The U.S. Supreme Court

Within the next few weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to release several major decisions on a range of hot-button issues including same-sex marriage and the use of race in undergraduate admissions. New Yorker staff writer Jeffrey Toobin joins us to discuss the big cases facing the court, and his new book “The Oath: The Obama White House and The Supreme Court.”

Jeffrey Toobin, staff writer for The New Yorker, CNN legal analyst and author of books including "The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court" and "The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court"

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    This being a Constitutional Republic not a theocracy it perplexes me how anyone could be against equal protection under the law per marriage for any two adults who desire to marry.

    Could Mr. Toobin speak to the issue of marriage history and how it had more to do with protecting male property rights.

    Or am I the only one who remembers that up until the last twenty years or so, when a couple was pronounced married, they were decared man and wife, not husband and wife?

  • Kurt thialfad

    What would be the benefits of the state getting out of the marriage business entirely, and allow citizen to form and break personal relationships, and cohabitation agreements, as they please. Treat each as an individual before the state in the area of taxation, etc. only intervene in the support of minor children.

    • thucy

      Unreported (in the US) is that the considerable backlash against gay marriage in France, a country which remains far more “liberal” than ours, was in part a reaction against the issue getting more political focus than it actually deserves.
      Like many European countries, France is struggling under austerity measures, and there was a significant presence of liberal and left-wing French people in the backlash protests who were simply saying, “No, we refuse to let this non-issue distract from issues of life and death for the Republic.”

      Would that we had such focus ! Gay marriage has been used as a major distraction from issues here in California that are critical to the future of the State. DiFi and Boxer have finessed it as the ultimate political fig leaf for their selling out to the highest corporate bidders.
      It’s long since been time to get the state out of marriage entirely.

    • Kurt thialfad

      As Jeffrey states, “People want to get married”. I agree, they still can get married – but not by the State. Everybody gets the benefits of marriage, whether they’r married or not. What you do is eliminate the benefits of marriage, by giving the benefits to all citizens, as individuals. You need a hospital visitor, designate one. You need an heir, specify in your will,. There’s someone you don’t want to allow to testify against you in court, designate that person.

      Gays want the benefits which marriage bestows. It’s not about love. Therefore give the benefits to all citizens, as individuals. That’s the answer, Jefffrey

  • Chris OConnell

    I like Toobin’s analysis of the Supreme Court. I am thinking he should probably stay out of other subjects, such as the Snowden affair, where his analysis widely misses the mark. We are heading into a 3rd week of revelations which have really rocked the world but Toobin thinks we should know none of this and that Snowden is not a whistle-blower.

    • Chris OConnell

      Toobin hangs his hat on the allegation that the Snowden leak does not reveal criminality (the ACLU thinks otherwise). The Pentagon Papers released by Daniel Ellsberg did not reveal criminality. So clearly Toobin has the same view of Ellsberg as he does of Snowdon. Namely, Ellsberg was wrong to do it and he is no whistleblower. But Ellsberg was over 40 years old and not 29 so maybe it was okay.

  • jurgispilis

    The US constitution originally said nothing about who can vote, and let this power entirely to the States. Now it seems, the Federal government has the upper hand. When and how did this constitution power get transferred from the States to the Feds?

    Likewise the US constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate for treaties, yet all these free trade treaties pass with a simple majority. How did this transfer of power occur as well?

    (PS. I taught you swimming at Camp Pinnacle)

    san rafael

    • Mark Talmont

      The Supreme Court has been executing massive power grabs for some time–to their disgrace, alleged “conservatives” have gone along with it. Consider for instance the Wickard decision in 1944 (you can’t grow your own wheat on your own land to feed your own chickens–as this non-purchase of wheat “affects” the wheat market.) This discretionary criminalizing of non-behavior is beyond Orwellian. The USDA has the authority to control anything grown, meanwhile the Obama administration has turned Monsanto loose upon the land to do whatever reckless experiment it wants to inflict on us with no liability whatsoever.

