Must Reads

Monday Must Reads


December marks the tenth anniversary of Bush v. Gore. (Ah, but how time flies!) The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin…um…celebrates by mulling over what the decision means, now that we have a decade of space and time with which to regard it.

Here’s how Toobin’s essay opens:

Momentous Supreme Court cases tend to move quickly into the slipstream of the Court’s history. In the first ten years after Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 decision that ended the doctrine of separate but equal in public education, the Justices cited the case more than twenty-five times. In the ten years after Roe v. Wade, the abortion-rights decision of 1973, there were more than sixty-five references to that landmark. This month marks ten years since the Court, by a vote of five-to-four, terminated the election of 2000 and delivered the Presidency to George W. Bush. Over that decade, the Justices have provided a verdict of sorts on Bush v. Gore by the number of times they have cited it: zero.

Read the rest


On Tuesday, the US Supreme court will begin hearing Schwarzenegger v. Plata, the case that will decide if a three-judge ruling back in January demanding that California cut its prison population by 40,000 inmates, is in fact legal.

Monday’s Wall Street Journal has a story that looks at some of the issues and the players.

The San Jose Mercury News gives a good rundown on the history of the case.


In the upcoming issue of the New York Review of Books, recently retired SCOTUS Justice John Paul Stevens explains why he came to oppose the death penalty as unconstitutional in 2008, so late in his judicial career.

The NY Times’ Adam Liptak has a related story in which he considers Steven’s sudden and refreshing loquaciousness on a great many topics.


Over the weekend, the LA Times’ Maura Dolan wrote about the staggeringly long waiting list for inmates on death row to get a lawyer.

Here’s how it opens:

Thirteen years ago, Edward Patrick Morgan asked the California Supreme Court for a lawyer to investigate and challenge his 1996 death sentence for a murder in Orange County. The court has yet to find Morgan an attorney.

The inability of the state to recruit lawyers for post-conviction challenges, or habeas corpus petitions, has caused a major bottleneck in the state’s criminal justice system. Nearly half of those condemned to die in California are awaiting appointment of counsel for these challenges.

Read on.

Yep. We’re back to puppy pictures. (The cat, having formerly been featured in many of these “Must Reads,” doesn’t know whether to be relieved, miffed, or to call his agent.)


  • Joe, Democracy was critically injured and near death in Nov 1963 when President Kennedy was assasinated, it was sent to the morgue in 1968 when Presidential candidate Robert Kennedy was assasinated, and buried for good when Martin Luther King and Malcomb X were assasinated. Since then it has been one charade after another, dog eat dog Capitalism, Social Darwinism, media control and class warfare against the working and middle class.
    I’m fortunatly old enough to remember when hope was still alive and tomorrow meant better times

  • Pretty funny stuff. There’s been no democracy here in 46 years, maybe that’s only taking place in certain neighborhoods, not mine. I love how the far left depends so much on the spoken word and oratory skills as compared to the actual results of an individual’s actions. Obama is all about that mirage.

  • “I love how the far left depends so much on the spoken word and oratory skills as compared to the actual results of an individual’s actions.”

    Same with the far right, where Sarah Palin in concerned. Ronald Reagan when he became governor of California too, for that matter.

  • If you mean it’s only the left that talks about her, you must be confused. Turn to Fox News right now and she’s probably on.

    If you mean that because of the left’s failures, Palin is so popular, fair point.

    However, if it wasn’t for the right, we wouldn’t have Barack Obama. One side’s failures lead to a quantum leap in the other side’s fame. If Bush had just been honest about Iraq not having WMD from the get go, admit he just wanted to go there and establish a base and remove Saddam, and if he’d not been the single most corporate friendly president in American history while the biggest corporate heist in American history was taking place, you wouldn’t have had the Democratic surge in ’06 and ’08.

    Today, Obama’s fears of pissing anyone off have turned him into a hapless leader, and Palin fever is the result.

    So, have to agree with your logic, if the latter is your point. If the former was your point, you’re clearly in denial of how much the right touts Sarah Palin. She’s their clear presidential hopeful for 2012. Hands down. Anyone can see it from their house…

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