Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More on Supreme Court cases, Clarence Thomas' book...

Articles for this week's 'toon:
  • The Supreme Court reconvened last Monday, for what will most likely be another ugly term. You may recall, the most contentious cases from the last term were Parents Involved (public school integration), the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case (free speech), Ledbetter (pay discrimination based on gender), and Gonzales v. Carhart (abortion; see previous cartoon), the last two of which moved Justice Ginsburg to read her dissents aloud from the bench. Justice Breyer has accused the Roberts Court's conservative bloc of flouting stare decisis, and Arlen Specter claims there's going to be a Senate investigation of the decisions and of Roberts' and Alito's answers during their confirmation hearings.

    The upcoming docket should be a real doozy, though. The court will be answering questions on, among other issues, the Military Commissions Act (whether federal courts have jurisdiction over habeas corpus petitions filed by Guantanamo detainees) and capital punishment (whether common lethal injection is "cruel and unusual" under the Eighth Amendment). Needless to say, stay tuned...

  • So Clarence Thomas has released his memoirs. Reportedly, within these pages he rehashes his infamous claims of racism in his 1991 confirmation hearings, compares himself to Tom Robinson from To Kill A Mockingbird, and comes off as extraordinarily bitter and slightly deranged (which is always good from a Supreme Court justice).

    Of course, among the first stops on his promotional tour was Sean Hannity's show (on the network owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns the book publisher that gave Thomas a $1.5 million advance for his work) and a visit with his good buddy Rush Limbaugh (whose third marriage, which has already ended in divorce, was officiated by Thomas). So much for a sitting justice avoiding the "appearance of impropriety."

  • The always tactful Justice Scalia on Bush v. Gore back in January:
    "It's water over the deck — get over it."

    Meanwhile, Jeffrey Toobin reveals that Justice Souter seriously considered resigning after the decision was handed down.

  • The last square was a reference to the situation with renowned legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, who was hired to be the dean of the new law school at UC Irvine, then fired for being "too politically controversial" (specifically, he wrote an op-ed criticizing Alberto Gonzales, although he's well-known for his commentary from the left), then rehired. I included this in the cartoon mainly to compare and contrast Chemerinsky's supposedly "controversial" actions with the behavior of the above justices.

Something occurred to me this week about doing caricatures of Supreme Court justices. Politicians may come and go... I'll probably have to stop talking about Bush and Cheney someday. But I can keep making fun of Scalia and Thomas FOREVER.


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