The Supreme Court's recently completed term
undoubtedly will be remembered most for its decision on Dec. 12, 2000,
in Bush v. Gore. For the first time in American history, the Supreme
Court decided the outcome of a presidential election. Beyond Bush v.
Gore, it was a term that lacked major blockbuster constitutional law
decisions, but did significantly change the law in some key rulings
concerning federal civil rights statutes. Several themes can be
identified for October Term 2000, which began Oct. 2, and ended June
This is the Ken-Connor Court, with Justices
Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O'Connor controlling the outcome of
most cases. The current Supreme Court can be best understood as having
three factions: a conservative block of Chief Justice William
Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas; a moderate
block of Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg
and Stephen Breyer; and the "swing" Justices Sandra Day O'Connor
and Anthony Kennedy. There
are no liberal justices in the mold of a William Douglas or William
Brennan or Thurgood Marshall. More
often than not, Justices O'Connor and Kennedy vote with the three
conservatives and thus 5-4 decisions most commonly have a majority of
Rehnquist, O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas. This, of course,
was the line-up in Bush v. Gore.
Also, it is the split in all of the court's
federalism decisions in the last few years, which limit federal power
and expand state sovereign immunity. This term, for example, in
University of Alabama at Birmingham Board of Trustees v. Garrett, 121
S.Ct. 955 (2001), the court held, 5-4, that state governments may not
be sued for employment discrimination in violation of section one of
the Americans with Disabilities Act.
after David Baldacci's best-selling first book hit the newsstands in
1995, the attorney- turned-author of the great American novel quit his
day job. And despite - or maybe because of - the many manuscripts
lawyers thrust on him at speaking engagements, Baldacci says he
doesn't recommend his former colleagues follow suit. "People say
there are so many lawyers out there using their experience to write
bestsellers," Baldacci said recently from his home in Virginia.
"Let's actually look at the numbers here. You can count maybe six
... after that it's hard to name some more."
Sept. 7, the former Washington, D.C., civil litigator and corporate
lawyer will address attendees of the