Tag: Supreme Court

Joe Selvaggi hosts a conversation with constitutional legal expert Clark Neily, who delves into the facts and legal complexities surrounding USA v. Rahimi, currently before the Supreme Court. This case questions the forfeiture of Second Amendment rights for individuals accused of domestic abuse.


Joe Selvaggi discusses the implications of the Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard case for race and ethnicity-based programs with David Bernstein, a Distinguished Law Professor at George Mason University and an Adjunct Fellow at the CATO Institute.


Joe Selvaggi talks with Pacific Legal Foundation’s state legal policy deputy, attorney Jim Manley, about home equity theft, a practice that has taken 350 properties in Massachusetts, dispossessing homeowners of more than $50 million in equity. They discussed the case that the PLF took to the Supreme Court and won, rendering the laws in the 21 other states that practice it unconstitutional.


Israel’s Crisis of Democracy


On July 24, a bitterly divided Knesset (with its 120 members) passed a law that limited the power of the Supreme Court of Israel to invoke a judicially manufactured “unreasonableness” standard to maintain a level of control over the political branches of government, a feature found nowhere else among Western democracies. The Knesset vote was 64–0, as the opposition walked out, protesting that this law amounted to a dangerous threat to democracy. The change will return to the political branches power over matters that nowhere else in the world are assigned to the judiciary.

This extraordinary power, which has been exercised since the 1990s, allows the Israeli Supreme Court to order the prime minister to fire from his cabinet any minister who is part of an investigation of criminal activities. This amounts to a clear circumvention of the basic law that only allows removal from office upon the conviction of some criminal offense. That same judicial authority allows for the Supreme Court to block natural gas deals or direct national welfare policy on the basic premise of the “right to a minimal dignified human existence.”

The incongruous nature of this power has long been criticized. Thus in 2007, Judge Richard Posner, in his day no shrinking judicial violet, wrote a review, titled “Enlightened Despot,” of a then-recent book titled The Judge in a Democracy, by Aharon Barak, the forceful judge who led the revolution. Posner noted that “Barak created out of whole cloth a degree of judicial power undreamed of even by our most aggressive Supreme Court justices.” After all, US Supreme Court justices work within the framework of a written constitution that has an amendment process; an elaborate system of separation of powers; checks and balances; and a bill of rights. Israel has no written constitution. None of the judicial power wielded by the Israeli justices could be improvised under a customary written constitution, which would be based, as Alexander Hamilton famously stated in Federalist No. 1, on extensive deliberation, e.g., a constitutional convention to form a government based on “reflection and choice” and not “accident and force.”

Joe Selvaggi talks with constitutional scholar Ilya Somin about the merits and likely success of the two Supreme Court cases Nebraska v. Biden and Department of Education v. Brown, which challenge the President’s constitutional right to cancel more than $400 billion in student debt.


REPOSTED FROM OCTOBER: With the Supreme Court finally discussing President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, it’s a great time for anyone who missed it to check out our previous episode on the economics of student loan forgiveness!

Dr. Beth Akers, a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who specializes in higher education finance, discusses the economics of student debt, and what the Biden relief plan will and will not achieve.

Join Jim and Greg as they offer up two bad martinis and a crazy one. First, they shake their heads in disbelief and deep skepticism that the Supreme Court couldn’t figure out who leaked Justice Alito’s majority opinion in the Dobbs case, which resulted in the overturning of Roe v. Wade. They also hammer President Biden for demanding no conditions whatsoever to an extension of the debt ceiling, even though his unconstitutional plan to “forgive” student debt by forcing the bill on other taxpayers caused this debate to happen months earlier than it should have. Finally, they roll their eyes at reports that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was tapped to co-chair the Supply Chain Disruption Task Force but never went to a single meeting.  Seems to be a lot of that going around with Biden cabinet secretaries.

With the Supreme Court poised to potentially outlaw race-conscious admissions, Affirmative Action may soon be on the chopping block.

What will be the legacy of this half-century-old policy? Jason Riley, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and columnist at the Wall Street Journal, discusses affirmative action’s impact both on the black community and the broader American education system.

Freedom of Speech vs. Antidiscrimination Laws


Lorie Smith of 303 Creative.

Last week, the United States Supreme Court held oral argument in 303 Creative v. Elenis. It now appears that the court’s conservative majority—over three very exasperated dissenters‚ Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Ketanji Jackson—will at last put to rest one of the most divisive issues of our age: whether state public accommodation law can compel various suppliers of wedding services—web designers, cake bakers, photographers, and more—to provide services expressing support for same-sex marriage inconsistent with their personal and religious beliefs. At long last, the answer appears to be “no.”

The problem received an indecisive answer in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018), when Justice Anthony Kennedy issued a wishy-washy opinion that found that “a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his [proprietor Jack Phillips’s] objection” by a member of the state’s Civil Rights Commission tainted its judgment, and called for a rehearing of the case. That Delphic ruling left unaddressed whether a more circumspect Colorado commission could impose its will on future proprietors who refused to take certain jobs if it meant bearing a message with which they fundamentally disagreed.

