Supreme Court

  • Stephen Breyer's Delusions of an Apolitical Court

    by Ryan D. Doerfler and Samuel Moyn

    In his much-discussed book, Justice Stephen Breyer comes close to acknowledging that the Supreme Court is a political institution, but ultimately declares that's it's more important to preserve the noble lie that the court is above politics. 

  • A Century-Long "Reign of Error" for SCOTUS Typo

    by Adam Liptak

    A typo placed in a preliminary slip opinion was formally corrected, but has been cited at least 14 times in cases concerning property rights, highlighting the problem that the Court's corrections often receive less attention than their announcements. 

  • Group of Historians Recognized for Best SCOTUS Brief of the Year

    by Ronald A. Smith

    A group of six historians has been recognized by the Education Law Association for the best Supreme Court brief of the year. Their historical deconstruction of the myth of amateurism in college athletics influenced a unanimous decision that the NCAA cannot bar college athletes from profiting from the commercial use of their names, images, or likenesses.

  • Can Affirmative Action Survive the Supreme Court?

    by Nicholas Lemann

    The moderate Republican appointee has always served as the Justice to protect modest versions of affirmative action. What will happen in a pending case now that such Justices are gone from the court? The historical trajectory of supposedly meritocratic admissions offers clues.

  • Why Let the Supreme Court Dominate Democracy?

    by Nikolas Bowie

    Liberals have been conditioned to look to the Supreme Court of Brown v. Board of Education as a protector of democracy. What if the court's dominant historical legacy is the body of decisions that enabled the rise of Jim Crow in the first place? 

  • Undoing the Voting Rights Act

    by Steve Suitts

    Samuel Alito ventured far from the legislative intent of Congress's 1982 update to the Voting Rights act, making it much more difficult to challenge restrictive state voting laws. 

  • How Democrats Lost the Courts

    "Some Democrats are starting to suspect that the story is simpler: They’ve been chumps. They have clung to norms Republicans long ago abandoned. They have championed moderates in order to appeal to their enemies, only to watch those moderates twist in the wind."

  • Supreme Court Rejects Sentence Reductions for Minor Crack Offenses

    Justices disagreed about what lessons to draw from the history of the 1986 Crime Bill that created the sentencing disparity for crack cocaine offenses. Does the fact that some Black organizations at the time supported the law excuse its racist impact? 

  • A Supreme Court Case Poses a Threat to L.G.B.T.Q. Foster Kids

    by Stephen Vider and David S. Byers

    State and local social service agencies for decades have been actively working to protect the safety and dignity of queer youth in the foster care system. A Supreme Court case threatens that progress in the name of "religious freedom." 

  • The Importance of Teaching Dred Scott

    A social media discussion among constitutional law professors has proposed minimizing the discussion of the racist language of the notorious Dred Scott decision. Does this do violence to historical understanding of the longstanding accommodation of the constitution to racism? 

  • Plessy v. Ferguson at 125

    Harvard Law School Professor Kenneth Mack explains what the shameful decision meant, and why it still matters in 2021.