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Truth and Nonsense in Supreme Court Coverage

A couple of articles on the US Supreme Court are worth noting today.  Tony Mauro has this article at NLJ headlined, "Court rules for 'little guys' over corporations in two business cases." (Good to see Mauro's work out from behind the paywall for a change.) Corporations lost both of yesterday's civil cases, refuting the notion that the current Supreme Court reflexively supports the business position every time.  Chief Justice Roberts promised at his confirmation that he would not vote according to "big guy" versus "little guy" but according to whose position he concludes is the legally correct one, and that is what we have.

In sharp contrast, the NYT Magazine last weekend published this hit piece against Justice Alito by Emily Bazelon.  She claims that Alito simply votes for the conservative result.  But of course he doesn't, as yesterday's cases illustrate.  Justice Alito voted against the corporations in both cases.

Bazelon complains that Justice Alito does not vote for criminal defendants often enough.  But he does vote for them when they are right.  Just two weeks ago, he wrote the opinion in favor of the habeas petitioner in Wall v. Kholi, extending the time to file a federal habeas petition.  If he votes for the criminal defendant "only" 17% of the time, as Bazelon says, that is probably about the percentage of the time the defense position is correct.

Bazelon contends that Justice Alito votes based on "empathy" and that he reserves that empathy for persons like himself.  Nonsense.  Kholi repeatedly molested his very young stepdaughters over many years.  See 672 A.2d 429.  Even the hardest-core defense lawyers would have difficulty mustering empathy for this reprobate.  The decision is based on a correct reading of the statute, let the chips fall where they may.  And that is exactly what judges are supposed to do.


Truman Capote law-and-media fellow at Yale Law School.

Well, that explains it!

Whoops! Bazelon is the Truman Capote law-and-media fellow at Yale Law School.

I have no excuse for my omission since I am not a Truman Capote [snicker]fellow.

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