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Articles written by David Adler

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 By David Adler    Opinion    November 28, 2022 

Blaisdell: Constitutional flexibility in the face of crisis

The enormous pressures and hardships—financial, medical and psychological-- inflicted on the citizenry by the Great Depression required creative governmental responses that stressed the limits of the Constitution. In the face of the nation’s...

 

We the People - Before the court: The future of national unity

 Two hundred years ago, in the landmark case of Cohens v. Virginia (1821), the future of our Constitution, the aspirations of national unity, and the status and role of the federal judiciary itself, were before the Supreme Court. We have seldom...

 

We the People: Affirmative action in universities - Has it a future?

 The controversial use by college admission committees of an applicant’s race was the subject of a five-hour hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court this week in cases involving Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. The lengthy o...

 

We the People: Presidents and former Presidents are subject to subpoenas

The 1807 treason trial of Aaron Burr, lost in the mists of early American legal history stirs, at most, only feint recollections among members of the Bar, let alone the general public. But Chief Justice John Marshall’s landmark ruling that the pres...

 

"Equal protection: Serving sons and daughters"

In 1996, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark opinion in United States v. Virginia that exalted women’s rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment by ending the 157-year-old tradition of all-male education at the Virginia Mili...

 

"Muller v. Oregon: Protection for Women in the Workplace"

The U.S. Supreme Court’s long, tortured road to recognizing women’s constitutional rights in the late 20th Century was preceded by victories based, not on the principle of their equality, but on the perception of their inferiority. The Court had...

 

"Supreme Court in 1873: Women unfit to practice law"

Not every landmark Supreme Court decision champions the rights of Americans or limits governmental power in a manner that preserves and protects our constitutional democracy. Some seminal rulings shock the conscience, rock the foundation of the...

 

U.S. v. Smith: No Presidential Power to Initiate War

American legal history firmly rejects the view advanced by some commentators and politicians that the president, not Congress, may decide when to initiate war. It was, of course, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in a series of rulings at the dawn...

 
 By David Adler    Opinion    October 3, 2022

We the People: A little-known landmark ruling of historic dimensions

Little v. Barreme, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1804, may be among the least familiar landmark rulings ever rendered, but it settled momentous constitutional and legal questions that plumb the depths of American history. In an opinion...

 

We the People: The Court Protects the American Labor Movement

 In a stunning decision on April 12, 1937, with enormous constitutional, economic and societal importance, the U.S. Supreme Court, in National Labor Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation, upheld a law that transformed workers...

 

The Court, the minimum wage ruling and the Holy Ghost

The Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling in West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (1937), set against the backdrop of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s controversial court-packing plan, shocked the nation when it upheld state authority to impose a minimum wag...

 

Shelley v. Kraemer: "My Little Soul is Overjoyed"

In 1947, in the context of changing attitudes about race and a historic shift in federal policy on the practice of segregation in housing, punctuated by President Harry S. Truman’s spirited attack on discrimination in America, the Supreme Court...

 

Gideon's trumpet: Toward equality in criminal justice

Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), entrenched in American folklore by a best-selling book and a popular film, was one of the most famous decisions rendered by the Warren Court. In a landmark opinion that reflected the Supreme Court’s determination to...

 
 By David Adler    Opinion    August 29, 2022

Loving v. Virginia: Equal means equal

In a blockbuster, landmark ruling that rolled back the tides of racism and White Supremacy, the Supreme Court, in Loving v. Virginia (1967), affirmed marriage as a fundamental right protected by the 14th Amendment when it struck down a state law that...

 
 By David Adler    Opinion    August 22, 2022

Lochner: Clashing judicial views and the state police powers

Justice Rufus Peckham’s opinion in the landmark case of Lochner v. New York (1905), cemented the Supreme Court’s embrace of the liberty of contract doctrine and its tilt toward the laissez-faire economic philosophy of the day. Justice...

 
 By David Adler    Opinion    August 15, 2022

Lochnerizing: Supreme Court cements substantive due process

In its recent decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court denounced judicial resort to the doctrine of substantive due process to pour the foundation for the fundamental right to access contra...

 
 By David Adler    Opinion    August 8, 2022

"Like a loaded weapon": The Korematsu ruling as a threat

The Supreme Court’s decision in Korematsu v. United States (1944), upholding the forced evacuation of American citizens of Japanese descent from their homes for no reason other than their ancestry was, as scholars have characterized it, a national...

 
 By David Adler    Opinion    August 1, 2022

Korematsu: A heart-breaking landmark decision

The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Korematsu v. United States (1944), upheld a government program that required the exclusion of Japanese American citizens from areas along the West Coast on the premise, without benefit of any evidence, that...

 
 By David Adler    Opinion    July 25, 2022

Constitutional Principles for the ages: McCulloch for Maryland

Chief Justice John Marshall’s landmark opinion for the Supreme Court in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), articulated foundational principles that have shaped American constitutional law to this day. In words that have become a legendary incantation,...

 
 By David Adler    Opinion    July 18, 2022

McCulloch: Shaping the future of American constitutional law

The constitutional issues that the Supreme Court addressed—and answered—in the landmark case of McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), have shaped our nation’s constitutional law for two centuries. McCulloch is of such surpassing importance that a...

 
 By David Adler    Opinion    July 11, 2022

McCulloch v. Maryland: The greatest of landmark decisions

The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), widely regarded by scholars as the most important decision ever rendered by the nation’s High Tribunal, provided firm footing for national action and continues to shape...

 
 By David Adler    Opinion    July 4, 2022

We the People: Constitutional responses to emergencies

The Steel Seizure Case (1952) raised the critical issue of the constitutional prescription for confronting emergencies. President Harry Truman, facing a nationwide steel strike, which he believed would undermine America’s participation in the...

 
 By David Adler    Opinion    June 27, 2022

Emergencies and the Constitution: Retroactive Ratification

The Supreme Court’s rejection in the Steel Seizure Case of President Harry Truman’s assertion of an inherent executive power to seize the steel mills to thwart a nationwide strike, generated questions about the location in the Constitution of aut...

 
 By David Adler    Opinion    June 20, 2022

We the People: Supreme Court rebukes Truman's seizure of steel mills

In his 6-3 opinion for the Supreme Court in the landmark case, Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952), Justice Hugo Black rejected President Harry Truman’s assertion of an inherent executive power to seize the steel industry as a means of...

 
 By David Adler    Opinion    June 13, 2022

Steel Seizure Case ruling reins in presidential power

The 70th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in the Steel Seizure Case reminds us of the capacity of the nation’s High Tribunal to stand tall in the defense of the rule of law and American Constitutionalism. On 2, 1952, the court,...

 

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