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  • Retired Justice John Paul Stevens is taking aim at the Supreme Court's recent 5-4 decision to eliminate the limit on a person's aggregate expenditures to political candidates and committees in an election cycle. "The voter is less important than the man who provides money to the candidate," he told the New York Times, criticizing what he views as the premise of Chief Justice John Roberts' controlling opinion. "It's really wrong."
  • In an interview with George Stephanopoulos airing today on “This Week,” retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens revealed that he believes it is appropriate for justices to take “politics” into account in deciding when to retire. “I think so… It’s an appropriate thing to think about your successor, not only in this job,” Stevens said on whether to take into account which president will choose a successor. “I’m just finishing the book by former Secretary [of Defense Robert] Gates. He thought a lot about his successor, too. If you’re interested in the job and in the kind of work that’s done, you have to have an interest in who’s going to fill your shoes.”
  • Just add five words, says former justice John Paul Stevens.
  • Last month’s Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby case raised a number of interesting questions about the Affordable Care Act, contraception, corporations, and the Supreme Court. But it is also notable for a specific question asked by Antonin Scalia. No, not whether certain forms of contraception were “terribly expensive stuff,” as memorable as that question is. But for the comment that preceded that question—that the only forms of birth control that Hobby Lobby didn’t want to cover were abortifacients.
  • Chief Justice John Roberts begins his opinion in McCutcheon v. FEC with a flourish: “[t]here is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders.” He then spends the next forty pages explaining why that participation includes the right of rich people to attempt to buy elections. Thanks to the decision Roberts and his four fellow conservative justices handed down today (Though Thomas did not join Roberts’ opinion, he wrote a more radical opinion calling for all limits on campaign donations to be eviscerated), wealthy donors now have a broad new power to launder money to political candidates — they just have to be a bit creative about how they do it.
  • As of this Saturday, February 22nd, eight years will have passed since Clarence Thomas last asked a question during a Supreme Court oral argument. His behavior on the bench has gone from curious to bizarre to downright embarrassing, for himself and for the institution he represents. This point was especially apparent on January 13th, when the Court considered the case of National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, which raises important questions about the President’s ability to fill vacancies when the Senate is in recess. It was a superb argument—highly skilled lawyers engaging with eight inquisitive judges. The case also offered a kind of primer on the state of the Court in action, with Thomas’s colleagues best viewed in pairs.
  • Arizona is likely to give many business sweeping new rights to discriminate against LGBT people. Yet, by calling attention to the link anti-gay groups hope to forge between “religious liberty” and a right to anti-gay discrimination, this bill could unintentionally wind up advancing the cause of women’s health and potentially even rescue LGBT people from similar efforts to protect discrimination in the future. Or, to be more precise, it could have that effect if Justice Anthony Kennedy is paying attention to what’s going on in Arizona.
  • For the fourth time in three months, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia helped forward marriage equality in a state that had banned it, with his work cited by the federal judge invalidating Virginia's ban on same-sex nuptials. Following her predecessors in Utah, Ohio and Kentucky, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen name-checked Scalia and his dissent from last year's Supreme Court decision striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in her decision Thursday to overturn Virginia's ban on gay marriage.
  • Last summer, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision equalizing the treatment of all married couples under federal law. But it opted not to address the more fundamental question in a related case: whether gay and straight couples are entitled to equal protection on the state level, where marriage law is made. That extraordinary dodge was seen by some experts as a disingenuous way of seeking a middle ground in the rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and California's ban on same-sex marriage. Dissenting Justice Antonin Scalia fumed that it amounted to "legalistic argle-bargle.
  • Like most sitting Supreme Court justices, Sonia Sotomayor is circumspect when talking about the court; but she has written intimately about her personal life — more so than is customary for a Supreme Court justice. "When I was nominated by the president for this position, it became very clear to me that many people in the public were interested in my life and the challenges I had faced," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "... And I also realized that much of the public perception of who I was and what had happened to me was not quite complete."
  • The Supreme Court on Monday put same-sex marriages on hold in Utah, at least while a federal appeals court more fully considers the issue. The court issued a brief order blocking any new same-sex unions in the state.
  • Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday temporarily blocked the Obama administration from forcing some religious-affiliated groups to provide health insurance coverage of birth control or face penalties as part of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Dark money, voter suppression, and a widening gap between the rich and poor threaten our democracy.
  • Justice Alito has also had several years on the Supreme Court to demonstrate his commitment to abolishing discrimination against women and racial minorities. What he's shown instead is a desire to roll back anti-discrimination law, even while he rails against discrimination against white people.
  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made history last month when she presided over the first gay marriage inside the U.S. Supreme Court. But her role in the event wasn't simply as the officiant.One of the men who got married that day gave TPM the first look behind the scenes of the wedding. He said Ginsburg was hands-on from the moment she agreed to perform the ceremony. She even helped the couple write their vows."There was a lot of back and forth with her about the vows by email," Ralph Pellecchio told TPM on Tuesday. "You could see by virtue of that that it was very meaningful to her."
  • Child labor laws hurt children. Social Security is an anchor dragging down economic growth, and Medicare should be abolished. Those are the lessons I learn in a room full of conservative lawyers snacking on lamb sausage and Gorgonzola fondue — a room that’s absolutely packed with top practitioners, right-wing intellectuals and judges. I walked into the room alongside a Texas Supreme Court justice. When I reach to ladle some of the fondue onto a plate full of croutons, my hand accidentally brushes the arm of a federal court of appeals judge.
  • A lot of headlines can be found in Jennifer Senior’s remarkable interview with Justice Antonin Scalia — the fact that Scalia almost exclusively reads conservative media, his belief in the Devil, his squeamishness about the fact that Hollywood depicts “ladies” saying the “F-word.” The interview paints Scalia as an anachronism even among anachronisms. He’s Archie Bunker in a less comfy chair.
  • Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made an appearance at the Lanier Theological Library in Houston, Texas on Friday, where he claimed that the success of capitalism was deeply tied to the nation's religious values.
  • “I didn’t want to be right,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says about her prediction that striking a key prong of the Voting Rights Act will lead to a wave of minority voter suppression, “but sadly I am.” In an interview with the Associated Press’ Mark Sherman, Ginsburg reiterated one of the core points of her dissent from the five Republican justices’ voting rights decision — “The notion that because the Voting Rights Act had been so tremendously effective we had to stop it didn’t make any sense to me,” Ginsburg said. “And one really could have predicted what was going to happen” once the law was struck down.
  • The recent leaks about government spying programs have focused attention on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and its role in deciding how intrusive the government can be in the name of national security. Less mentioned has been the person who has been quietly reshaping the secret court: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.