2016 Was the Most Important Recent Election


2016 was more important than the Great Disappointment of 2022 — not that 2022 was unimportant.

Over the decades I have watched politics, I have seen just about every institution decline in honesty and competence.  That would be journalism, education, health care, and the FBI to start.  The list is long.

One institution has improved over time, and that is the Federal Judiciary.  Even when Chief Justice Roberts controlled the Supreme Court, it was an improvement over the courts that preceded it.

This week on Hubwonk, host Joe Selvaggi talks with constitutional scholar Thomas Berry about the important questions being decided in the more high profile cases facing the newly opened session of the Supreme Court. They discuss how the addition of newly appointed Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson could add a fresh perspective on the concept of originalism.


This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Charles Hobson, a retired resident scholar at the William & Mary Law School, 26-year editor of The Papers of John Marshall, and author of The Great Chief Justice: John Marshall and the Rule of Law. Dr. Hobson shares what students should know about the longest-serving, most important chief justice in the history of the Supreme Court, and his influence on our understanding of the U.S. Constitution. He reviews some of the most important Court decisions in American history. He also describes Marshall’s relationship with President Thomas Jefferson and their divergent views on the authority of the Court; as well as Marshall’s paradoxical position on African-American slavery. They explore the “Marshall Trilogy” of foundational Court decisions about Native Americans; and Chief Justice Marshall’s role and legacy of using the Court to safeguard the rule of law under the Constitution.

Stories of the Week: In Arizona, 40 students enrolled in the Applied Career Exploration in STEM (ACES) Camp engaged in immersive, hands-on activities and explored a wide variety of STEM careers. All 50 U.S. governors have agreed to expand K-12 computer science education in their states, prompted by a letter from 500+ business, education and nonprofit leaders urging an update.

The Abortion Decision Made Easy to Read for Both Sides


As people debate the new abortion case known as Dobbs, a common theme arises. One will ask, “Did you actually read the decision?” The other will respond, “No it’s too long and has legalese, but let me tell you what the court really meant.”

Don’t make fun of that person. They are at least right about the complexity. The decision is more than 200 pages and filled with phrases like “substantive due process” and “stare decisis.” Such phrases take whole semesters to learn in law school. How is the average person supposed to understand it?

This week on Hubwonk, host Joe Selvaggi talks with Ilya Shapiro, constitutional scholar, author, and senior fellow of Constitutional Studies at the Manhattan Institute, about the changing makeup of the court, and how this term’s most high-profile decisions reveal the judicial philosophies that comprise the current bench.


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I just finished reading Justice Thomas’s memoir My Grandfather’s Son because he has been in the news recently and it looks like progressives are going to try to intimidate him for his concurrence to the Dobbs decision (among other reasons). What a great book! The first two chapters are as good a description as can be found […]

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Arif Panju, a managing attorney with the Institute for Justice and co-counsel in the U.S. Supreme Court school choice case, Carson v. Makin; and David Carson, the lead plaintiff. Panju shares the key legal contours of Carson v. Makin and the potential impact of the Court’s decision in favor of the plaintiffs. They delve into the origins of the Maine school tuitioning program, and the change in the early 1980s that resulted in discrimination against religious families. They also review the 2020 Supreme Court ruling, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, which was a major victory for the Institute for Justice and school choice. Carson reflects on what motivated his family to join this case and take such a courageous stand for school choice and religious liberty, and what it has been like being involved in such a high-profile U.S. Supreme Court case.

Stories of the Week: Cara and Gerard review the impact of the Pell Grant program, launched 50 years ago this week, in helping to expand access to higher education. What would high school look like if it were designed to give students job-based learning experiences and marketable skills upon graduation?

This week on Hubwonk, host Joe Selvaggi talks with CATO Institute research fellow Trevor Burrus about the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision New York State Rifle and Pistol Associate v. Bruen and its implications for an individual’s right to carry a fire arm in states such as Massachusetts.


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We have a 24/7 classical music station, via public broadcasting, and on late Sunday afternoons, a wonderful program comes on.  It highlights young classical musicians from all walks of life.  They sheepishly talk about their influences, inspiration for the piece they are presenting (sometimes written by themselves), while sharing their culture and challenges. The host […]

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Jim & Greg cheer on the Supreme Court decision that voucher programs must include religious schools if they include private schools. They also slam President Biden over his suggestion that high energy prices are getting us closer to his green energy agenda goals. And they condemn Missouri GOP Senate candidate and former governor Eric Greitens crazy RINO hunting ad.


The Democrats Are a Threat to Our Constitution


Biden set up a committee to consider court-packing. A new more sinister form of it emerged in the last week with the threat to murder Justice Kavanaugh.

Other Supreme Court justices have been threatened and the Biden administration has said nothing about it. The Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer threatened Kavanaugh and his colleagues said nothing. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has blocked a bill to provide security for Supreme Court justices.