The the Christian Science Monitor and the ABA Journal have both published to the web the second of two pieces each I wrote for their latest issues.
From the Monitor’s October 4 issue, “What If Terry Jones Went to Sweden?“:
In America, we can paint a Hitler mustache on the president’s likeness without fear of the government’s wrath. But in Jordan, a poem critical of the king can get a writer jailed.
The article is a quick and far-from-exhaustive global free speech survey to supplement Warren Richey’s cover story on free speech in America. Richey’s piece is a great and timely read: it operates both in the wake of the Florida preacher’s Quran burning threats last month and in anticipation for the Court’s hearing arguments in Snyder v. Phelps this coming Wednesday.
From the ABA Journal’s October issue, “The Ultimate Field Trip“:
Hugo M. Pfaltz Jr. likes to say that in 12 years of appearing before the U.S. Supreme Court, he never failed to come through for the people he represented. “Each time my motion has been approved without dissent,” he says. Granted, Pfaltz does not appear before the justices to argue controversial matters of constitutional law. Instead, for the past dozen years he has closed a session of the Supreme Court by moving that a group of attorneys accompanying him be admitted to practice before its bar.
For this story, I joined the ABA’s Senior Lawyers Division annual Memorial Day trip to Washington, DC, to report on their getting sworn into the Supreme Court bar. The several dozen lawyers in the group came from all over the country for a chance to stand before the justices, and it was my honor to highlight the experience.
I have two short articles in this week’s Christian Science Monitor. One, an info briefing on the states’ lawsuit against the PPACA, has just been posted online:
President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23. Within minutes, 14 state attorneys general filed lawsuits in federal courts in Virginia and Florida challenging the constitutionality of the law’s “individual mandate,” which will require nearly every American to buy health insurance or face annual fines.
Although the individual mandate doesn’t kick in until 2014, legal challenges to the mandate have been met with some sympathy in court. As these cases move forward, it’s worth taking another look at the suits.
My cover story for this week’s Christian Science Monitor is now online:
They are fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, opera lovers and salsa dancers, long-winded pedants and quick-witted conversationalists, cancer survivors and nonagenarian swimmers, West Coasters and East Coasters, Winnebago drivers and airplane pilots. Aside from being nine of the most powerful men and women in the United States, the Supreme Court justices are also a lot like We the People.
But when we talk about the court looking like America, we also mean things such as the justices’ religions, races, genders, and sexual orientations. We mark our progress as a society by the diversity of these traits on the court. And President Obama’s nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan makes plain how far we’ve come, and for some, how much further we have to go.
Read the rest here.
This week’s edition of the Christian Science Monitor features my very first cover story! When the piece goes live on the web, I’ll provide the link and a cross-posted excerpt here.