Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Jun 23, 2016 Supreme Court Tie Blocks Obama Immigration Plan
QUOTE: The Supreme Court announced on Thursday that it had deadlocked in a case challenging President Obama’s immigration plan, effectively ending what Mr. Obama had hoped would become one of his central legacies. The program would have shielded as many as five million undocumented immigrants from deportation and allowed them to legally work in the United States. The 4-4 tie, which left in place an appeals court ruling blocking the plan, amplified the contentious election-year debate over the nation’s immigration policy and presidential power.
New York Times Jun 07, 2016 The Supreme Court Is Afraid of Racial Justice
QUOTE: 40 years ago Tuesday, the Supreme Court decided a pivotal case on race and equality whose legacy has profoundly shaped American race relations...The case, Washington v. Davis, involved the constitutionality of Test 21....a long American tradition — from grandfather clauses to literacy tests — of seemingly race-neutral measures functioning in a discriminatory manner. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that Test 21’s grossly disproportionate impact on minority applicants violated the Equal Protection Clause. But when the case reached the Supreme Court, the justices disagreed.
New York Times Mar 25, 2015 Iran Case Is So Secret It Can't Go On
QUOTE: When only the government gets to speak, and does all its talking in secret, there's no check over its actions. Who is a district judge to stand up to the anonymous director of some anonymous intelligence agency? The result is not just bad for the rule of law. It's an embarrassment to the entire judiciary.
Bloomberg View Jun 02, 2014 Supreme Court Rejects Appeal From Times Reporter Over Refusal to Identify Source
QUOTE: The Supreme Court on Monday turned down an appeal from James Risen, a reporter for The New York Times facing jail for refusing to identify a confidential source....The case arose from a subpoena to Mr. Risen seeking information about his source for a chapter of his 2006 book, “State of War.” Prosecutors say they need Mr. Risen’s testimony to prove that the source was Jeffrey Sterling, a former C.I.A. official.
New York Times May 31, 2014 The True Meaning of the Second Amendment
QUOTE: For 218 years, judges overwhelmingly concluded that the amendment authorized states to form militias, what we now call the National Guard. Then, in 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court upended two centuries of precedent. In the [Heller case], an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia declared that the Constitution confers a right to own a gun for self-defense in the home.”
The Daily Beast May 27, 2014 Court Extends Curbs on the Death Penalty in a Florida Ruling
QUOTE: The Supreme Court on Tuesday continued a trend to limit capital punishment, ruling that Florida’s I.Q. score cutoff was too rigid to decide which mentally disabled individuals must be spared the death penalty.
New York Times May 17, 2014 Everyone should know just how much the government lied to defend the NSA
QUOTE: A web of deception has finally been untangled: the Justice Department got the US supreme court to dismiss a case that could have curtailed the NSA's dragnet.
Guardian Unlimited Jul 06, 2013 In Secret, Court Vastly Broadens Powers of N.S.A.
QUOTE: In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks...
New York Times Jun 25, 2013 Supreme Court Invalidates Key Part of Voting Rights Act
QUOTE: The Supreme Court on Tuesday effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval. The court divided along ideological lines, and the two sides drew sharply different lessons from the history of the civil rights movement and the nation’s progress in rooting out racial discrimination in voting. At the core of the disagreement was whether racial minorities continued to face barriers to voting in states with a history of discrimination.
New York Times Jun 19, 2013 You Don’t Have the Right to Remain Silent: The Supreme Court’s terrible—and dangerous—ruling this week on the Fifth Amendment.
QUOTE: the Supreme Court held that you remain silent at your peril. The court said that this is true even before you’re arrested, when the police are just informally asking questions. The court’s move to cut off the right to remain silent is wrong and also dangerous—because it encourages the kind of high-pressure questioning that can elicit false confessions.
Slate Dec 09, 2012 Same-Sex Issue Pushes Justices Into Overdrive
QUOTE: The speed with which the court is moving has some gay rights advocates bracing for a split decision. The court could strike down the federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, saying that the meaning of marriage is a matter for the states to decide. At the same time, it could reject the idea that the Constitution requires states to allow same-sex marriage, saying that the meaning of marriage is a matter for the states to decide....However the court rules in the California case, its very decision to consider it is a change from the caution of an earlier era.
New York Times Aug 07, 2012 Texas Executes Man With IQ of 61
QUOTE: If 54-year-old Marvin Wilson is put to death on Tuesday, it will not be because Texas denies that he is intellectually disabled, or as the legal literature puts it, “mentally retarded.” This much, the state recognizes. It just does not believe that Wilson is disabled enough not to be executed in Texas—a flagrant violation of the 2002 Supreme Court ruling in Atkins v. Virginia, which held that “the mentally retarded should be categorically excluded from execution,” period.