  • regisqus

    What does Snowden’s age got to do with it.? James Madison was 25 years old in 1776.

  • Sarah

    Jeffery Toobin keeps referring to Snowden as “29 years old.” While I don’t support everything Snowden did, mentioning his age over and over again is patronizing. And I’m not even a millennial…

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    For years, intelligence veterans Thomas Drake, William Binney,J. Kirk Wiebe told anyone who would listen that the NSA collected huge swaths of communications data from U.S. citizens. They told USA TODAY that the documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old NSA contractor who worked as a systems administrator, prove´╗┐ their claims of sweeping government surveillance of millions of Americans not suspected of any wrongdoing. And they say those revelations only hint at the programs’ reach.

    Snowden has a GED and in Silicon Valley you find scads of brilliant computer geeks who never went to college. Look at the high school drop out David Karp´╗┐ who sold Tumblr to Yahoo for $1.1 billion.

    Have known non college graduates who have worked for the government in high security computer areas. Also know Snowden worked for a private company who contracted with the feds.

  • Bob

    I’d like Mr. Toobin to address his recent claims regarding Snowden’s NSA
    leaks. Would he say the same thing about Ellsberg and the Pentagon
    Papers? How does he justify defending a security state that has
    conducted, in legal investigatory terms, an over-broad collection of
    data that potentially violates the basic 4th Amendment rights of law
    abiding citizens. Two trumped up wars, hundreds of thousands dead and
    now the average law abiding American a perpetual suspect, perhaps
    thought leaders objectivity is now also a victim?

  • Bob Fry

    FYI, there’s a petition on the White House website to offer a full pardon to Snowden.

    • Mark Talmont

      I wonder what kind of list you get put on if you sign that petition.

  • thucy

    By Toobin’s logic, the nearly octogenarian DiFi should retire along with Scalia.

    • Chris OConnell

      I am not so sure since the difference is that she does not (officially) get life tenure but has to go to the voters every 6 years to extend her term.

  • Eleanor Ellis-Lee

    I fully agree with Mr. Toobin on Snowden. We can’t just have everyone and anyone disclosing goverment secrets based solely on their personal dislike of specific policies or their personal beliefs.

    Certainly we need to debate what types of surveillance and what levels of safeguards we as a society want and feel comfortable with. A blanket ‘surveillance is bad’ feeling should not be the justification to disclose state secrets, especially classified information on how the US spies on China.

    Kudos to Mr. Toobin for standing up to the very vocal rabble-rousers who are just using this opportunity to froth about long existing government programs. They do not contribute to the debate by exaggerating the capabilities of the program based on vague PowerPoint slides.

  • Another Mike

    When discussing lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, Toobin makes the usual confusion between life expectancy and lifespan. Many people dying young lowered the life expectancy. However, if you made it to adulthood before 1800 you could live as long as people do now. Gabriel Duval of the Marshall Court lived to be 91, but retired at 82 with people questioning his faculties, the same sort of issue that Toobin claims arises only now. Other Supreme Court justices of the Marshall era or earlier lived into their upper 70s or older. Only three never made it to age 60.

  • Mark Talmont

    It is getting really confusing to follow what our policy on China is supposed to be. One day they are “trading partners” and toasted at the White House (shortly after the Chinese tossed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo in jail for dissenting against the State).

    Now administration officials speak darkly of Snowden turning over secrets to “enemies” I wonder who that is? North Korea? And liberal lemmings like Toobin slavishly follow right along.

    I think Thomas Friedman spoke out of school for the leftist establishment when he wrote of his wish we could be “China for a day”. The left pines for the ability to terrorize Americans for speech crimes the way their hero Woodrow Wilson did (an episode conspicuous by it’s absence from what passes for “history” in the government schools.)

  • Tony Rocco

    You know, after listening to Toobin I am convinced that our founding fathers should never have revolted against the british. No, they should have gone through proper channels and filed a complaint with the british monarchy. How dare they jeopardize the security of the british empire!


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