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  1. #31
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    I haven't had the time to look, but I'm curious if RBG gave any indication of how she was leaning on the Prop 8 case. She's made a fair amount of noise in the time leading up to the case about how she felt Roe was decided incorrectly - she thought only the Texas law should have been invalidated, and the Court should have allowed the states more time to grapple with the abortion issue in their own legislatures. A lot of pundits seem to think she's likely to pursue that same line of reasoning here - rule on the unconstitutionality of Prop 8, but not go so far as to recognize a right to marry under the Federal Constitution, and instead leaving it (for now) to the state legislatures to act.
    The only quote I have seen thus far as to RBG was a question where she basically said something to the effect, "Why is this case here?" I'm oversimplifying of course, but that was the general gist of it. The thing is that the line and tone of questioning doesn't always reflect how individual justices ultimately vote. But you know that already since you follow the court so closely.

  2. #32
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Moose, I found a full transcript of today's SCOTUS powwow.

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arg...ts/12-144a.pdf

  3. #33
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
    Moose, I found a full transcript of today's SCOTUS powwow.

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arg...ts/12-144a.pdf
    Thanks Dry. Looking forward to reading it later.
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  4. #34
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    I think the case before the court tomorrow is much more important to marriage equality.

    I can see them sending the Prop. 8 case back to the last court's decision, which would, if I understand it correctly, reverse Prop. 8.
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  5. #35
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    I think "skim milk marriage" is the best line of the two days of hearings. That's one of the many reasons I will greatly miss RBG when she steps down so Obama can appoint another liberal justice prior to the end of his term retires.
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  6. #36

    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    I watched all of the MSNBC coverage of yesterday's SCOTUS hearings. RBG was the star as far as I am concerned. But also, the lawyer against DOMA was wonderful. Her answers were so incredibly insightful. I feel like they made an amazing case for the UNconstitutionality of DOMA, especially basing their arguments on the incredibly numerous ways that people legally married are now being treated differently due to DOMA. And that led to RBG's "skim-milk marriage" quote, surely one of the best things ever said at SCOTUS. As obvious as this decision seems to me, it is still likely that this will be a 5-4 decision. The totally embarrassing three (Alito, Scalia, and Thomas) will almost surely vote to uphold DOMA, so we have to hope for Kennedy (quite likely) and maybe even Roberts (less likely, but a chance for 6-3 there) to get rid of this obviously discriminatory law. GH

  7. #37

    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    March 29, 2013

    Who Wanted to Take the Case on Gay Marriage? Ask Scalia

    By ADAM LIPTAK

    WASHINGTON — Why did the Supreme Court agree in December to hear a major same-sex marriage case and then seem to think it had made a terrible mistake on Tuesday when it came time for arguments?

    The answer lies in the gap between two numbers. It takes four votes to hear a case and five to decide one.

    If nothing else, this week’s arguments provided a telling glimpse into the process through which the court selects its docket, one that is usually shrouded in exceptional secrecy. The arguments also cleared up most of the mystery of whose idea it had been to hear the case, a challenge to Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

    As it turns out, it would seem that the conservative members of the court, making a calculation that their chances of winning would not improve with time, were behind the decision to take up the volatile subject.

    The aha moment came on Tuesday.

    After Justice Anthony M. Kennedy suggested that the court should dismiss the case, Justice Antonin Scalia tipped his hand.

    “It’s too late for that now, isn’t it?” he said, a note of glee in his voice.

    “We have crossed that river,” he said.

    That was a signal that it was a conservative grant.

    To see why, it will help to review the bidding. When the justices gathered for their private conference on Dec. 7, they had many choices.

    For starters, it was virtually certain that they would agree to hear one of several challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. Two federal appeals courts had struck it down, and the court almost always reviews decisions from lower courts invalidating federal laws.

    The question there, moreover, was the relatively modest one of whether the federal government must provide benefits to same-sex couples married in states that allow such unions. The case did not directly concern whether there is a right to same-sex marriage in other states.

    So the justices chose one case on the 1996 law, United States v. Windsor, No. 12-307.

    They then confronted a second, much more ambitious case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, No. 12-144, concerning whether the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. Most observers thought the court would hold the case while it worked through one on the 1996 law, and some thought it might deny review, letting stand an appeals court decision that had struck down Proposition 8.

    Instead, the court granted review in the case. That was a surprise and a puzzle. Who had voted to hear it?

    One school of thought was that the court’s four liberals were ready to try to capture Justice Kennedy’s decisive vote to establish a right to same-sex marriage around the nation.

    That theory was demolished in the courtroom as one liberal justice after another sought to find a way to avoid providing an answer to the central question in the case. The decision to hear the case, it turned out, had come from the other side.

    Justice Scalia, almost certainly joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., apparently made a twofold calculation: that their odds of winning would not improve as same-sex marriage grows more popular and more commonplace, and that Justice Kennedy, who is likely to write the decision in the case concerning the 1996 law, would lock himself into rhetoric and logic that would compel him to vote for a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in a later case.

    It is not that the conservatives felt certain they would win. It is that their chances would not improve in the years ahead.

    That leaves the question of the fourth vote. The most likely answer is that it was that of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., though he did not sound at all pleased on Tuesday to have the case before him.

    There is also a chance that the fourth vote came from Justice Kennedy himself, and his very questioning provides support for that theory.

    “I just wonder,” he said, sounding a little plaintive and a little angry, “if the case was properly granted.”

    According to “Supreme Court Practice,” the leading manual on Supreme Court procedure, it is bad form for a justice who voted to deny a petition to thwart a decision on the merits.