Nation May 11, 2012 Same-Sex Marriage Activists Look to Law
QUOTE: Several cases are winding their way through the judicial system, most of which challenge the Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996 and defines marriage as between one man and one woman. The myriad indignities that gay couples and their families regularly encounter are one reason many of them say they are fighting to dismantle the law. But the financial burden they also bear can be measured. And several court cases put that into stark focus.
New York Times Mar 20, 2012 Generic Drugs Proving Resistant to Damage Suits
QUOTE: Across the country, dozens of lawsuits against generic pharmaceutical companies are being dismissed because of a Supreme Court decision last year that said the companies did not have control over what their labels said and therefore could not be sued for failing to alert patients about the risks of taking their drugs. Now, what once seemed like a trivial detail — whether to take a generic or brand-name drug — has become the deciding factor in whether a patient can seek legal recourse from a drug company.
New York Times Mar 19, 2012 At Heart of Health Law Clash, a 1942 Case of a Farmer’s Wheat
QUOTE: Mr. Filburn sued to overturn a 1938 federal law that told him how much wheat he could grow on his family farm and made him pay a penalty for every extra bushel. The 1942 decision against him, Wickard v. Filburn, is the basis for the Supreme Court’s modern understanding of the scope of federal power.
New York Times Mar 11, 2012 Cry, the Beloved Constitution (Op-Ed)
QUOTE: Both liberals and conservatives have the American Constitution in the cross hairs. They assault the Constitution in their different ways, each with damaging effects on our nation. Conservatives attack the courts on one hand and seek to have them advance their activist agenda on the other. Liberals, when it suits them, embrace rights that have not been enumerated in the Constitution and cry for restraint only when their pet bills come under fire. The result is a national jurisprudence whetted by political appetite, with our democratic values as the victims.
International Herald Tribune (IHT) Feb 21, 2012 Justices Take Up Race as a Factor in College Entry
QUOTE: In a 2003 decision that the majority said it expected would last for 25 years, the Supreme Court allowed public colleges and universities to take account of race in admission decisions...By agreeing to hear a major case involving race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas, the court thrust affirmative action back into the public and political discourse after years in which it had mostly faded from view.
New York Times Dec 19, 2011 Among Legal Ranks, Shrugs for Gingrich’s Tough Talk
QUOTE: Many of Mr. Gingrich’s proposals would replace the judicial independence generally thought to be a defining feature of the federal system with aspects of the political accountability associated with state judicial elections.
New York Times Aug 12, 2011 Health Law Is Dealt Blow by a Court on Mandate
QUOTE: The provision in President Obama’s health care law requiring Americans to buy health insurance or face tax penalties was ruled unconstitutional on Friday by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta. It was the first appellate review to find the provision unconstitutional — a previous federal appeals court upheld the law...
New York Times Jul 25, 2011 Question of Birth Becomes One of President’s Power
QUOTE: In 2002, [Congress] directed the State Department to “record the place of birth as Israel” in passports of American children born in Jerusalem if their parents ask. President George W. Bush signed that bill...But Mr. Bush also said he would not obey it.
New York Times Jul 24, 2011 The 14th Amendment, the Debt Ceiling and a Way Out
QUOTE: former President Bill Clinton identified a constitutional escape hatch should President Obama and Congress fail to come to terms on a deficit reduction plan before the government hits its borrowing ceiling. He pointed to an obscure provision in the 14th Amendment...
New York Times Jul 01, 2011 Divided appeals court strikes down Michigan's affirmative action ban
QUOTE: A divided federal appeals court on Friday struck down Michigan's controversial ban on consideration of race and gender in college admissions....The affirmative action ban was passed five years ago in a referendum and was added to the state's constitution...
CNN (Cable News Network) Jun 27, 2011 Justices Reject Ban on Violent Video Games for Children
QUOTE: Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for five justices in the majority in the video games decision, Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, No. 08-1448, said video games were subject to full First Amendment protection. “Like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas — and even social messages — through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot and music) and through features distinctive to the medium...
New York Times Jun 20, 2011 In fight against Wal-Mart, lawyers aren't enough
QUOTE: Today's decision, supporting Wal-Mart's argument that it's just too big to be sued, is a slap in the face to anyone hoping to fight a corporation in court. It's even more troubling, however, that this glacial, and ultimately ineffective, process was the only way that these women could seek justice. Wal-Mart has never allowed its employees to join a union.
