Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism—February 8

Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh (Doug Mills/Pool via Reuters)

2016—By a vote of six to four (in Wesby v. District of Columbia), the D.C. Circuit denies en banc rehearing of a rogue panel decision authored by Judge Cornelia Pillard. As Judge Brett Kavanaugh objects in his lengthy dissent from the denial, the panel ruling subjects two police officers to liability for nearly one million dollars for “arresting for trespassing a group of people who were partying late at night with drugs and strippers in a vacant house that the partiers did not own or rent.” Kavanaugh argues both that the police officers had probable cause to make the arrests and that the panel’s holding that they were not entitled to qualified immunity “contravenes … emphatic Supreme Court directives.”

Nearly two years later, without any dissent, the Supreme Court will embrace Kavanaugh’s positions and reverse the panel ruling.

Most Popular

Media

‘Undiagnosed Sociopath’

As we abandon moral language for clinical language, we run into technical difficulties. Writing in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman describes the 2020 presidential election as one that may be a contest between “a self-proclaimed socialist and an undiagnosed sociopath.” There is no such thing as an ... Read More
Media

‘Undiagnosed Sociopath’

As we abandon moral language for clinical language, we run into technical difficulties. Writing in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman describes the 2020 presidential election as one that may be a contest between “a self-proclaimed socialist and an undiagnosed sociopath.” There is no such thing as an ... Read More
Elections

Bernie Sanders Is a Moral Monster

Bernie Sanders complains that some criticism of the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro is “unfair.” The Castro government lined up political dissidents and shot them. It tortured them. It weaponized the medical profession to torture and deform its critics. Its campaign of murder was extraordinary, its ... Read More
Elections

Bernie Sanders Is a Moral Monster

Bernie Sanders complains that some criticism of the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro is “unfair.” The Castro government lined up political dissidents and shot them. It tortured them. It weaponized the medical profession to torture and deform its critics. Its campaign of murder was extraordinary, its ... Read More
Elections

A Bad Night for Democrats

The CBS-moderated debate on Tuesday was bad. The topic choices were bad: We heard yet another litigation of barely different visions of never-gonna-pass health-care policy an hour before we heard a question about coronavirus and pandemics. The moderation was bad: Bernie was attacked by five candidates ... Read More
Elections

A Bad Night for Democrats

The CBS-moderated debate on Tuesday was bad. The topic choices were bad: We heard yet another litigation of barely different visions of never-gonna-pass health-care policy an hour before we heard a question about coronavirus and pandemics. The moderation was bad: Bernie was attacked by five candidates ... Read More