Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Jeffrey Toobin: "How John Roberts Orchestrated Citizens United" @! The New Yorker

... The Justices settled into their usual positions. The diminutive Ruth Bader Ginsburg was barely visible above the bench. Stephen Breyer was twitchy, his expressions changing based on whether or not he agreed with the lawyer’s answers. As ever, Clarence Thomas was silent. (He was in year three of his now six-year streak of not asking questions.)

Then Antonin Scalia spoke up. More than anyone, Scalia was responsible for transforming the dynamics of oral arguments at the Supreme Court. When Scalia became a Justice, in 1986, the Court sessions were often somnolent affairs, but his rapid-fire questioning spurred his colleagues to try to keep pace, and, as Roberts said, in a tribute to Scalia on his twenty-fifth anniversary as a Justice, “the place hasn’t been the same since.” Alternately witty and fierce, Scalia invariably made clear where he stood.

He had long detested campaign-spending restrictions, frequently voting to invalidate such statutes as violations of the First Amendment. For this reason, it seemed, Scalia was disappointed by the limited nature of Olson’s claim.

“So you’re making a statutory argument now?” Scalia said. ...

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