Supreme Court Justices from NYC




Twelve of the 112 justices of the Supreme Court of the United States have had important ties to the City of New York. Three justices have strong ties to The City University of New York—



Felix Frankfurter graduated from City College (1902), Antonin Scalia’s father was a professor of romance languages at Brooklyn College and Sonia Sotomayor’s mother is a graduate of Hostos Community College, while her brother Juan graduated from City College. Elena Kagan graduated from Hunter College High School, where her mother Gloria taught and a brother Irving teaches.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissenting in Bush v. Gore (2000) See January 2014 for more on the Three Branches of Government.The Court assumes that time will not permit an orderly judicial review of any disputed matters that might arise. But no one has doubted the good faith and diligence with which Florida election officials, attorneys for all sides of this controversy, and the courts of law have performed their duties. Notably, the Florida Supreme Court has produced two substantial opinions within 29 hours of oral argument. In sum, the Court’s conclusion that a constitutionally adequate recount is impractical is a prophecy the Court’s own judgment will not allow to be tested. Such an untested prophecy should not decide the Presidency of the United States.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor writing for the Court in J.D.B. v. North Carolina (2011) recognizing that youth is a factor in determining whether a person must be given Miranda warnings. See December 2014 for more on Criminal Procedure.It is beyond dispute that children will often feel bound to submit to police questioning when an adult in the same circumstances would feel free to leave. Seeing no reason for police officers or courts to blind themselves to that commonsense reality, we hold that a child’s age properly informs the Miranda custody analysis…. officers and judges need no imaginative powers, knowledge of developmental psychology, training in cognitive science, or expertise in social and cultural anthropology to account for a child’s age. They simply need the common sense to know that a 7–year–old is not a 13–year–old and neither is an adult.
Justice Benjamin Cardozo in Steward Machine Co. v. Davis (1937) upholding the Social Security Act. See May 2014 for more on Workers’ Rights and September 2014 for more on the Commerce Clause.The states are at liberty, upon obtaining the consent of Congress, to make agreements with one another… We find no room for doubt that they may do the like with Congress if the essence of their statehood is maintained without impairment. It is one thing to impose a tax dependent upon the conduct of the taxpayers, or of the state in which they live, where the conduct to be stimulated or discouraged is unrelated to the fiscal need subserved by the tax in its normal operation, or to any other end legitimately national … It is quite another thing to say that a tax will be abated upon the doing of an act that will satisfy the fiscal need, the tax and the alternative being approximate equivalents. In such circumstances, if in no others, inducement or persuasion does not go beyond the bounds of power.
Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes upholding the constitutionality of minimum wage legislation passed by the state of Washington, in West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (1937). See May 2014 for more on Workers’ Rights.What can be closer to the public interest than the health of women and their protection from unscrupulous and overreaching employers…. The legislature of the State was clearly entitled to consider the situation of women in employment, the fact that they are in the class receiving the least pay, that their bargaining power is relatively weak, and that they are the ready victims of those who would take advantage of their necessitous circumstances.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor issuing an injunction against major league baseball owners for alleged unfair labor practices, in effect ending the 1994 baseball strike, in Silverman v. Major League Baseball Player Relations Committee (1995) – United States District Court, Southern District.I find injunctive relief here warranted for several reasons. An important public interest in the process of collective bargaining will be irreparably harmed if an injunction does not issue. This strike has captivated the public’s attention, given the popularity of the sport as well as the protracted nature and well documented bitterness of the strike. Thus, this strike is about more than just whether the Players and Owners will resolve their differences. It is also about how the principles embodied by federal labor law operate. In a very real and immediate way, this strike has placed the entire concept of collective bargaining on trial. It is critical, therefore, that the [National Labor Relations] Board ensure that the spirit and letter of federal labor law be scrupulously followed. If the Board is unable to enforce the NLRA (National Labor Relations Act), public confidence in the collective bargaining process will be permanently and severely undermined.
Justice Elena Kagan dissenting in Arizona Free Enter. Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett (2011), which declared unconstitutional Arizona’s campaign finance law.The First Amendment’s core purpose is to foster a healthy, vibrant political system full of robust discussion and debate…. Campaign finance reform over the last century has focused on one key question: how to prevent massive pools of private money from corrupting our political system. If an officeholder owes his election to wealthy contributors, he may act for their benefit alone, rather than on behalf of all the people.
Justice Thurgood Marshall writing for the Court in Stanley v. Georgia (1969), concluding that mere possession of obscene material cannot be a crime.If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a State has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch. Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men’s minds.
Justice Antonin Scalia concurring in Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena (1995), in holding an affirmative action program unconstitutional.To pursue the concept of racial entitlement—even for the most admirable and benign of purposes—is to reinforce and preserve for future mischief the way of thinking that produced race slavery, race privilege and race hatred. In the eyes of government, we are just one race here. It is American.
Justice Thurgood Marshall writing for the Court in Ford v. Wainwright (1986), in holding that the execution of a person who is insane violates the Eighth Amendment.For today, no less than before, we may seriously question the retributive value of executing a person who has no comprehension of why he has been singled out and stripped of his fundamental right to life. Similarly, the natural abhorrence civilized societies feel at killing one who has no capacity to come to grips with his own conscience or deity is still vivid today. And the intuition that such an execution simply offends humanity is evidently shared across this Nation.

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