Sunday, April 18, 2010
The persistent problem of the constitutional balance between the Executive and Judicial branches is personalized as a struggle between "two intellectual gladiators" with their "Coliseum" as the Supreme Court of the United States in an article in today's "Week in Review" section of the NYT. Peter Baker describes the two "gladiators" this way:
They are two of the smartest men of their generation, both magna cum laude products of Harvard Law School, both cerebral and charming and ambitious. They vaulted to the highest offices in the land after just short stints at the next level down, and each was seen initially as a conciliator only to lead on the strength of his own majority.
The article discusses some substantive differences of opinion, but returns to Roberts "fumbling" the administration of the presidential oath to Obama and Obama's criticism of Citizens United during the State of the Union address.
Dean Christopher Edley of UC-Berkeley Law School (pictured left) has the last word, saying (according to the article's author) that "it was a shame the two could not have at it one on one":
"Televise this chief justice and this president on stage at the Kennedy Center for three hours talking about the role of government and the future of our polity,” Mr. Edley said. “This historic clash of intellectual titans would be the most powerful civics lesson since the Federalist Papers, and we could sure use it.”