The devastation of New Orleans has rightly overshadowed the upcoming confirmation hearings for the next Supreme Court chief justice, and the nomination and confirmation of a replacement for Sandra Day O’Connor. But Katrina, and the nation’s response to it, has much to tell us about the future of the Supreme Court. The central debates of the nominations process mirror those concerning the government’s response to Katrina: How much responsibility does the government, and in particular, the federal government, have in ensuring the safety and security of the inhabitants of this country?

Risa Goluboff & Richard C. Schragger, The Real World: Why Judicial Philosophies Matter, Slate (September 7, 2005).