CNN (Cable News Network) Jun 20, 2011 Court Issues Split Ruling on Poor’s Right to Counsel
QUOTE: In a 5-to-4 decision that divided along ideological lines, the court said there is no automatic right to counsel for people charged with civil contempt, at least when the parent seeking to collect child support does not have a lawyer.
New York Times Jun 18, 2011 Friendship of Justice and Magnate Puts Focus on Ethics
QUOTE: The publicity-shy friend turned out to be Harlan Crow, a Dallas real estate magnate and a major contributor to conservative causes. Mr. Crow stepped in to finance the multimillion-dollar purchase and restoration of the cannery, featuring a museum about the culture and history of Pin Point that has become a pet project of Justice Thomas’s. The project throws a spotlight on an unusual, and ethically sensitive, friendship that appears to be markedly different from those of other justices on the nation’s highest court.
New York Times May 23, 2011 Russian Justice (Op-Ed)
QUOTE: ...Russia wants the world to believe that it abides by the rule of law. “It has a Constitution, courts, judges and established procedures,” said Pavel Ivlev, one of Khodorkovsky’s lawyers. But, Ivlev adds, “You also have the reality that everything is controlled by Putin and his friends.”
New York Times Apr 28, 2011 How the Law Accepted Gays
QUOTE: Gay-rights supporters have transformed the law and the legal profession, opening the doors of law firms, law schools and courts to people who were once casually and cruelly shut out because of their sexual orientation.
New York Times Apr 17, 2011 You Get the Judges You Pay For
QUOTE: An ugly, expensive campaign for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court is but the latest example of what is now common in judicial elections: millions of dollars in misleading television ads, subsidized by lobbies that have cases before the bench.
New York Times Feb 01, 2011 States Diverge on How to Deal With Health Care Ruling
QUOTE: in a few states that are party to the litigation, Republican governors and attorneys general declared the expansive health care law effectively null as a result of the judge’s ruling. They suggested they would suspend planning and implementation until appeals courts could rule...
New York Times Jan 03, 2011 A Clear Danger to Free Speech
QUOTE: THE so-called Shield bill, which was recently introduced in both houses of Congress in response to the WikiLeaks disclosures, would amend the Espionage Act of 1917 to make it a crime for any person knowingly and willfully to disseminate, “in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States,” any classified information “concerning the human intelligence activities of the United States.” Although this proposed law may be constitutional as applied to government employees who unlawfully leak such material to people who are unauthorized to receive it, it would plainly violate the First Amendment to punish anyone who might publish or otherwise circulate the information after it has been leaked.
New York Times Dec 08, 2010 LAWA Land: The Supreme Court hears about Arizona's other controversial immigration law.
QUOTE: The Supreme Court busies itself today with that law's Mini-Me, the 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act, which goes much further than federal immigration law in sanctioning state employers who hire illegal workers. Both today's case and the one the court will inevitably hear about SB 1070 test the same general proposition: Does federal immigration law pre-empt—or preclude—the states from passing their own, tougher immigration laws?
Slate Jun 24, 2010 Justices Limit Use of ‘Honest Services’ Law Against Fraud
QUOTE: The justices were unanimous in calling a broad interpretation of the law, which makes it a crime “to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services,” unconstitutionally vague.
New York Times Apr 30, 2010 Rare Breed Now: A Justice Who Wasn’t a Judge
QUOTE: Ms. Kagan has a glittering résumé. But it lacks the one qualification that every member of the current Supreme Court possesses: past judicial service. The possibility that she will be nominated has ignited a debate over what scholars call “the norm of prior judicial experience.”
New York Times Mar 16, 2010 Wife of Justice Thomas starts group for 'citizen activists'
QUOTE: Into the heightened political atmosphere between the Supreme Court and the Obama administration comes now Virginia Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, who is founder of a new nonprofit lobbying and political-organizing group catering to the "citizen activists" of the "tea party" movement. Virginia "Ginni" Thomas says Liberty Central Inc...
Washington Post Mar 04, 2010 Somali official's immunity case raises legal, policy issues
QUOTE: The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) protects foreign states and their "agencies and instrumentalities" from lawsuits, with a few limited exceptions. But the Torture Victim Protection Act authorizes lawsuits, and was passed specifically to ensure that those "who avail themselves of the protections and privileges of residency in the United States also bear responsibility for their actions, especially actions as significant as torture," according to a brief filed by its congressional sponsors.
Washington Post Mar 03, 2010 Supreme Court does more wrangling with gun laws
QUOTE: The same members of the Supreme Court who ruled two years ago that the Second Amendment provides an individual right to own a firearm seemed ready Tuesday to ensure that state and local gun-control laws do not interfere with it. But a majority also indicated that the states may have "broader interests" in restricting gun ownership than the federal government.
