Articles written by David Adler

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 By David Adler    Opinion    February 19, 2024 

Freedom of the press: the essential foundation of democracy

When the U.S. Supreme Court, in Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia (1980), in the words of Justice John Paul Stevens, “squarely held that the acquisition of newsworthy matter is entitled to constitutional protection,” it was protecting under the Fir...

 

We the People: Landmark ruling gives press and public access to criminal trials

The First Amendment’s free press clause, which Thomas Jefferson declared indispensable to republicanism, has long been regarded as the “people’s right to know.” Without knowledge of governmental programs, policies and practices, the people...

 

We the People: Justice Jackson is Nuremberg

Justice Robert H. Jackson’s departure for Europe in September of 1945 to serve as chief prosecutor for the United States at the historic Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals annoyed some of his fellow justices and heightened the internal...

 

"Blood Feud" inside the Supreme Court on question of recusal

Every now and again, the public displays an intense interest in the question of whether Supreme Court Justices ought to recuse themselves from a particular case because it appears that they have a conflict of interest that might prevent them from...

 

Justice Robert H. Jackson: groomed for the Supreme Court

Few nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court have been as well prepared, let us say, groomed, for a seat on the nation’s High Tribunal than Robert H. Jackson, who was appointed in 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Jackson’s remarkable career in...

 

Trump claims impeachment clause grants him immunity

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team has filed briefs with the D.C. Court of Appeals, which will hear oral argument in the federal insurrection case on Jan. 9, claiming to find presidential immunity from criminal prosecution in the...

 
 By David Adler    Opinion    January 1, 2024

A law court will affirm Colorado's ruling on Trump

In his landmark opinion for the U.S. Supreme Court in Marbury v. Madison (1803), Chief Justice John Marshall defined the over-arching responsibility of the High Bench: “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law...

 

Mr. Smith goes to the Supreme Court to save the rule of law

Jack Smith, the special counsel prosecuting former President Donald Trump for his efforts to illegally overturn the 2020 election, made a bold and strategically wise move in a rare request to the U.S. Supreme Court to rule “expeditiously” on...

 

Justice O'Connor, a personal reminiscence: "You mean sheroes?"

I had the great privilege and pleasure, twice, to interview Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on stage at a conference on women and leadership that I organized and hosted. I asked about her heroes. She replied, “You mean, sheroes?” Her answer, a...

 

James Iredell: not Hamilton, but well-qualified for Supreme Court

Unlike Alexander Hamilton, a more famous Founding Father who wrote extensively about the proposed Constitution and championed its ratification – and later became a 21st century cultural icon who made it to Broadway two hundred years after his...

 

We the People: Justice Douglas went east, but appointed to Court as a westerner

President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to nominate William O. Douglas to the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Justice Louis Brandeis in 1939, but there was a problem: a geographical problem. Douglas, a resident of...

 

"Justice William O. Douglas: Horatio Alger of the Supreme Court"

William O. Douglas, the longest-serving Supreme Court justice in American history (1939-1975) – whose outsized life on and off the bench required two autobiographical volumes, and inspired devoted followers and passionate detractors – was at the...

 

Justice Van Devanter of Wyoming: a "mainstay" on the Court

The odds were against Willis Van Devanter ever winning an appointment to the Supreme Court. Widespread talk that he suffered from “pen paralysis,” an affliction that subverted his production, made President William Howard Taft “hesitant” to n...

 

We the People: Hughes returns and preserves the court amidst a great storm

When President Herbert Hoover in 1930 nominated Charles Evans Hughes to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, an unprecedented second tour of duty on the nation’s High Tribunal, he didn’t find it necessary to offer much in the way of...

 
 By David Adler    News    November 6, 2023

We the People: Charles Evans Hughes appointed twice to the Supreme Court

Charles Evans Hughes, one of the great names in America’s judicial history, remains the only person twice appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. His remarkable resume – lawyer, governor, Secretary of State, presidential candidate, associate...

 

Taft: The court should preserve framers' governmental structure

The U.S. Supreme Court is a law court, of course, but it is primarily a political institution that guides the destiny of the nation. Its rulings mark the boundaries of power between the branches of the federal government and those between the...

 

We the People

William Howard Taft, the only man to serve as President of the United States and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, once observed that the Court was his idea of what Heaven must be like. This prompted Justice Felix Frankfurter to declare that “he...

 

We the people: October 16. 2023

“Brandeis: free speech critical to preservation of Democracy” In response to previous columns about the appointment, importance and influence of Justice Louis Brandeis, an enthusiastic reader has asked a most welcome question about the...

 

We the People: "Brandeis: A great justice and the right to be let alone"

Louis Brandeis, known by the nation at the time of his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court as “The People’s Lawyer,” and years later affectionately nicknamed “Old Isaiah” by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was one of the greatest jurists...

 

We the People:Justice Louis D. Brandeis: "The People's Attorney"

By the time President Woodrow Wilson nominated him for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court in 1916, Louis Brandeis, the nation’s first Jewish justice, had forged a reputation as a brilliant, innovative and influential attorney. He was an advocate to b...

 

We the People: Justice Holmes influences business of judging

The emergence of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes as a dominant influence in the work of the Supreme Court began in 1905, just three years after his appointment to the High Bench, in a dissenting opinion in Lochner v. New York that many scholars hail...

 

We the People - Justice Holmes: a legend before joining the Supreme Court

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said, “If American law were to be represented by a single figure, skeptic and worshipper alike would agree without dispute that the figure could be one alone, and that one, John Marshall.” It has been...

 
 By David Adler    News    September 11, 2023

We the People: Trump use of Scottsboro Boys case inapt and reckless

Former President Donald Trump’s invocation of the landmark Supreme Court ruling in the Scottsboro Boys cases (1931) as justification for delaying his trial on charges related to the subversion of the 2020 federal election, was sharply rejected by t...

 

We the People - Justice Joseph Story: Most scholarly of justices

Justice Joseph Story stands as a giant among those who have held a seat on the Supreme Court. Story was one of the greatest legal figures in the 19th Century, in the upper echelon of everyone’s list of outstanding judges in American history and...

 

We the People: Chief Justice Marshall: unpretentious, modest and humble

Those Americans in the early years of the republic who idolized the elegant, regal and graceful bearing of English judges, could be forgiven their initial doubts about the potential of Chief Justice John Marshall to lead the Supreme Court. Although...

 

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