PLEDGE NOW
'Uncertain Justice' And The Roberts Court

Laurence Tribe on the U.S. Constitution, the Roberts Court and what he calls “uncertain justice.”

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts arrives for President Barack Obama's State of Union address before a joint session of Congress in the House chamber Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014.  (AP)

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts arrives for President Barack Obama’s State of Union address before a joint session of Congress in the House chamber Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. (AP)

We are a nation of law.  Change the law, change the country.  The ultimate arbiter is the Supreme Court.  Under Chief Justice John Roberts, the country is changing.  On campaign finance.  Money politics.  Corporate power.  Unions.  Guns. Health care.  Gay marriage.  Race.  In 5-4 decision after decision, the Roberts court is changing the country.  Critics call it a politicized high court, not above polarization but part of it.  My guest today, constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe, says it’s more subtle than that.  More interesting.  This hour On Point:  the Roberts court, and where it is taking the country.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Laurence Tribe, constitutional law professor at Harvard University. Co-author of “Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and The Constitution.”

Neomi Rao, professor of constitutional law at George Mason University.  Former counsel for President George W. Bush.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Atlantic: Scalia v. Scalia — “The problem of engaging religion openly at the high court extends beyond the unspoken agreement not to talk about the justices’ religions. The Court itself has opted not to probe the intensity or validity of a plaintiff’s religious conviction, in part thanks to Scalia’s reasoning. Get too deep into second-guessing matters of spiritual belief, he noted in his landmark 1990 opinion denying peyote-using Native Americans an exemption from everyday drug laws, and there’s no getting out.”

NPR: Chemical Weapons Law Doesn’t Apply To Jilted Lover, Supreme Court Rules –“Federal laws that were meant to prevent the international use of chemical weapons can’t be applied to a woman who tried to poison her husband’s mistress, the Supreme Court has ruled. Carol Anne Bond had smeared toxic chemicals in the hopes that the other woman would develop a rash. The Supreme Court ruled that the federal law shouldn’t have been used to prosecute Bond, as her actions were forbidden under state or local laws. The opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts.”

Washington Post: Uncertain Justice: Understanding the Roberts Court — “While there is plainly a role for such work, most of the purported “certainties” about the Roberts Court that currently stalk the land are misleading. The justices are too diverse, the Constitution too capacious, and the Court’s role too complex to yield to such reductionism. The story of the Roberts Court is a lot more interesting and more fraught with surprise, treachery and internal disagreement than such too-tidy plot lines suggest.”

Read An Excerpt Of ‘Uncertain Justice” By Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 6, 2015
President Barack Obama speaks during services honoring the life of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Charleston, S.C., at the College of Charleston TD Arena. Pinckney was one of the nine people killed in the shooting at Emanuel AME Church last week in Charleston.  (AP)

How should we talk about faith and God in these uncertain times? We put that tough question—and more—to a roundtable of religious thinkers.

Jul 6, 2015
A still from the upcoming documentary film, "Tough Love." (Courtesy PBS / The Filmmakers)

An intimate look at the foster care system from the perspective of two families struggling to reunite with their children.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 3, 2015
Harmonica master Howard Levy, in a photo dated February 2012. (Courtesy the Artist)

Harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy tears it up with us. From Bach to the blues.

 
Jul 3, 2015
Demonstrators shout slogans during a rally organized by supporters of the YES vote for the upcoming referendum in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens, Tuesday, June 30, 2015 Greece's European creditors were assessing a last-minute proposal Athens made for a new two-year rescue deal, submitted just hours before the country's international bailout program expires and it loses access to billions of euros in funds. (AP)

Overtime pay. Diplomatic ties with Cuba. Greece defaults. Iran deadline missed. Chris Christie jumps in. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 3, 2015
Friday, Jul 3, 2015

We made a lot of last-minute programming changes these past few weeks, and you stuck around with us through it all. Thanks!

More »
1 Comment
 
Election 2016: Who Exactly Is Running For President?
Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015

Who is running for President, anyway? We attempt to help you figure it out.

More »
9 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: June 19, 2015
Friday, Jun 19, 2015

Why our broadcast changed in different markets this week, and a closer look at a puppet theatre vandalism in rural Norway. (Really).

More »
Comment