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Elizabeth B. Wydra
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Elizabeth B. Wydra: Elizabeth is President of the Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC), a think tank, law firm, and action center dedicated to showing how the text and history of the Constitution support progressive outcomes. She frequently participates in Supreme Court litigation and has argued several important cases in the federal courts of appeals. Elizabeth was previously in private practice in San Francisco, CA, and clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. She obtained her law degree from Yale Law School. Elizabeth has appeared as a legal expert for NBC, ABC, Fox News, and NPR, and is a regular contributor to the American Bar Association’s Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases. Her work on progressive constitutional issues has appeared on numerous political and legal blogs.

Entries by Elizabeth B. Wydra

Trump's Not The Only One Attacking the Judiciary

(1) Comments | Posted June 8, 2016 | 7:18 PM

Donald Trump's recent attacks on the federal judge hearing the fraud lawsuit against his for-profit Trump University are despicable and dangerous. Fortunately, Trump's statements that U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel couldn't preside over his case fairly because he is "Mexican"--Judge Curiel was, in fact, born in the United States and...

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U.S. Constitution: Public Officials Wanted, Willingness to Follow the Law a Must

(93) Comments | Posted September 4, 2015 | 1:17 PM

In June, the Supreme Court issued its historic ruling affirming that the 14th Amendment protects the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry, in every state across the nation. Recognizing that there were still some Americans who, for religious or other reasons, might remain opposed to marriage equality even...

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Trump's Anti-Citizenship Plan Is a Historic Loser

(85) Comments | Posted August 19, 2015 | 6:38 PM

The arguments against the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship put forth by Donald Trump and other conservatives are, to borrow a descriptor oft-used by Trump himself, losers. Literally. Far from offering a bold new immigration reform plan that would "make America great again," Trump's plan recycles anti-immigrant ideas that were...

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Will the Supreme Court Honor Dr. King's Legacy?

(1) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 12:01 PM

On Monday the nation came together to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But on Wednesday the justices of the Supreme Court assemble to consider taking away one of the tools used to help create the vision of an equal America advocated by Dr. King, under a...

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Doing the Right Thing on Marriage in the Supreme Court

(26) Comments | Posted January 16, 2015 | 3:57 PM

It's the Supreme Court's job to resolve disagreements over the meaning of the Constitution. With its announcement that it will hear the appeal of state bans on same-sex marriage from Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky, the Court is doing that job. The country will soon have resolution of a major...

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Playing Politics With the Supreme Court Over Obamacare

(4) Comments | Posted October 23, 2014 | 12:30 PM

As the mid-term elections fast approach, it's not just congressional races that are getting hotly partisan. The proponents of the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act are racing to the Supreme Court, and playing politics with the law in the process. Michael Carvin, the lead attorney in this round...

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Will the Supreme Court Give Corporations the Right to Impose Religious Beliefs on Employees?

(48) Comments | Posted June 29, 2014 | 3:38 PM

The Supreme Court often saves its blockbuster cases for the very last day of its term, which ends this year on June 30. On this final day of the term, the Court will be handing down a decision with potentially broad implications not only for the rights of women and...

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'10 Angry Men' Isn't Enough: Will the Supreme Court Finally Step in to Stop States From Violating Fundamental Constitutional Rights?

(2) Comments | Posted April 9, 2014 | 1:05 PM

In the classic American film 12 Angry Men, a lone juror deliberating on the fate of a man charged with murder is able to convince his fellow jurors, through careful study of the evidence and thoughtful discussion, to switch their votes from guilty to not guilty, thus ensuring...

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Citizens Divided: The Supreme Court's Next Campaign Finance Test

(79) Comments | Posted October 4, 2013 | 2:27 PM

It may seem surprising with the federal government shut down, but across the street from the U.S. Capitol Building the Supreme Court is gearing up for the start of its 2013 Term. And while most Americans already think Congress is doing a bang up job preventing itself from...

