What is the purpose of the United States Senate? During a supposed breakfast meeting between founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson was said to have asked why George Washington agreed to the creation of a second, superfluous house of Congress. Washington himself replied with a question: “why did you just now pour that coffee into your saucer, before drinking?” Jefferson answered, “to cool it.” Washington thus answered Jefferson’s query, “even so, we pour our legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.” More than a century later, George Frisbie Hoar described the legislative body in which he served as a place where “the deliberate will, the sober second thought of the people might find expression.”
Late spring is decision season on the Supreme Court, and for judicial watchers, Monday morning did not disappoint. The Court issued three decisions, on seemingly minor issues, which could have larger reverberations across the country. If tradition is any guide, more contentious and newsworthy decisions await in mid-June.
In the decision you had to search legal blogs to find, the Court unanimously expanded the time available to private parties to bring whistleblower suits under the False Claims Act. In Cochise Consultancy Inc. v. United States, the Court ruled that such a party, called a relator, could rely on a second statute of limitations in a suit in which the U.S. has declined to intervene.
- Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin are the only members not to side with their party. Murkowski votes “present” to allow Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines to attend his daughter’s wedding.
- Opponents of Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation have been staging protests, confronting senators, and getting arrested for the last 48 hours. Shouts of “Shame! Shame! Shame!” went out from the Senate Gallery as senators voted.
- NYT: A Triumph for Conservatives, but a Blow to the Court’s Image.
- National Review: Thank You, Susan Collins.
- How Everyone Voted.
- Related CN Politics Review