President Trump is preparing to nominate someone to the US Supreme Court, presumably creating an opportunity for confirmation hearings to ventilate competing views of the judicial role. I have a draft paper that discusses one aspect of a judge’s duty: the federal judicial oath to do “equal right to the poor and to the rich.” It turns out that several of the reported front-runners have commented on this oath. Here, I’ll explore some interesting albeit brief published comments by the most recent figure to float to the top: Judge Neil Gorsuch of the Tenth Circuit.
Last Wednesday, the Court issued an opinion in Lightfoot v. Cendant Mortgage Corp.—a case about federal jurisdiction that serves as a useful illustration of a distinctive way of using and modifying precedent: narrowing. Lightfoot is also interesting in raising the possibility that narrowing jurisdictional precedents might be a special undertaking that ought to be governed by distinctive principles.
“At a time when almost every other federal court has a readily accessible electronic database, why can’t the Supreme Court?”
That was how I ended a post from August 2014. By then, it was already long past time for the Supreme Court to develop something like the PACER electronic docket system that has operated for many years in the lower federal courts.
With governmental surveillance becoming ever more ubiquitous, detailed, and automated, it’s become possible to imagine a regime of perfect surveillance, or an essentially boundless ability to detect crimes. Of course, perfect surveillance is now and may always remain hypothetical. But the prospect of digital panopticism is salient enough to appear in debates about real-life problems, and thinking about the extreme case of surveillance perfection might be a useful way of illuminating features of our more mundane reality. So the question arises: How might perfect surveillance alter our world?
Longtime readers may be interested in my recent essay on SCOTUS Repeaters, or cases that the US Supreme Court hears more than once. Here’s how my essay starts:
It’s every academic blogger’s dream to prompt an empirical study. Well, maybe not. But it was my dream, and Jason Iuliano and Ya Sheng Lin have made it a reality.
UCLA Law recently created some exciting opportunities, and I already know from conversations that at least some blog readers will want to know about them.
First, there are now two new programs offering full tuition scholarships to students. Information is here.
Second, there is an opening for a Director of the school’s new Criminal Justice Program, as described here.
If you’ve read this far, please feel free to reach out with questions!