Tomorrow, is the 60th Anniversary
of the Supreme Court's decision
(pdf) in Brown v. Board of Education [more inside]
Today, the Supreme Court issued its 5-4 opinion in McCutcheon v FEC.
The Government has a strong interest, no less critical to our democratic system, in combatting corruption and its appearance. We have, however, held that this interest must be limited to a specific kind of corruption—quid pro quo corruption—in order to ensure that the Government's efforts do not have the effect of restricting the First Amendment right of citizens to choose who shall govern them. For the reasons set forth, we conclude that the aggregate limits on contributions do not further the only governmental interest this Court accepted as legitimate in Buckley. They instead intrude without justification on a citizen’s ability to exercise “the most fundamental First Amendment activities.” Buckley, 424 U. S., at 14.
The judgment of the District Court is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings.
It is so ordered.
The Supreme Court strikes down provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 ("BCRA") as an unjustified intrusion on First Amendment rights. The link also includes the concurrence of Justice Thomas and a dissent by Justice Breyer. [more inside]
Supreme Court of Canada kicks out one of its own. "The Supreme Court has dealt a stunning blow to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, ruling that his latest appointee to that court, Justice Marc Nadon of Quebec, is not legally qualified for the job."
In Conversation: Antonin Scalia "On the eve of a new Supreme Court session, the firebrand justice discusses gay rights and media echo chambers, Seinfeld and the Devil, and how much he cares about his intellectual legacy ("I don’t")." [more inside]
Full opinion (dissent at page 33):
In what is arguably the most important criminal procedure case the Supreme Court has decided in decades, the Court today announced its 5-4 holding in Maryland v. King.
The majority opinion, authored by Justice Kennedy, held that the 4th Amendment allows states to collect and analyze DNA from people arrested (but not convicted) of serious crimes.
Everyone around the watercooler is talking about supreme court justices. You want to join in, but you just don't have the time to research them! Don't fret! dalmatianparade's Quick Guide to the Supreme Court Justices
is here to help!
A free pony for every American - VERMIN SUPREME
Tomato: fruit or vegetable? In 1893, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Nix v. Hedden that the tomato is legally a vegetable and not a fruit
, botanical definitions be damned. In 2001, the European Union disagreed
, saying that "tomatoes, the edible parts of rhubarb stalks, carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, melons and water-melons are considered to be fruit". [more inside]
Fruit of the poisonous tree
is a legal term used to describe illegally gained evidence. The logic of the terminology is that if the source of the evidence is tainted, then anything gained from it is as well.
For the uninitiated, such terms used as described make for odd introductions to supreme court arguments (PDF warning) [more inside]
Today, June 28, 2010, marks the last day of the 2009-10 session of the Supreme Court of the United States. This day will mark a number of historical events
, not only in terms of the cases to be handed down. [more inside]
In a 5-4 decision in the case of Berghuis v. Thompkins
, the Supreme Court has ruled that suspects must explicitly assert their right to remain silent
under the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona
decision. [more inside]
Elena Kagan will be officially nominated
to replace John Paul Stevens today, ending weeks of speculation and controversy as to who would replace the retiring Supreme Court Justice. Significant criticism
has hounded Kagan throughout the nomination process, as she has never tried a case in court (much like Earl Warren
). Many worry
that her notable statements and writings
do not provide a clear progressive record; some go so far as to claim she is Obama's Harriet Miers.
is a Spanish judge known for his cases on human right abuses by south american dictatorships under international law, specially the case
against Augusto Pinochet. Now, after admitting a case against abuses during Franco's Era, he is facing accusations by extreme right groups
of deliberately ignoring the Amnesty Law of 1977, possibly questionable under the same universal jurisdiction that gained him international renown. In a controversial decision, the case has been admitted
by the Spanish Supreme Court, and so Garzón is facing the possibility of up to 20 years of suspension. [more inside]
NPR is reporting
that Supreme Court Justice David Souter
will retire at the end of the current Court term, pending the approval of a replacement to be appointed by President Obama. Appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, Souter's replacement will presumably maintain the balance of ascribed "left-leaning" to "right-leaning" justices at 4-5, but will increase the number of justices on the bench appointed by a Democratic president to 3. At 69, Souter is in fact the youngest of the so-called "left-leaning" justices currently on the bench.
