At 85, Barbara Cook Joins the Supremes

Where to hear some great music in the nation’s capital? If you’re a fan of orchestral music, opera, jazz or musical theater, there’s The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Should you prefer a more intimate venue, there’s Blues Alley. But would you ever think of the U.S. Supreme Court? Highly doubtful, to say the least. As it turns out, however, the court’s nine justices aren’t so completely consumed with weighty matters that they can’t take an occasional …

Can a Company Patent Your Genes (and Make a Boatload)?

If there’s a medical test that could save your life, should one company have the power to set its cost so high that few people could afford it? And what if the thing that makes the company’s test exclusive is a government-issued patent on a part of the human body? That’s what is at stake in a case the U.S. Supreme Court heard April 15 that could determine whether some biotech companies, by patenting particular human genes, can completely control …

Generation by Generation, Where Voters Stand on Same-Sex Marriage

As the U.S. Supreme Court took up two seminal cases on same-sex marriage, the media speculated about whether the justices were in step with public opinion. But what is the public’s opinion? When you look at the issue by generation, there’s a wide divide. More members of Generation X (born 1965-1980) and Millennials (born after 1980) favor marriage equality than oppose it, according to a Pew Research Center poll in March. Not so for the Silent Generation (born 1928-1945) or boomers …

Justice Kagan’s 55+ Curveball

The surprise entrance of an older couple caused quite a stir at the U.S. Supreme Court’s first day of arguments about same-sex marriage. Justice Elena Kagan summoned the pair from her imagination, and it seems safe to say that Charles J. Cooper, the lawyer representing proponents of limiting marriage, never saw them coming. Here’s how Kagan described them: They’re both over 55 years old, apparently heterosexual and they want to get married. Oh, and she’s past her childbearing years, though …