If I had to describe the major theme of the October 2007 term, it would be the court as a minimalist court with no surprises. There were no major revolutions this term. Even the big cases were narrow and interstitial. The court mostly took baby steps. It may not seem that way this week, with big cases like Boumediene , Heller , and Kennedy v. Louisiana . But step back a bit. Even these big cases were actually really narrow. Boumediene went where the court very strongly hinted it was going in Rasul v. Bush back in 2004: The court's reasoning was limited to the few hundred detainees at Guantanamo Bay and did not order anyone's release. Kennedy v. Louisiana filled in a detail hinted at in Coker v. Georgia . The court's opinion deals only with child-rape capital cases, of which Kennedy's own case was (as far as I know) the only conviction. And Heller establishes an individual right without answering the degree of scrutiny or incorporation, and while indicating that traditional gun-control laws are all constitutional. This isn't to say that there were no important cases this term. But on a historical scale, the 2007 term is revealing a minimalist court: It intervenes rarely, doesn't say much when it speaks, and leaves most battles for another day.
TODAY IN SLATE
Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case
The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race
How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster
The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented
Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada
You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney
Or at least trade it for something.
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- Police Use Tear Gas to Break Up College Pumpkin Festival Turned Violent
- Racist Rancher Cliven Bundy Challenges Eric Holder in Bizarre Campaign Ad
- Supreme Court Allows Texas Law That Accepts Handgun Permits but not College IDs to Vote
An All-Female Mission to Mars
As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.