    “The reason strikes deep,” Justice William O. Douglas explained in 1952. “If four can grant and the opposing five dismiss, then the four cannot get a decision of the case on the merits.”

    There may, of course, have been more than four votes to grant review. Tallies are never published by the court, but they do emerge years later in the justices’ papers. Historically, the court agreed to hear between a quarter to a third of its cases by just four votes.

    The decisions are made on most Friday mornings during the Supreme Court term, when the nine justices meet in a private conference to vote on which cases to hear. No one else is allowed inside the room.

    Under the court’s internal rules, a case is added to the docket if four justices agree. Decisions to hear cases — to grant petitions for certiorari, in court lingo — are announced in terse orders, without explanation or an indication of who voted how.

    Margaret M. Cordray, a law professor at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, who has studied the process, said it lacks most of the qualities of traditional judicial work, including deliberation, accountability and majority rule.

    In examining the papers of Justices Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan Jr. and Thurgood Marshall, though, Professor Cordray said she did find “pretty strong evidence that the justices act more strategically in high-profile cases.”

    The court dismisses cases as “improvidently granted,” or “DIGs” them, a couple of times a term. But that outcome is unlikely here, said Dennis J. Hutchinson, who teaches law at the University of Chicago and is an authority on the court.

    “If they DIG it now, after all of the fanfare and all of the attention and all of the amicus briefs,” he said, “it will look like they didn’t know what they were doing at the outset.”

    Still, said H. W. Perry Jr., a law professor at the University of Texas, “it is a case that allows a lot of exit points.” The one that seemed most attractive to a majority of the justices on Tuesday was that supporters of Proposition 8 did not have standing to appeal from a decision entered against state officials.

    A dismissal on standing grounds could lead to some messy follow-on litigation in California but will probably effectively allow same-sex marriages there.

    So why did the court agree to hear the case?

    “The justices can’t quite resist getting involved in major cases,” Professor Perry said. “This is going to come out quite unsatisfactorily to a lot of people.”

    Who is to blame? That will have to await the release of the justices’ papers many years from now.

    “We won’t know,” said Michael C. Dorf, a law professor at Cornell, “for another 50 years.”


    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/30/us...dayspaper&_r=0
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  8. #38
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Not the 5-4 you would expect!

    __________________________________________________ ___________________

    Justices Allow Police to Take D.N.A. Samples After Arrests
    By ADAM LIPTAK
    Published: June 3, 2013

    WASHINGTON — Police may take D.N.A. samples from people arrested for serious crimes, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a 5-to-4 decision.

    “When officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and they bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority, “taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s D.N.A. is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”

    Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Stephen G. Breyer and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined the majority opinion.

    Justice Antonin Scalia summarized his dissent from the bench, a rare move signaling deep disagreement.

    “Make no mistake about it: because of today’s decision, your D.N.A. can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason,” he said.

    Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined the dissent. The case arose from the collection of D.N.A. in 2009 from Alonzo Jay King Jr. after his arrest on assault charges in Wicomico County, Md. His D.N.A. profile, obtained by swabbing his cheek, matched evidence in a 2003 rape case, and he was convicted of that crime. The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that a state law authorizing D.N.A. collection from people arrested but not yet convicted violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable searches.

    Collecting D.N.A. from people convicted of crimes was not at issue in the case, Maryland v. King, No. 12-207. The question was, rather, whether the Fourth Amendment allowed collecting it from people who have merely been arrested and so are presumed innocent.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/04/us...a-samples.html

  9. #39
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Quote Originally Posted by shtexas View Post
    Breyer sided with a conservative majority, and Scalia dissented? And Thomas didn't "me too" Scalia's opinion? That's so unlike this Court.
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  10. #40
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Quote Originally Posted by shtexas View Post
    Wow. Just wow.

  11. #41
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    How is it differentiated from taking fingerprints? A cheek swab is hardly any more invasive.
    “I put in the work and wanted it so badly but this guy is the best for a reason. He is such a complete player ... maybe I'll just punch him or something, I don't know.” - Andy Roddick

  12. #42
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody View Post
    How is it differentiated from taking fingerprints? A cheek swab is hardly any more invasive.
    It's not invasive. I just worry for the innocent. It's bad enough your fingerprints are in the system. Now, your DNA is in the system.

  13. #43
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Quote Originally Posted by shtexas View Post
    It's not invasive. I just worry for the innocent. It's bad enough your fingerprints are in the system. Now, your DNA is in the system.
    There's that. But there's also plausible positive scenarios... You get arrested for a crime you didn't do, and your DNA exonerates you for that crime. But then if they run your DNA against unsolved crimes (will that be allowed?), they might find that your DNA matches numerous rape kits that have gone unsolved. Again, I'm not sure that will be allowed, but that would be a good thing, yes?

  14. #44
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    I always think of this poor teenager (I think he was 18) about 20 years ago who was wrongly arrested for a triple homicide of teenagers working at a retail store here in the Metroplex. He was completely exonerated a day or two later. Reporters asked him on his way out of the police station whether it felt good to be cleared. He said "It doesn't matter. My life is over." Ok, maybe he was being overly dramatic But, maybe not. As an intensely private person, it makes me nervous just how much info can end up in a national database involuntarily.

  15. #45

    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    I don't know how I feel about a national DNA database. Can it be misused? Definitely? Can it be circumvented? I just got around to watching the season finale of SVU so I think it can be.

    By the same token I think that this could result in wrongfully convicted people, who have not had the misfortune of being prosecuted in Texas, being released.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




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