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Supreme Court

The Takeaway

Sotomayor: Grilling the 'Wise Latina'

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Yesterday was the first day of Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings. Today the senators will get their chance to challenge the nominee on her rulings, speeches, and judicial philosophy. The Takeaway's Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich joins us with a look at the highlights.

If you missed Sonia Sotomayor's opening statement, here it is:

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The Takeaway

A Sherpa's View: Surviving the Congressional Hearings

Monday, July 13, 2009

As Judge Sonia Sotomayor takes the stand at the confirmation hearings this week, there's a lot of behind-the-scenes prepping. A "Sherpa"--named after local mountain guides who take foreign explorers up the Himalayas -- helps to guide Supreme Court nominees to the summit of gaining Senate confirmation. Joining The Takeaway is Jamie Brown, the Sherpa behind the confirmation of the last two successful Supreme Court nominations, Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts. She was also formerly a legislative affairs aid for the White House under President George W. Bush.

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The Takeaway

Judging Against Sonia Sotomayor

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Takeaway talks to Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz. He’s a professor of law at Georgetown University –and he’s a testifying against Judge Sonia Sotomayor at the Senate confirmation hearings this week.

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The Takeaway

Geting to Know Sotomayor

Monday, July 13, 2009

Today the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor begin. To find out more about the nominee, we talk to Margarita Rosa, the Executive Director of Grand Street Settlement in New York who first met Sonia Sotomayor when they were undergrads at Princeton. We are also joined by Ellen Chapnick, Dean of the Social Justice Program at Columbia Law School and a Lecturer–in-Law. She co-taught a class with Sonia Sotomayor and has known her since the late 1990’s.

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The Takeaway

A Preview of Sotomayor's Confirmation Hearings

Monday, July 13, 2009

Today the Senate Judiciary Committee kicks off confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor. She is President Obama's first appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, and if she is confirmed she will make history as the first Hispanic on the high court. Joining us for a preview of the confirmation process is Dahlia Lithwick. She is the senior legal correspondent for Slate and joins us from Washington, DC.

"There's not much on the record that's going to hurt her. She really is, like it or not, a pretty pedestrian moderate, technical, mainstream, fairly moderate liberal judge. She's basically David Souter."
—Dahlia Lithwick, senior legal correspondent for Slate, on Sonia Sotomayor

For more on Sonia Sotomayor, watch the video below.

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The Takeaway

Sotomayor's Senate Confirmation Hearings Begin

Monday, July 13, 2009

Today is opening day of Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. The Takeaway talks to Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich on what to expect. (Todd will tweet live from the hearings, so follow them on TheTakeaway's Twitter feed.)

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The Takeaway

White Firefighters: Race, Affirmative Action and the Court

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday in favor of a group of white firefighters in New Haven, Connecticut, saying they had been discriminated against. The ruling could have implications for President Obama's Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Joining The Takeaway to talk about the possible repercussions and the philosophy behind this Supreme Court ruling is Jeffrey Rosen. He is a law professor at Georgetown University and writes for The New York Times Magazine.

For a more detailed look at the New Haven firehouse watch the video below.

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda with Marcus Mabry and Jonathan Marcus

Monday, June 29, 2009

In this week's agenda segment: U.S. troops pull out of key Iraqi towns and cities, Bernie Madoff is sentenced to prison, the Supreme Court holds its last session before break and monthly unemployment numbers are out. For analysis, The Takeaway talks to Marcus Mabry, International Business Editor of The New York Times and Jonathan Marcus, Diplomatic Correspondent for the BBC.

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The Takeaway

The President's Summer To-Do List

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

President Obama's press conference yesterday touched on a lot of issues facing the nation. To help recap the highlights of the speech and forecast what challenges the President will face in the coming months we turn to The Takeaway's Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich and Julie Mason, White House correspondent for the Washington Examiner.

In case you missed the speech, here it is:

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The Takeaway

With a Narrow Ruling, the Voting Rights Act Survives

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an 8 to 1 ruling yesterday to exempt a small Texas town from government oversight of their voting process. In a case that could have gutted the key provisions of the historic Voting Rights Act, the law designed to prevent racial discrimination at the polls, the Justices instead issued a very narrow exemption. The Takeaway looks at whether Chief Justice John Roberts is maneuvering in order to build bigger majorities and avoid 5-4 decisions. To help answer that question and to discuss the ruling we turn to Nate Persily, professor of law and political science at Columbia University.

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda with Marcus Mabry and Jonathan Marcus

Monday, June 22, 2009

Iran again tops this week's agenda and our guides Marcus Mabry, international business editor for the New York Times and Jonathan Marcus, diplomatic correspondent for the BBC, will take a look at the protests surrounding the disputed presidential election. Also on the agenda this week: the latest news from Capitol Hill; the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the Voting Rights Act, and the trial of singer Chris Brown for the alleged assault against pop star Rhianna starts this week. We've got all the news you'll need to keep your eyes on in the week ahead.

