Tag Archive: Supreme Court


Supreme Court rulings on gay rights are progressively pushing forward, while decisions related to women’s equality are moving in the opposite direction, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says.

Last week, Ginsburg told an audience at Duke University that on gays rights, the court speaks of “equal dignity,” but for women, the court has yet to embrace “the ability of women to decide for themselves with what their destiny will be.” [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-tg – Michael’s Blog

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In the not-too-distant future, it’s entirely possible that religious freedom will be the only freedom we have left—a condition for which we can blame the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Passed practically unanimously, with support from Ted Kennedy to Orrin Hatch, the ACLU to Concerned Women for America, the bill was a response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Employment Division v. Smith. This case involved two Oregon members of the Native American Church who were denied unemployment compensation after being fired for using peyote, an illegal drug, in a religious ceremony. Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion, which held that a law that applied to everyone and was not directed at religion specifically was not a violation of religious freedom, made a lot of sense to me, then and now. Why should I have to obey a law and my religious neighbor not? [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-mi – Michael’s Blog

The justices have retired their robes for the summer (and the interns, their running shoes), after handing down decisions on issues ranging from Obamacare to affirmative action, campaign finance to school prayer. This term lacked a blockbuster decision like the court’s overturn of the Defense of Marriage Act last year or its upholding of the Affordable Care Act the year before that, so amid the back-and-forth about what the court’s 144 opinions this term really mean, we decided to pose a simpler, bigger-picture question to some of the best legal thinkers around the country: How has the Supreme Court changed America this term?

Some argued that the Roberts Court pushed the country farther to the right, while others noted the relatively low number of 5–4 decisions and high number of unanimous ones—perhaps a sign of diminished partisanship this year. Still others homed in on particular legal issues, citing the court’s commitment to freedom of speech and religion and to the right to privacy, or particular cases with the broadest political or social impact—McCutcheon, Hobby Lobby and Riley v. California seemed to top the list. Then again, there were those who thought the 2013-2014 term was a bit of a shrug. “For the most part, the Supreme Court didn’t rock the boat,” writes one. But for most, it was another year of big decisions—and big consequences for Americans. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-cS – Michael’s Blog

“If fascism comes to America, it will not be identified with any “shirt” movement, nor with an “insignia,” but it will probably be “wrapped up in the flag and heralded as a plea for liberty and preservation of the constitution,” wrote in a 1936 issue of The Christian Century. Nobel Laureate recipient Sinclair Lewis put it even more succinctly when he warned, “It [fascism] would come wrapped in the flag and whistling the Star Spangled Banner.”

No one who has followed the rise of the Christian Right in national politics over the course of the past three decades should be surprised by Monday’s Supreme Court decision to grant corporations religious personhood. It was as predictable as Pat Robertson saying something stupid about gay sex. The hyper religious conservatives on the bench of the nation’s high court, all of whom were appointed by Republican presidents, see the federal government as being controlled by ‘secular humanists’ who wish to make war against the purity of the Christian belief system. Like the 89 million Americans who count themselves as evangelicals, they seek total cultural and political domination. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-cu – Michael’s Blog

Lying about your gun purchase is never okay, the U.S. Supreme Court held Monday in a divided 5-4 ruling that upheld a robust interpretation of federal gun law. The ruling preserves the ability of federal prosecutors to crack down on what are known as “straw purchases,” one of the most common ways of illegally trafficking a gun.

Straw purchasing works like this. An individual who wants to buy a gun with the intent to commit a crime does not go to the store himself to buy it. He gets a third party to buy it. That third party goes through the background check. That third party’s name goes into the database, and the individual who ultimately desires the gun may not be traced back to the purchase. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-7H – Michael’s Blog

In the famous wiretapping case Olmstead v. United States, argued before the Supreme Court in 1928, Justice Louis Brandeis wrote one of the most influential dissenting opinions in the history of American jurisprudence. Those who are currently engaged in what might be called the Establishment… – https://michaelvolkmann.com/2014/06/01/the-empire-strikes-back-how-brandeis-foreshadowed-snowden-and-greenwald-salon/ – Michael’s Blog

Ministros de Cristina de Kirchner.

 

A controversial Argentine law forcing the break-up of media conglomerates was on Tuesday approved by the country’s Supreme Court, a crushing victory for the government of Cristina Kirchner in its long battle with her most vocal press critic.

After four years of legal wrangling, judges ruled that the government can force private media to surrender broadcasting licenses if they exceed strict ownership and audience limits, paving the way for the dismantling of the Clarin empire with which Mrs Kirchner has long sparred. The verdict was hailed as victory for free expression by Kirchner supporters but decried as the death knell for independent journalism by her opponents. [Read the full article]

 

English: Prayer House of Nazarene Christian Co...

 

Republicans and the Obama administration have finally found an issue they both can agree on. Oddly enough, it seems that both factions agree that town councils should be allowed to open their meetings with a Christian prayer. In separate arguments to the Supreme Court earlier this week, lawyers from both groups asked the court to relax the constitutional limits on religious invocations at government meetings.

The court is ruling about whether an upstate New York town’s practice of holding a Christian prayer before official meetings constitutes an endorsement of that particular religion.  The Obama administration told the court that the prayer should not be considered an endorsement. The prayer “does not amount to an unconstitutional establishment of religion merely because most prayer-givers are Christian and many or most of their prayers contain sectarian references,” wrote U.S. Solicitor Gen. Donald Verrilli Jr. [Read the full article]

 

Within 20 minutes of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning a portion of the Voting Rights Act, the attorney general of Texas tweeted a message signaling that strict voter-ID laws would go into effect there immediately.

“I’ll fight #Obama’s effort to control our elections,” Greg Abbott, who just announced he’s running for governor of Texas, tweeted June 25, the day the 5-4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder was released. Unless the law can be successfully challenged in court, Texas residents will now have to show a state- or federal-issued form of photo identification to vote. The list of acceptable forms includes a concealed-handgun license but not a state university student ID. The omission suggests it is not voter fraud but voters unfriendly to the GOP that Abbott and other Texas Republicans are trying to thwart. [Read the full article]

 

English: Silvio Berlusconi in a meeting França...

Italy’s supreme court is due to consider Silvio Berlusconi’s final appeal against a tax fraud conviction which, if upheld, could see him barred from public office for five years and play havoc within the fragile coalition government.

In the most important legal verdict the former prime minister has pending, the court of cassation is scheduled to decide on Tuesday whether or not to confirm the convictions of two lower courts which have already found Berlusconi guilty of the charges – first in October last year and then again in May. [Read the full article]

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