …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — The U.S. Senate: The Backbone Of A Chocolate Eclair

We have been living for a very long time with the idea of executive supremacy. Some misguided attorneys have argued, since the presidency of George W. Bush, for what they like to call the Unitary Executive. By this they mean that the power of the president is virtually unlimited not only throughout the executive branch of government but in the …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — This Is My Country, And I’ll Vote

At the risk of losing her Senate seat, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., cast a true and heartfelt “NO” vote on the nomination of Brent Kavanaugh to a lifetime position on the U.S. Supreme Court. She is an attorney, has served as North Dakota attorney general, has dealt with Native American issues and sex trafficking and has broad, solid legal experience. …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Move Over, Dorian Gray

I spent more time on my fantasy football picks than the Senate has on Brett Kavanaugh. No matter how it turns out, I’ll have another chance next year. But the Supreme Court is for keeps. If the 53-year-old nominee serves to the age of 90 like Oliver Wendall Holmes Jr. did, he’ll reign until 2055. Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — The Supreme Court: Political From The Get-Go

We like to think of the Supreme Court as a nonpartisan and completely independent branch of government that makes sure laws passed by Congress and the states conform to the provisions of the United States Constitution. The Supreme Court aspires to that Olympian detachment and judicial neutrality but seldom achieves it. Like it or not, there is a political substratum …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Republicans Raising Taxes In North Dakota? Yep, They Did That

Wait a minute. Wait A Minute! WAIT A MINUTE! What the heck is going on here? The North Dakota Legislature raised your taxes, and everybody’s cheering! The cheerleaders? Republicans: Gov. Doug Burgum, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger. Democrats: Sen.. Heidi Heitkamp, Tax Commissioner candidate Kylie Overson. The chant: “A victory for North Dakota’s retailers!” Screw that. OK, …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — But Did Justices Scalia And Burger Agree?

The National Rifle Association spokespeople like to use Justice Antonin Scalia as a supporter of the Second Amendment to the extent they claim you can’t place limits on gun ownership and use. The NRA is devoid of integrity. It espouses its “love for the right to own guns, any guns.” The moment POTUS 45 declared to the National Governors Association, …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Supreme Court Is Overdue For Its Own Code Of Judicial Conduct

It was 1957 ― the year I graduated from Fargo Shanley High School and turned my senior mantle over to my sister, Kate, who was a year behind me. Sister Jody was preparing for her wedding in the fall; brother Tim was in the Air Force and also preparing for his own fall wedding; and I had no idea where my …