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A court term ends, a career change begins - Lyle Denniston Retiring

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., on Friday morning announced that the Supreme Court will issue the remaining decisions for the current term on Monday morning.  That also will mean that I am winding up my active, daily writing for Constitution Daily, and concluding my career as a “regular” on the court beat, after 58 years, and as a working journalist, after 69 years.

My wife and I have been discussing retirement for some time, and now seems to be a good time to try it out.  I hope to do some occasional writing for Constitution Daily in coming months.  My current assignment will be to continue to follow the news and write for the Daily through the end of July.

I have some teaching commitments at the University of Baltimore School of Law for the fall semester, but my plans beyond that are indefinite.

In the past, Denniston has written for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, the Baltimore Sun, the American Lawyer, the Washington Star, the Nebraska City News-Press, and the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal.  His commentary has also been featured on National Public Radio.

Attribution: Lyle Denniston
Full story: Retirement

100 years after Katharine Graham’s birth, The Post holds on to her fearlessness

Katharine Graham shortly after becoming publisher
of The Washington Post. (The Washington Post)
In her Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, “Personal History,” Mrs. Graham recalled how years of inaction from the Washington Star — the region’s “self-satisfied and complacent” market leader — ultimately led to its downfall, even after heroic efforts to save it. I can’t help but imagine that memory running in the back of her mind when The Post took its first steps into the digital era with the launch in 1995 of Digital Ink, a predecessor to

Attribution: Frederick J. Ryan Jr.,
Full article: Graham Opinion

As Frank Lloyd Wright Turns 150, A ‘Small Jewel’ In Virginia Shares Lessons In Simplicity

Loren Pope and Steven Reiss. (Courtesy Steven Reiss)
A solution came through Pope’s employer, the Washington Evening Star.

The newspaper had just started program where they were actually loaning employees money to build a house which was quite amazing when you think about it today, but they were encouraging employees to stay in the area and they wanted them to live in houses of they could afford it. So the Washington Star loaned Loren enough of the money, in addition to a small down payment that Loren had saved, to begin construction of the house. Loren signed an agreement that he would pay back that loan at $25 a month. It was for approximately $5000 at that point. So really without the Washington Evening Star’s program in loaning money, the house probably would not have been built.

Attribution: Catherine Komp,
Full Story: Pope-Leighey House

Lyle Denniston - A lesson from 1981

Lyle Denniston, the National Constitution Center’s Supreme Court correspondent, recalls a 1981 case that sped through the court in 21 days.  This post is based on his own files while covering that case, Dames v. Moore v. Regan, for the Washington Star newspaper and on internal court documents now found in various archives of the Justices’ papers.

Legendary journalist Lyle Denniston is Constitution Daily’s Supreme Court correspondent. Denniston has written for us as a contributor since June 2011 and has covered the Supreme Court since 1958. His work also appears on

"It might be that Burger decided that, at age 57, Rehnquist was young enough and fast enough to handle the onerous chore of turning out a big opinion quickly.   And it might have been that, knowing how Rehnquist had felt about the case, he might be trusted to write the narrowest opinion possible to dispose of the case quickly.

Whatever Burger had had in mind, the result was the court working at one of the fastest paces ever.  It apparently can be done."

Attribution: Lyly Denniston,
Full Story: SCOTUS

Jerry Oppenheimer EXCLUSIVE: Lordy! James Comey set for $10 million payday

Jerry Oppenheimer covered the Justice Department and the FBI for the Washington Star. A New York Times bestselling author, his latest book, The Kardashians: An American Drama, will be published in September.

"According to the publishing executives interviewed by Daily Mail, the proposed book would deal with Comey's entire life, from his New Jersey childhood up to the intrigue and drama of his Washington years, including the Hillary email fiasco and of course his dealings with Trump.

Attribution: Jerry Oppenheimer,

Full article: Comey Payday

Before He Brought Down Nixon, Carl Bernstein Was A Far-Out Rock And Roll Writer

And while Bernstein was using his out-there-est prose to warn readers that they were about to be hit by something totally new and different and utterly fabulous—all of which holds up just swell—the Sgt. Pepper write-up that ran in the Post’s rival daily, the Washington Star, now shows us how much growing up the rock criticism field still had to do a half-century ago:

Attribution: Dave McKenna,
Full article: Before Watergate