Justice Stevens’s Valedictory Question

Posted in Case Reports by Mike Sacks on April 28, 2010

My write-up from this morning’s oral argument in Doe v. Reed is now up at the ABA Journal:

Today marked Justice John Paul Stevens’s final oral argument of his nearly thirty-five year career as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  Although Stevens has two more months of opinion announcements to get in a few more words as an active justice, his sole question during this morning’s argument in Doe v. Reed might as well have been his valedictory address to the Court and the country.

For nearly thirty minutes, Justice Stevens listened to the petitioners’ lawyer, Jim Bopp, argue that men and women who signed a petition to place an anti-gay rights referendum on the state ballot had a First Amendment right to privacy in their political associations that protected them against harassment from those with opposing political views.  Accordingly, Bopp maintained, Washington State had no compelling justification to release, pursuant to the state’s Public Records Act, the signers’ name and information.

Then, as the white warning light turned on upon Bopp’s lectern to signal that his half-hour was almost up, Justice Stevens leaned forward and spoke into his microphone.

Read the rest here.

“The Story” w/ Dick Gordon Interview

Posted in Non-justiciable by Mike Sacks on April 28, 2010

I just got back from Doe v. Reed.  A really great bout to end this term’s oral arguments.  I’ll have my ABA Journal piece up later today.

In the meantime, check out my interview on American Public Media’s “The Story” with Dick Gordon.  The segment begins at 31:00.  If you’d rather go terrestrial, click here to find airtimes for “The Story” on your local NPR affiliate.

Finally, Justice Kennedy made me eat my words with his opinion in in Salazar v. Buono. No time to do an opinion analysis on it right now, other than to note how fractured the majority coalition was:

KENNEDY, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which ROBERTS, C. J., joined, and in which ALITO, J., joined in part. ROBERTS, C. J., filed a concurring opinion. ALITO, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. SCALIA, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which THOMAS, J., joined. STEVENS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined. BREYER, J., filed a dissenting opinion.

For more on Buono, check out Josh Blackman’s instant analysis.


Posted in Anticipation by Mike Sacks on April 28, 2010

I'll Take It.

Final wait of the season completed.  Home to thaw.  A few thoughts on the Doe v. Reed line:

  • I woke up this morning to a man ranting about G. Gordon Liddy to all in line.  Fitting to bring back Watergate as Justice Stevens, the President Ford’s post-Watergate pick, hears his final oral argument.
  • Speaking of Stevens’s final oral argument, one admirer in line showed up wearing a commemorative bowtie.
  • The line was shockingly short given the high profile of Doe, its gay marriage undertones, and (again) Justice Stevens’s final oral argument.
  • People from Poland, California, Bangladesh, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin out there last night/this morning.  Got some good video interviews for Supreme Court Side Walk.
  • Sunday night was warm and rainy.  Last night was cold and dry.  And now that the Court is done with oral arguments later this morning, what’s it like for the rest of this week?  Dry and warm.  April, you disappoint me.

Time for my final trek up First Street for an oral argument this term.  It’s been fun.  Thanks to all who brave the elements with me, even those who beat me to the front of the line.  From the Court to East Capitol and around the corner, you all rock.

Come back later today for the argument recap and tomorrow for my Vox Populi column.

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SCSW III: Doe v. Reed

Posted in Supreme Court Side Walk by Mike Sacks on April 28, 2010

Interview with my usurpers:

More footage from tonight and tomorrow morning later this week.

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