ACLU’s head lawyer says Roberts court more aggressive and ideological than expected

Steven Shapiro speaks at UH Law Center event

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ACLU’s head lawyer says Roberts court more aggressive and ideological than expected
American Civil Liberties Union
Legal Director Steven R. Shapiro

April 23, 2012 – The U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has consistently shown itself eager to decide controversial cases along markedly ideological lines, Steven R. Shapiro, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union told a gathering Friday at the University of Houston Law Center.

“I have been surprised at how aggressive the Supreme Court under Justice Roberts has been in challenging well-established laws,” Shapiro said in his talk sponsored by the ACLU of Texas and the ACLU-University of Houston Law Center.

Shapiro noted that hearings on the constitutionality of Arizona's immigration law, SB 1070, and President Obama's health care overhaul, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, have been the highlights of this year’s Supreme Court docket.

The court's decision on the health care case could range from letting the whole law stand to throwing it all out. The court also could declare part of the law unconstitutional, leaving parts of it still standing. In any event, he said, the decision will be a factor in the presidential race this fall.

“This case has been an interesting study in the relationship between politics and law,” Shapiro said. He also noted that while some of our civil liberties appear to be under attack in the court, that has always been the case.

“In general, we are going in a progressive direction,” Shapiro said. “The progress is not linear but the progress in undeniable. We enjoy more freedom, more liberty, more equality than ever before in U.S. history. We must continue to fight for these liberties.”

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