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It's Not a Mystery When State Laws Prohibiting Same-Sex Couples From Marrying "Became Unconstitutional"

(227) Comments | Posted March 26, 2013 | 4:02 PM

One of the liveliest exchanges during this morning's oral argument in the challenge to the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, which changed the state's Constitution to define marriage as only between a man and a woman, came when Justice Antonin Scalia aggressively questioned the challengers' lawyer, Ted Olson,...

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Arizona's "Show Me Your Papers" Law Gets Its Day in Court -- and Congress

(28) Comments | Posted April 24, 2012 | 1:24 PM

For politicians who claim to love the Constitution, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and deposed former state senator Russell Pearce appear to have no problem disregarding it when it suits their purposes. With all of Pearce's pouting and protesting in front of Senator Chuck Schumer and the Senate Judiciary...

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Who Really Represents the States in the Health Care Cases?

(3) Comments | Posted March 27, 2012 | 9:00 AM

When the Supreme Court hears arguments in the challenges to the Affordable Care Act this week, who will be speaking for the states? This isn't a trick question: obviously, Paul Clement, the former Solicitor General for George W. Bush, will be standing before the Justices on behalf of the 26...

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Occupy the Barnyard: Meat Industry Asks Supreme Court to Help Crush Anti-Cruelty Law

(15) Comments | Posted November 8, 2011 | 4:34 PM

Big Business in America loves to use the somewhat obscure legal doctrine of "federal preemption" to thwart state and local efforts to do all sorts of good things, such as protecting public health and safety, ensuring consumers have a remedy when they are harmed by corporate misconduct, and preserving the...

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Our Other Credit Problem: States, Equality, and the Full Faith and Credit Clause

(1) Comments | Posted August 10, 2011 | 3:38 PM

The United States has had a lot of credit issues lately. But there's another "credit" debacle, one that is currently sitting on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court: a state's refusal to give constitutionally-required "full faith and credit" to valid adoptions by gay parents.

In 2006, Oren Adar and...

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Immigration and Birthright Citizenship: Constitutional and Personal Narratives

(7) Comments | Posted July 27, 2011 | 4:30 PM

On Monday, President Obama spoke at the annual conference of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the country. While the President is a master storyteller in his own right, NCLR did not wait for Obama's...

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G.W. Bush-Appointed Judge Rejects Constitutional Challenge to Obama's Health Care Reform Law

(86) Comments | Posted June 29, 2011 | 2:51 PM

For the first time since Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a Republican-appointed judge has voted to uphold Congress's power to enact the health care reform law, including the minimum coverage provision. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the first court of appeals to...

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Too Big to Sue? Supreme Court Blocks Massive Gender Discrimination Suit Against Wal-Mart

(180) Comments | Posted June 20, 2011 | 5:02 PM

In a blow to group claims of gender discrimination and class actions more generally, the Supreme Court has rejected a class-action lawsuit brought by female employees of Wal-Mart who claim they suffered discriminatory pay and promotion practices resulting from the company's alleged corporate culture of discrimination. The massive...

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Don't Tread on Me? Not All States Think Health Care Reform Threatens States' Rights

(210) Comments | Posted June 7, 2011 | 10:58 AM

When a federal appeals court in Atlanta hears arguments tomorrow in the constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act brought by 26 states, the only advocate for the states to stand before the judges will argue against the Act. But that doesn't mean that the states are "united" against the...

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Stop Talking About Broccoli

(26) Comments | Posted February 4, 2011 | 11:36 AM

Not since the Broccoli Incident of the first Bush Administration -- in which President George H.W. Bush declared at a press conference that he did not like broccoli and wasn't going to eat it -- has the cruciferous vegetable been getting the kind of attention from our nation's...

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Truths and Untruths About the Constitutional Origins of Birthright Citizenship

(145) Comments | Posted January 21, 2011 | 12:41 PM

As Americans and our elected leaders engage in debate over immigration and the constitutional guarantee of citizenship at birth, there is something we should all be able to agree on: misleading statements about constitutional history do not help us understand the Constitution better or allow us to tackle immigration reform...

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