, illustrator, author, artist, and designer, visited the United States Supreme Court. She recounts her experience and shares her reflections in this wonderfully illustrated blog
Supreme Master TV.
As advertised on the very back page of this week's Economist Newspaper. It's great when spiritual leaders just come right out and say it
. Check out the awesome paintings.
It's the first Monday in October and time for Supreme Court Justices to compare liberals, unfavorably, to the Ku Klux Klan. In his new memoir
, released on the first day of the Supreme Court's 2007 term, Justice Clarence Thomas writes that he grew up fearing the KKK, but now knows he had "been afraid of the wrong white people all along. My worst fears had come to pass not in Georgia but in Washington, D.C., where I was being pursued not by bigots in white robes but by left-wing zealots draped in flowing sanctimony. "
No small man, he also comments on Anita Hill's bad breath. Slate's spectacular legal columnist, Dahlia Lithwick, notes that "in the few hundred pages of his new book, Thomas has managed to undo years of effort by his colleagues to depoliticize the judicial branch."
As usual, only Jon Stewart
can make us laugh through the tears.
A very big day for the Supreme Court. In Morse v. Fredrick
, the Court ruled that a school could suspend a child for holding up a "Bong HiTs for Jesus" banner. (Previous post here
). In Hein v. Freedom from Religion
, the Court held that taxpayers lacked standing to challenged Faith Based Initiatives (previous discussions
). In Wilke v. Robbins
, the Court held that land owners do not have Bivens claims if the federal government harasses landowners for easements. In FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life
, the Court held that the portion of the campaign finance law which had blackout periods before elections on issue advocacy advertising was an unconstitutional restriction of speech (other
). This Thursday, the Justices will deliver their last opinions of the term, including a death penalty case
and the school assignment cases
. (Opinions are .pdfs)
Today SCOTUS will hear a case
to decide the scope of what can and cannot be patented. At the heart of this case
lies the decision about whether a patent can validly include a step of ‘correlating a test result’ that arguably monopolises a basic scientific relationship used in medical treatment ‘such that any doctor necessarily infringes the patent merely by thinking about the relationship
after looking at a test result.’ If as expected the court uses this as an opportunity to reign in the scope of what can be patented this will surely be a victory for common sense.
The Supreme Court's Big Day
The court chose not to review the controversy surrounding "reporter's privilege"
in withholding the names of confidential sources; meaning reporters may continue to be jailed or fined for refusing to name sources in court.
, the Court decided 6-3
that cable providers did not have to allow competitors to access their lines (the way DSL companies do). FCC opponents had been hopeful the Court would find the other way, opening new markets for competition and service options.
The Court ruled one of two
Ten Commandment displays are unconstitutional. The decalogue display on a courthouse wall in Kentucky was found 5-4
to be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion because it was serving a religious purpose. However, the Ten Commandments display on the grounds of Texas' state capitol were found to be constitutional.
The Court finally decided the MGM v Grokster case
. The Court found unanimously
that the file sharing service can be held liable
for the copyright infringement of their users.
Blogging it Live
from outside SCOTUS and MGM vs. Grokster
, it's NickD.
Apparently, thousands of Ten Commandments monuments around the country began their lives as promos for the 1956 movie "The Ten Commandments"
(Including the one in the case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month). "The stars of the movie, Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner and Martha Scott, attended many of the dedications."
Transcripts of the March 2nd arguments here
. This was also pointed out on the NPR radio comedy program "Wait, Wait - Don't Tell Me"
(click the "Listen" link next to "Opening Panel Round: The Supreme Court and Cecil B. DeMille"). Does/should this affect your views on the case? Is this a minor detail, or is it an under-reported fact in the U.S. media?
Canada's Supreme Court Trashes Citizens' Property Rights.
Canada's Supreme Court ruled: “Parliament has the right to expropriate property, even without compensation, if it has made its intention clear and, in s. 5.1(4), Parliament's expropriative intent is clear and unambiguous.”
The Supreme Court ruling also stated: “Lastly, while substantive rights may stem from due process, the Bill of Rights does not protect against the expropriation of property by the passage of unambiguous legislation.”
M.P. Breitkreuz notes "They even ruled that the Bill of Rights ‘does not impose on Parliament the duty to provide a hearing before the enactment of legislation.’ So if the property rights guarantees in the Canadian Bill of Rights don’t protect an individual’s fundamental property rights, what good are they?"