Last week Montana's Supreme Court ruled 5-2 to essentialy ignore Citizens United. Even Justice James C. Nelson one of the 2 dissenters had this to say about the Citizens United decision:
"Corporations are not persons. Human beings are persons, and it is an affront to the inviolable dignity of our species that courts have created a legal fiction which forces people — human beings — to share fundamental, natural rights with soulless creatures of government,"Of course the prediction is an overturn of the Montana ruling, but some hope that now given the real world examples of the modern SuperPac Justice Kennedy will at least revisit some of his earlier justification. (the ruling in question: Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Attorney Generalpdf)
Sotomayor, Kagan shift Supreme Court debates to the left. The liberal wing is no longer drowned out by Scalia and his fellow conservatives during oral arguments.
After sending strong signals by hiring just one clerk, Justice Stevens has officially announced his retirement. The retirement, which follows a very distinguished and lengthy tenure, is effective the end of the current U.S. Supreme Court term. President Obama now has his second chance to nominate to fill a vacancy left by a member of the Court's liberal wing. Among the most frequently mentioned possible candidates are Judge Diane Wood, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Judge Merrick Garland, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. [more inside]
US Supreme Court Chief Justice told law professor and commentator Jeffrey Rosen, “I think it’s bad, long-term, if people identify the rule of law with how individual justices vote.” He expressed his intention to help steer the Court away from 5-4 decisions. Now, three years later, Rosen argues that Roberts has been an activist, combative chief justice, willing to risk confrontations with the other branches of government and public opinion.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that a corporation's principal place of business is where the executive's work (HQ), not where the company does business. The practical effect of this ruling is that it will be harder to sue corporations in state courts, which are often more plaintiff-friendly than federal courts. For example, in this case Hertz employees sued the company in California, where they worked, for unpaid overtime and vacation wages. The company tried to move the case to federal court, but it was returned to state court on the basis that most of the company's business was done in California. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. Justice Breyer, writing for the court, reversed. The Court's decision (pdf format) essentially holds that a company's headquarters is where it is located. [more inside]
“I think it’s bad, long-term, if people identify the rule of law with how individual justices vote.”
Chief Justice John Roberts, decrying “the personalization of judicial politics,” describes his efforts to increase comity on the Supreme Court and to decide more cases unanimously. In Roberts' first term as chief justice, “while a relatively large number of the Court’s decisions” were unanimous, “several important, closely divided cases” were decided by 5-4 votes, with Roberts joining the more conservative justices.
On September 17, 1998, in response to an armed robbery call, Houston police burst in to the home of John Lawrence. The police didn’t find a robber (nor would they – the call was deliberately false), but they did find Lawrence having sex with another man, Tyrone Garner. Lawrence and Garner were promptly charged with “engaging in homosexual conduct,” a misdemeanor under Texas law. They paid their fine and began a long legal challenge to Texas’ anti-sodomy law. That challenge has finally reached the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, which today agreed to hear their appeal early next year. Standing in the way is the Court’s own 1986 decision in Bowers v. Hardwick, in which it held that anti-sodomy laws are constitutional. That may be about to change.
The Supremes defend free speech in what is sure to be a contraversial decision about virtual child porn. I am all for this, but I am very impressed with the court's ability to make the decision in the face of easy moral platitudes like "Kiddie porn is bad, mmmKay?"
In a small Ohio town, a fight over the right to knock on doors You are a Supreme Court Justice. How would you rule on this case?
Mickey Mouse draws "get out of jail" card. US Supremes agree to hear challenge to the 1998 "Sonny Bono" retroactive copyright extension.
Former President Bill Clinton has been suspended from practicing law before the Supreme Court Although I'm certainly not a member of the Clinton Fan Club, there doesn't seem to be any purpose served by this action. Does anyone really think Clinton is going to go back into a law practice?
Bush, by a technicality. They've run out the clock. Oh dear. This could be messy.