"In the absence of permanent correspondence...it's going to be much much harder to get a barometer, get a gauge, on the significance of events on the ground there."
— BBC's Jonathan Marcus on getting news from Iran

If you haven't seen the video of Neda, the young woman killed in Iran, here it is. CAUTION: It has very graphic content:

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The Takeaway

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that post-conviction DNA testing is not a Constitutional right for convicted criminals. So far, post-conviction DNA testing has exonerated at least 232 people nationwide. The ruling came on an appeals case by William Osborne, who was convicted for the 1993 rape, kidnapping and assault of a prostitute in Alaska. The Innocence Project, a group of attorneys who help prisoners obtain DNA testing, has been defending him for seven years. Nina Morrison is a staff attorney at the Innocence Project has been working on his case and joins us today.

"No matter how guilty somebody looks, there's no substitute for doing a DNA test which can prove it either way. And we were hoping the Supreme Court would agree."
— Nina Morrison of the Innocence Project on the right to DNA testing

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The Takeaway

Don't Ask, Don't Tell — Except in Britain

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that it will not review the Pentagon's controversial "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy, which requires U.S. service members to keep their sexual orientation under wraps. In 2000, the UK armed forces integrated gay and lesbian service members nearly overnight with some surprising results. The Takeaway talks to Retired Lieutenant Commander Craig Jones of the British Royal Navy. He was a fierce advocate of British military integration.

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The Takeaway

Car Troubles: Court Blocks Chrysler Sale To Fiat

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Thanks to the protest of a group of Indiana-based debt holders, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on the deal to sell Chrysler to Italian carmaker Fiat. The stay of proceedings allows the Court to consider whether to hear the objections of three Indiana state funds and consumer groups. Many industry watchers saw this deal as Chrysler's best chance to avoid liquidation. Joining us to look at how the Court will proceed — and if this will force Chrysler to fold— is Michael de la Merced, business reporter with our partner, The New York Times.

For more, read Michael de la Merced's article, Supreme Court Delays Sale of Chrysler to Fiat, in the New York Times.

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The Takeaway

Paying for Justice? How We Elect Judges

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that judges must recuse themselves from ruling on cases that involve individuals who have spent money to help put the judge on the bench. It sounds like a fairly straightforward ruling. But the decision raises larger questions of just how we elect and appoint judges in this country. For a look at the tricky process of electing judges, The Takeaway talks to Adam Liptak, Supreme Court Correspondent for our partners The New York Times, and to Tom Phillips, a lawyer with Baker Botts in Austin, Texas, who served as the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court from 1988 to 2004.

"Whenever you treat a judge the same way you treat other officials that have a different position in office, you tend to confuse within the public's mind, and perhaps even in the judge's mind, the very different roles that different officers in the government perform."
— Attorney Tom Phillips on reforms in appointing judges

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The Takeaway

[Web Special] Not Ready to Make Nice? Sotomayor and the Senate

Friday, June 05, 2009

The morning started out so nicely.

Judge Sonya Sotomayor visited Wednesday morning with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). With television cameras rolling and microphones open, Whitehouse let President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court know that he, too, loves baseball. (She's credited with ending the sport's strike in 1995.)

Then it was on to visit with Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.). She informed Sotomayor, that, she, too, loved Nancy Drew novels.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican Judiciary Committee member from South Carolina, sat next to the judge on his office sofa. “We’re talking about the cost of living in New York. I told her she needs to move to South Carolina,” Graham announced to the assembled press.

Then, the niceness died. ... (continue reading)

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The Takeaway

Sotomayor, Visiting the (Capitol) Hill

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Judge Sonya Sotomayor started her courtesy calls to Capitol Hill as a Supreme Court nominee. Sotomayor met with key senators, while harsh criticism continued on cable TV about her past statements and rulings. The Takeaway talks to Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich, who followed Sotomayor on the Hill.

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The Takeaway

Affirmative Action May Take Center (Supreme) Court

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Supreme Court confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor may not center on the issue that has dominated the process for the last two decades: abortion. What may take its place is a debate over affirmative action. The Takeaway is joined by Christopher Caldwell, a TIME magazine contributor and Senior Editor of The Weekly Standard. His article, The Limits of Empathy for Sonia Sotomayor, on the Supreme Court fight can be can be found in the current issue of TIME.

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The Takeaway

No Sympathy For "Empathy"

Friday, May 29, 2009

A week is a long time in the politics of a word. And the word that defined the new Supreme Court nominee for Republicans– empathy– has taken on a rapidly different meaning from the one intended by President Obama when he set forth the criteria for the nominee earlier this month. Now Obama seems to have dropped the word, opting for explanations that can't easily pop up on cable talk shows. The Takeaway talks to language columnist Barbara Wallraff to look at the true meaning of the word and its rapid evolution in Washington.

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The Takeaway

What Does Supreme Court Diversity Mean?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Of the 110 U.S. Supreme Court justices in history, only eleven have been Catholic. But if Judge Sonia Sotomayor is confirmed as the newest member on the bench, there will be six Catholic judges on the bench at once. That begs the question: What does diversity on the Supreme Court mean? Is it about race, religion, or gender? Or should it be about something bigger? The Takeaway talks to Nadine Strossen, the former President of the ACLU who is currently a professor at New York Law School. Also joining the conversation is John Allen, the senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.

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