Legal Commentary: Edward Lazarus Archive

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 Columns by Edward Lazarus - Page 5  Most Recent | Page 5 | Page 4 | Page 3 | Page 2 | Page 1  

A SURPRISE FROM SCALIA:
THE JUSTICE VOTES FOR THE SIXTH AMENDMENT, AND FOR THE DEATH ROW PRISONER, IN RING V. ARIZONA

FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Edward Lazarus comments on Justice Scalia's surprising vote in the case of Ring v. Arizona. Because it held that a jury, not a judge, must decide facts essential to the imposition of a death sentence, Ring will void numerous death sentences -- yet Scalia, despite his opposition to judicial micromanagement of the death penalty system, voted with the majority. Lazarus considers parallels between Ring and earlier death penalty cases of the 70's and 80's, and discusses Scalia's seemingly last-minute change of heart.
Thursday, Jun. 27, 2002

THE NOT-SO-SAD STORY OF SAN FRANCISCO'S BROBECK, PHLEGER, AND HARRISON, AND WHAT IT MAY MEAN FOR THE FUTURE OF THE PRACTICE OF LAW
FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Edward Lazarus discusses the downfall of a famed San Francisco firm that profited hugely from the dotcom boom, and then declined -- laying off associates and suffering over 20 partners' defections to another firm. Lazarus notes the potential symbolism of the firm's fate, and contends that the economic downturn may have at least a partial upside for lawyers -- who spent the 90s burned out, subject to high billable hours requirements, and too busy to do pro bono work.
Thursday, Jun. 13, 2002

CAN WE TRUST TERRORISM WARNINGS? SHOULD WE INVESTIGATE WHAT BUSH KNEW? WILL THE FBI RESTRUCTURING WORK?
NOT UNTIL THE SYSTEM IS REFORMED

FindLaw columnist, attorney, and author Edward Lazarus suggests ways to end what he describes as the current "partisan chess game." This game, he argues, makes it difficult to trust important government statements -- ranging from suspiciously-timed terror warnings, to party-aligned positions on whether an investigation of what the Bush Administration and the FBI knew pre-9/11 is desirable. These statements, Lazarus notes, often seem to smack of party politics, as much or more than terror prevention. Lazarus traces the problems of disillusionment with government itself and especially nasty partisan fights back to the Vietnam era, and suggests solutions.
Thursday, May. 30, 2002

THE DEBATE OVER THE SOLICITOR GENERAL'S SECOND AMENDMENT SWITCH:
HOW IT ILLUSTRATES COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT HIS CONSTITUTIONAL ROLE

FindLaw columnist, attorney, and author Edward Lazarus discusses the controversial recent change of position by the Solicitor General's Office on the scope of the Constitution's Second Amendment right to bear arms. Lazarus contends that the SG was within his rights to switch the Department of Justice's stance from a militia-based to an individual-rights-based view of the Amendment. Indeed, he suggests, those who contend otherwise have misunderstood the SG's constitutional role.
Thursday, May. 16, 2002

THE MYTH OF JUSTICE SCALIA?:
HOW A RECENTLY-ARGUED DEATH PENALTY CASE WILL TEST THE CLAIM THAT HE IS A JURIST OF PRINCIPLE

FindLaw columnist, attorney, and author Edward Lazarus explains how a recently-argued death penalty case, Ring v. Arizona, will test the claim that Justice Antonin Scalia is a principled jurist -- one with integrity who applies his principles consistently over a range of different cases. Scalia, Lazarus explains, has previously taken a position on the interpretation of the Sixth Amendment jury trial right that ought logically to lead to a victory for the death row defendant in Ring. Yet as a strong death-penalty supporter, Scalia is likely to dislike this result, and try to avoid reaching it.
Thursday, May. 02, 2002

JUSTICE BYRON WHITE AND HIS CAREER ON THE COURT:
INDIVIDUAL DRIVE AND ACCOMPLISHMENT, BUT THE LACK OF A LEGACY

FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Edward Lazarus paints a portrait of the late Supreme Court Justice Byron White, both as a man and as a jurist. Lazarus identifies two major principles that explain much of White's jurisprudence and traces their roots. He also discusses White's origins and his opinion-writing style.
Thursday, Apr. 18, 2002

A DEFENSIBLE EXECUTION?
WHY THE CASE OF ALLEGED SEPTEMBER 11 CONSPIRATOR ZACARIAS MOUSSAOUI PRESENTS A CONUNDRUM FOR DEATH PENALTY ABOLITIONISTS

FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Edward Lazarus discusses the government's decision to seek the death penalty in the case of alleged September 11 co-conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. Lazarus carefully analyzing the leading Supreme Court precedent that has been cited in favor of imposing the death penalty on Moussaoui. He also explains why the penalty might well have been appropriate for the hijackers themselves, had they somehow survived, but may not (depending on the government's evidence) be appropriate in the case of Moussaoui -- who is charged with conspiracy alone.
Thursday, Apr. 04, 2002

IN DEFEATING THE NOMINATION OF JUDGE CHARLES PICKERING, DEMOCRATS HELP DISPEL THE MYTH OF AMERICAN LAW'S MAINSTREAM
FindLaw columnist, attorney, and author Edward Lazarus discusses the significance of the Senate Judiciary Committee's vote against the nomination of Judge Charles Pickering to the U.S. Court of Appeals to the Eleventh Circuit. Lazarus contends that Pickering's failed nomination underlines an ideological rift in American law that is superficially concealed by two prevailing myths about the nomination process -- both of which Lazarus attempts to debunk.
Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2002

NINE JUSTICES, TEN COMMANDMENTS, AND TWO FAILED MONUMENTS:
AN ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE DISPUTE PROVIDES INSIGHT INTO SUPREME COURT DIVISIONS

FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Edward Lazarus discusses the Supreme Court's denials of review in two cases in which a state or town government sought to erect a monument bearing the text of the Ten Commandments, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that such a monument would violate the Establishment Clause. Lazarus explains how the first monument case led to a sharp exchange between Justices Rehnquist and Stevens, and why it probably also foreshadowed the Court's recent denial of review in the second monument case.
Tuesday, Mar. 05, 2002

RACE-BASED JURY SELECTION AND THE SUPREME COURT:
A NEW GRANT OF REVIEW RECALLS THE LESSONS OF A DIVISIVE EARLIER RULING

FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Edward Lazarus offers an unusual take on the Miller-El case, which the Supreme Court announced late last week that it will review. Lazarus connects Miller-El to a much earlier case that divided the Court's Justices 4-4 (with one recusal) -- a case in which deliberations were tense, but no opinion was written. Both cases involve the interpretation of a third decision -- the Court's landmark ruling in Batson v. Kentucky outlawing race-based use of peremptory challenges in jury selection.
Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2002

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