Washington Post Dec 09, 2009 Supreme Court dismisses challenge to Illinois forfeiture law: The Supreme Court dismissed a case pitting innocent property owners against Chicago police and prosecutors who held seized autos and other property for years
QUOTE: The US Supreme Court on Tuesday handed a victory to the Cook County State's Attorney and the Chicago Police Department when the justices unanimously dismissed as moot a challenge to Illinois' controversial forfeiture law.
Christian Science Monitor Nov 08, 2009 Supreme Court to decide: What kind of innovations get a patent?: The Supreme Court on Monday takes up this fundamental question in patent law. The answer holds billion-dollar implications for the US economy.
QUOTE: The US Supreme Court on Monday takes up the most fundamental question in patent law: Which innovations deserve the protection of a patent?
Christian Science Monitor Nov 03, 2009 At Supreme Court: Can prosecutors be sued for framing defendants? Two African-American men wrongly imprisoned for 25 years filed a lawsuit against prosecutors for fabricating evidence against them...
QUOTE: The US Supreme Court on Wednesday is set to consider an unusual question: Do Americans who have been framed by unscrupulous prosecutors for crimes they did not commit have a right to sue the prosecutors when the fraud is finally exposed?
Christian Science Monitor Oct 25, 2009 Gay marriage fight fuels debate over petitioners' rights
QUOTE: Is signing a petition and delivering it to the government a public act, like voting on a bill in the legislature or contributing money to a campaign? Or is it more like casting a secret ballot at the polling place?
Los Angeles Times Oct 19, 2009 Government Can Supress Torture Evidence...If It Wants
QUOTE: President Obama's May decision to declassify Bush-era legal memos does not require the government to give up more information on techniques revealed by those opinions, a judge ruled last week.
Atlantic Online, The (Atlantic Monthly) Oct 12, 2009 A Question of When Dishonesty Becomes Criminal (Sidebar)
QUOTE: Critics of the honest services law say it has two essential flaws. It allows federal prosecutors vast discretion “to go after people they don’t like or people they disagree with politically,” said Julie Rose O’Sullivan... The second problem, said George D. Brown... is that prosecutions of state officials under the federal law may violate fundamental principles of federalism.
Oct 03, 2009 Kitty Stomping is Sick: But are depictions of animal cruelty the legal equivalent of child pornography? The Supreme Court will decide.
QUOTE: If the [Supreme] court reverses the lower court's decision and reinstates the law, images showing the intentional torture or killing of animals would be deemed illegal. But technically, so might depictions of bullfighting in Spain or fishing and hunting out of season.
Newsweek Oct 01, 2009 Supreme Court decision may open up other gun laws to challenges
QUOTE: The Supreme Court's decision Wednesday to hear a 2nd Amendment challenge to Chicago's handgun ban could open the door to similar lawsuits in cities and states across the nation.
Los Angeles Times Sep 29, 2009 The Old Secular Cross?: High Court to Consider Church-State Implications of Mojave Cross
QUOTE: If the court reaches the constitutional issues at hand, (of the Mojave Cross) all sides agree it could provide clarity to the court's blurry rules on church-and-state separations. It could also carry important implications for the fate of war memorials around the country that feature religious imagery
Washington Post Sep 21, 2009 If spectrum isn't scarce anymore, can you say $#!% on TV?
QUOTE: the brief [filed by the Center for Creative Voices and the Future of Music Coalition] also grapples with a very sticky wicket that the Second Circuit [Court of Appeals] may or may not take up: whether there's a scarcity of broadcast spectrum any more, and whether the legal precedent empowered by that assumption—a case called Red Lion—still authorizes the FCC to regulate the airwaves.
Ars Technica Jul 20, 2009 9/11 Case Could Bring Broad Shift on Civil Suits (Sidebar)
QUOTE: The [Supreme Court] Iqbal decision now requires plaintiffs to come forward with concrete facts at the outset, and it instructs lower court judges to dismiss lawsuits that strike them as implausible.“In my view,” Justice [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg said, “the court’s majority messed up the federal rules” governing civil litigation.
New York Times May 24, 2009 New Justice Could Hold the Key to Presidential Power
QUOTE: “We’re losing one of the court’s strongest leaders on the side of limiting executive power to reasonable bounds. If the person who replaces Souter is different than him, the balance of power may shift.”
New York Times May 18, 2009 Justices Turn Back Ex-Detainee’s Suit
QUOTE: A Pakistani Muslim who was arrested after the Sept. 11 attacks may not sue John Ashcroft, the former attorney general, and Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for abuses he says he suffered in a Brooklyn detention center...failed to allege a plausible link between the officials’ conduct and the abuses he said he had suffered.
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