Marbury v. Madison

Precedent, Probity, And Impeachment

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The US Constitution explicitly outlines the causes and procedures for impeachment of the President and other ministers of the US government, e.g., Supreme Court Justices.  These are the so-called “impeachment clauses”. (Other parts of the Constitution deal with impeachment, but this is the most relevant for present purposes). Prof. Alan Dershowitz, despite being unfairly perceived as being contaminated through association with Fox News, has performed a valuable service, especially in books like Trumped Up:  How the Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy, by urgently advising against the weaponization of political differences, and even free speech, as tools to further purely political ends. As anyone knows who has followed my “Skeptic’s Collection” columns over th
Am I Really Gonna Have To Write About This Yet Again … ?

Am I Really Gonna Have To Write About This Yet Again … ?

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… but I suppose the answer is “Yes, I will have to write on this subject again, just as I have before.” This time around, I am writing in response to what Patheos rather breathlessly describes as a "constitutional horror":  Justice Thomas' assertion that, the "establishment" clause notwithstanding, States still have the right to designate certain religious / denominations as "official". As usual, and as is customary with all matters religious when people are given a breadth of audience that far exceeds their depth of knowledge, the hysteria is altogether overblown and unnecessary, due to an absence of working knowledge about the history of the subject – in this case, the interpretation of the “establishment” clause of the First Amendment. The whole point of what follows is a matter
Meditating “Marbury”

Meditating “Marbury”

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I invite my fellow progressives / leftists to please feel free to vote me off the Island for saying the following, but ... in the interest of fairness, it should be said that acting AG Matthew Whitaker is right in a certain sense about Marbury v. Madison. To be sure, Matthew Whitaker is indeed a crackpot, and his own utterances, both written and spoken, amply justify that description. But let's be fair to broken clocks: even they are right twice a day. (The full text of Marbury can be found here; a very literate, enlightening, and even-handed summary, here.) The Constitution’s Article III is rather ambiguous, not about the scope of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction, but about how “hard-coded” that original jurisdiction is in the Constitution. There are two questions at issue.