July 2, 2020

There’s an old legal adage that goes something like this:

“Your right to swing your fist ends where someone else’s nose begins.”

That’s a colorful way of saying that while we all have rights, our rights end where someone else’s rights begin.

For the past few months we’ve...

June 5, 2020

(Published in the Scranton Times-Tribune, June 4, 2020)

In my children’s book on civics, “How the U.S. Government Works,” I explain to young readers what the U.S. was like under the Articles of Confederation. I describe how each state had its own rules, but there were n...

March 21, 2020

(Published March 6, 2020 in the Scranton Times-Tribune)

My daughters hate the way I schmooze.

“How come every time we go to a restaurant, Dad ends up knowing the server’s life story, or becoming best friends with the people at the table next to us?” one of them inevitabl...

November 9, 2019

Let me start by asking you a question. How many of you think the Supreme Court and the federal courts are nonpartisan? How many don’t? 

My topic is The Supreme Court: Can It Survive the Current Era of Hyperpartisanship, which is a catchy way of saying I’m going to talk...

July 15, 2019

"Go back to where you came from" has long been the call of bigots and xenophobes in the U.S. It's what the Know Nothing Party of the 1850s said about Irish and German Catholic immigrants. It was aimed at Chinese immigrants who helped build the transcontinental railroad...

October 10, 2018

One of the privileges of my former position with the federal judicial branch was attending periodic meetings of a small, distinguished group of federal judges, chaired by the chief justice of the United States, who governed our agency. On our way to the meetings, the j...