Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is a real dick. Plus, he's rude in court.
White Conservatives On Supreme Court Wondering Whether We Need Laws That Allow Black People To Vote For Democrats
It's tough to keep black people in the South from voting when there are intrusive federal laws trying to let black people vote. Have we learned nothing from the blockbuster motion picture Lincoln? Yes, we have learned nothing, and also the Democrats appear to be on some kind of permanent demographic winning streak, say the old white conservatives on the Supreme Court. So it's probably time to put aside these outdated old laws. Why, racism ended a long, long time ago. Especially in the Deep South.
In today's loaded questioning, the four white conservative justices expressed sincere skepticism about the federal law protecting the rights of black voters in [...]
If you haven't had a chance to read Clarence Thomas' dissent in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, which was decided in late June, you have denied yourself good times! Our Special Correspondent for Supreme Court LOLs breaks it down for us, and it's GREAT STUFF.
All case summaries via SCOTUSblog.
16. Snyder v. Phelps: "Does the First Amendment protect protesters at a funeral from liability for intentionally inflicting emotional distress on the family of the deceased?"
15. General Dynamics Corp. v. United States: "Whether the government can maintain its claim against a party when it invokes the state-secrets privilege to completely deny that party a defense to the claim."
Supreme Court nerds should give this lengthy SCOTUSblog run-down on the term a serious read. Most notable to me: "Although some cases are decided five to four, that's no more than twenty percent of the docket this Term (we're running the final numbers now). Roughly half the decisions are nine to zero. Only slightly more than one in ten cases involved the narrow liberal-conservative divide (fewer, if we don't include cases in which we presume Justice Sotomayor would have voted with the left had she not been recused)… Among all the Justices, it is in fact Scalia and Thomas-frequently heralded by conservatives as ideal members of the Court-who [...]
If anyone is prepared for a confirmation hearing, it's thoroughly actually heterosexual man-loving Elena Kagan, former Harvard Law School dean and current U.S. Solicitor General. Not only has she thought quite a bit on what a confirmation hearing should reveal, she's no stranger to the political process, having been shut out of a confirmation hearing entirely after Clinton nominated her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. But believe it, this process will be excruciating. You thought the Goldman Sachs hearings down in D.C. were mad political grandstanding? You ain't seen nothing yet! And while her confirmation process as Solicitor General was quite boring-she [...]
"The new majority opinion transformed Citizens United into a vehicle for rewriting decades of constitutional law in a case where the lawyer had not even raised those issues." —Take your time with the Jeffrey Toobin history of Citizens United. Save it for a rainy day! Oh look it's about to rain.
Back in January, we wrote about Kentucky v. King, when, during the arguments, we got to have Justice Scalia tell us that one important tool of policing was that criminals were stupid. Well, the joke's on us! Eight to one, the Supreme Court agrees (decision here [PDF]) that if the police "hear something" that sounds like evidence being destroyed, because they come a-knocking, they can break down your door. This is one of those special days when liberals and libertarians come together in horror! Hold us closer, Justice Ginsburg, lone dissenter!
63-37, the Senate approved Elena Kagan, who is either a SECRET MARXIST LESBIAN or a PRO-CORPORATE IVY LEAGUE POLICY WONK TOADY, to the Supreme Court. Both sides, however, can agree that she is suspiciously childless, and overly devoted to her work. Her duties will include not having to hear the Prop 8 case when the Supreme Court denies cert.
This song is getting tiresome and out of tune: the Supreme Court, 5 to 4, has just decided that, essentially, no state or local government may prevent our proud citizens from owning guns. But what about the states' rights, to do as they see fit? Clearly the owning of guns is not an issue regarding which we must protect our sovereign states from those meddlers in the Congress. And what about everyone's right to liberty-our right to not be shot and stuff? In light of a brutal gun attack on Saturday- three people in a crowd were randomly shot Saturday night in San Francisco at a gay [...]
Promising news for those of you who have always wanted to spend hours watching Clarence Thomas sit silently in a robe: The Senate Judiciary Committee has passed a bill requiring the Supreme Court to televise its open sessions.
This is pretty great: Above the Law pegs yesterday's "John Roberts is Retiring" rumor to a Georgetown Law class about… rumors and trusted sources. Unfortunately, most of the professor's students were too busy sexting about the news to reflect upon the actual topic of the lecture: "on the credibility and reliability of informants," and when the professor, Peter Tague, revealed he was just teaching them a lesson, they had to re-sext all their friends that, no, John Roberts was not indeed going to retire yesterday. Love it.
This "plain English" account of today's 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder—the big Voting Rights Act case this term—pretty much tells me that I am not smart enough to be allowed to vote, because I can't even understand a simple summary. I guess we beat the boss level of racism? So let's be happy about that, if that's what we decided. But as I said, I can't really tell.
"[T]he justices will vote 6-3 or 7-2 to uphold the mandate, with the chief justice joining the majority so he can write a careful opinion that cabins the authority of the Congress to do anything more than regulate the health-insurance market. No mandatory gym memberships or forced broccoli consumption. And then—having been hailed as the John Marshall of the 21st century—he will proceed to oversee two years during which the remainder of the Warren Court revolution will be sent through the wood chipper." —Here's the most optimistic view of the healthcare law's chances with the Supreme Court.
Things are being kind of crazy up in the Supreme Court right now! One thing that is happening is that there is a question before the Court of whether, basically, cops can bang loudly on your door and then decide they hear you flushing drugs and then come on in and arrest you. (Which, I'm thinking: no, not really!) So we have these notable moments on the floor, such as: "I don't know if crack cocaine smells or not," says Justice Sotomayor. BREAKING: NEW JUSTICE TOO HIGH TO REMEMBER WHAT CRACK SMELLS LIKE. And then there's everyone's pal, Justice Scalia, who comes in with this doozy. His point [...]
Today's Supreme Court decision in Doe v. Reed is worth knowing about, if you can bear with it. Corrections to what follow are welcome, and yes, I've omitted lots of the arguments in the interest of clarity. So! Last year in Washington State, the Governor signed into law a Senate bill that "ensures that under state law state-registered domestic partners are treated the same as married spouses." Anti-gay marriage forces quickly organized to put up a ballot measure to undo it. They got 137,000 to sign the necessary petition; the secretary of state certified those signatures. And then, when the secretary of state acknowledged that he was bound [...]
Crush videos-films in which attractive women smush small animals under their heels-are once again legal after the Supreme Court struck down a law preventing the depiction of animal cruelty. (Animal cruelty itself is still illegal in many places.) The Court, in a 8-1 decision, found the law to be an overly broad restriction that violates the First Amendment.