Category Archives: Legal

Black Thought Nails Supreme Court Prediction

I am obviously not back on a regular basis, but I will engage in a little self-celebration at getting the first Supreme Court nominee prediction pick head on.

On November 22, 2008, I predicted Sotomayor would be the first Supreme Court nominee . . . and . . . well . . . she is:

Alright folks, I really have no idea how it will go down, but these are my predictions of the order of the nominations selected from the top ten prospects as listed by Salon.
I have no real additional insight into the picks and order aside from my gut feeling.

Nonetheless, here are my picks in order of their future nomination.

Nomination Pick #1

Sonia Sotomayor, 54 — After growing up in a Bronx housing project, Sotomayor has risen to become a judge on one of the most powerful courts in the land: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. As a Hispanic woman, Sotomayor would make an attractive candidate if Obama is looking to diversify the court. There has never been a Hispanic on the Supreme Court, and there is only one woman currently on the bench, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Sotomayor might also have bipartisan appeal. She is politically moderate, and President George H.W. Bush appointed her to her first judgeship.

Obama’s first appointment should rightly be a woman, seeing as they are more than 50% of the population and have one representative on the bench. I believe she will be the first appointment because she is an uncontroversial slightly liberal woman, and would be the first latino to boot. (link)

My prediction was that the second nominee would be Cass Sunstein. We’ll see how how I do in round #2.

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Filed under Civil Liberties, Legal, Obama, Obama Advice, The Civil Rights Movement

Talib Kweli Has No Street Cred

Did you know his brother CLERKED FOR THE SUPREME COURT! This guy has no street credibility.

His younger brother, Jamal Greene, a Professor at Columbia Law School, graduated from Yale Law School and served as a law clerk on the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice John Paul Stevens during the 2006 Term. (link)

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Filed under Legal

A Word To The Wise . . .

Don’t go to law school, don’t become a lawyer.  Just say no.

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Filed under Legal, Quotes to Ponder

Black Thought’s Supreme Court Predictions

Alright folks, I really have no idea how it will go down, but these are my predictions of the order of the nominations selected from the top ten prospects as listed by Salon.
I have no real additional insight into the picks and order aside from my gut feeling.

Nonetheless, here are my picks in order of their future nomination.

Nomination Pick #1

Sonia Sotomayor, 54 — After growing up in a Bronx housing project, Sotomayor has risen to become a judge on one of the most powerful courts in the land: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. As a Hispanic woman, Sotomayor would make an attractive candidate if Obama is looking to diversify the court. There has never been a Hispanic on the Supreme Court, and there is only one woman currently on the bench, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Sotomayor might also have bipartisan appeal. She is politically moderate, and President George H.W. Bush appointed her to her first judgeship. (link)

Obama’s first appointment should rightly be a woman, seeing as they are more than 50% of the population and have one representative on the bench. I believe she will be the first appointment because she is an uncontroversial slightly liberal woman, and would be the first latino to boot.

Nomination Pick #2


Cass Sunstein, 54 — A preeminent and prolific law scholar and an advisor to Obama’s presidential campaign, Sunstein was a colleague of Obama’s at the University of Chicago and now teaches at Harvard Law School. Sunstein has decried the Supreme Court’s more conservative justices, including Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. He calls them judicial fundamentalists who have advocated “earthquake-like” changes in the law. Sunstein argues for a minimalist approach to jurisprudence. He believes justices’ decisions should be narrowly tailored to the case at hand and should lean heavily on precedent. Sunstein has said minimalists believe “the Supreme Court is not our national policy maker.” (link)

Obam loves this guy and he’s unmatched in expertise on just about everything (also currently an advisor to the Obama campaign). He is a firm and compelling answer to Roberts. He is not very liberal but will certainly side with liberals most of the time, and write compelling well reasoned decisions. He is also a personal friend of Obama’s, and about to marry Samantha Power, an advisor and friend of Obama’s (who called Clinton a monster)
Nomination Pick #3

Harold Hongju Koh, 53 — The dean of Yale Law School is a Korean-American and an expert on international law and human rights. From 1998 to 2001, he served as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor under President Clinton. He also worked in the Department of Justice. Koh is considered a staunch liberal. He has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. He said in an interview with the Yale newspaper that gay rights are especially important to him. Koh also served as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun. (link)

or

Elena Kagan, 48 — Few names have been floated as often as a potential Obama nominee as Kagan, the dean of the Harvard Law School — Obama’s alma mater. Like Obama, she also taught at the University of Chicago. Kagan served in Clinton’s White House as an associate counsel and domestic policy advisor. Clinton nominated her for a position on the prestigious U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, but Republicans stalled her approval. Kagan clerked for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (link)

I lean heavily towards Koh. The choice will depend on how the issue of gender is playing out. I think Obama would prefer to add an expert in international law (i.e. Koh), in order to bring this jurisprudence into the Supreme Court’s decisions. I think he would also like to appoint the first Asian-American to the bench. However, the legitimate need to right the gender imbalance, and Hillary’s previous identity politic war between race and gender, may make Kagan the pick. Although Koh is even more likely after her nomination to Secretary of State.

Nomination Pick #4

Deval Patrick, 52 — As the first African-American governor of Massachusetts and a friend of Barack Obama’s, Patrick is often mentioned as a potential Supreme Court nominee. Patrick would bring something that is in short supply on the court: executive experience. But he would also bring a major risk: He has never served in the judiciary. Despite that gap in his résumé, he has some background in the law. Before he was governor, Patrick was a lawyer and President Clinton appointed him the assistant attorney general for civil rights in 1994 — the nation’s highest civil rights position. Patrick is solidly liberal and supports a number of positions, such as same-sex marriage, that could make him a target for Republicans during the confirmation process.

Let’s face it, if Obama gets a second term he’s nominating Patrick, cause that’s his boy. There’s also a moral or strategic goal of taking away Thomas’ judicial monopoly on speaking on issues of blackness from the highest court.
Patrick will be more likely to accept after finishing a term or two as the first black governor of MA. Also, Obama trusts him, shares many views with him, and would leave him as his remaining legacy.

These are my four prediction picks, and my predicted order.

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Filed under Domestic Politics, Legal, Obama

Connecticut Supreme Court: State Constitution Does Not Support Prohibition On Gay Marriage

ACLU Blog: Connecticut Supreme Court holds illegal to prevent same-sex couples from marrying. The court held:

Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay people are entitled to marry… To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others.

A great decision, and it includes a great straightforward take away in the above quote.

I fully support the decision and the advancement of gay rights – but I ask why does it always seem state supreme courts make these decisions week before national election years – is it just me?

Anyways justice is justice, albeit ill-timed ; ).

Here’s another great takeaway from the decision:

We recognize, as the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court did in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, supra, 440 Mass. 309, that ‘‘our decision marks a change in the history of our marriage law. Many people hold deep-seated religious, moral, and ethical convictions that marriage should be limited to the union of one man and one woman, and that homosexual conduct is immoral.
Many hold equally strong religious, moral, and ethical convictions that same-sex couples are entitled to be married, and that homosexual persons should be treated no differently than their heterosexual neighbors. Neither view answers the question before [the court]. Our concern is with [our state] [c]onstitution as a charter of governance for every person properly within its reach.’’ Id., 312.

You can read the full decision here.

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Filed under Fixing History, Gay Rights, Legal