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  1. #46
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Judge Scalia may be getting old and cranky, but he still has a way with words:

    "It may be wise, as the court obviously believes, to make the Leviathan all-seeing, so that he may protect us all the better. But the proud men who wrote the charter of our liberties would not have been so eager to open their mouths for royal inspection. I dissent."

    Lol

  2. #47

    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Quote Originally Posted by shtexas View Post
    Judge Scalia may be getting old and cranky, but he still has a way with words:

    "It may be wise, as the court obviously believes, to make the Leviathan all-seeing, so that he may protect us all the better. But the proud men who wrote the charter of our liberties would not have been so eager to open their mouths for royal inspection. I dissent."

    Lol
    Very good!

    And are you implying that Scalia wasn't already born old and cranky?
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  3. #48
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Three major rulings will come down this week - 1) the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions, 2) a voting rights case from Alabama which seeks to end federal approval of any local change in election practices, and 3) a Texas affirmative action case which seeks to eliminate race as a consideration in college admissions.
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  4. #49

    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    On number 2, that county in Alabama is the one next to the one I live in. Lot of people are saying Shelby County was the wrong county to bring a case like this to the Supreme Court as it is one of the wealthiest counties in the state and still is growing while the county I live in is losing people and there are only 2 places where you can renew your tags and my county has over one million people living in it.
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    The first of the big decisions is out - and it's not really a decision at all -

    SCOTUS passes on big affirmative action decision
    By JOSH GERSTEIN | 6/24/13 10:34 AM EDT Updated: 6/24/13 11:27 AM EDT

    The Supreme Court gave a reprieve Monday to affirmative action programs in higher education, as the justices revived a challenge to a University of Texas diversity program but stopped short of an explicit up-or-down ruling on its constitutionality.

    In a 7-1 decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy faulted lower courts for failing to insist that the university demonstrate that the program was “narrowly tailored” to meet its goals. The high court decision emphasized “strict scrutiny” for educational affirmative action programs, but didn’t exclude the possibility that UT or other schools would be able to show such efforts to be carefully managed to limit their impact on potential students that the school doesn’t view as contributing to diversity.
    Kennedy said the appeals court that ruled for the school, the Fifth Circuit, erred by concluding that as long as the university adopted the program “in good faith” it met constitutional standards.

    “The University must prove that the means chosen by the University to attain diversity are narrowly tailored to that goal. On this point, the University receives no deference,” Kennedy wrote. “Strict scrutiny does not permit a court to accept a school’s assertion that its admissions process uses race in a permissible way without a court giving close analysis to the evidence of how the process works in practice.”

    Kennedy’s majority opinion attracted the votes of all the court’s conservatives as well as two liberals, Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the sole dissenter, while Justice Elena Kagan was recused from the case.

    Reading her opinion from the bench, Ginsburg suggested that her colleagues were pushing schools towards programs that took race into account, but made the mechanism so murky it was hard to fathom.

    “Among constitutionally permissible options, I remain convinced, those that candidly disclose their consideration of race are preferable to those that conceal or obscure what drives them,” she said.

    Ginsburg said the lower courts had followed precedent. “There is no need for a second look,” she said.

    Kennedy and the rest of the majority disagreed. “Fairness to the litigants and the courts that heard the case requires that it be remanded to that the admissions process and be considered and judges under a correct analysis,” he wrote.

    The decision is a loss for President Barack Obama’s administration, which had urged the justices to uphold the lower courts’ rulings. However, the blow was not as severe as it could have been. While Obama has said little publicly about affirmative action, Justice Department lawyers forcefully endorsed the Texas university’s approach and urged the justices not to put further restrictions on public colleges’ use of race in admissions decisions.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/0...#ixzz2X9K9GYXI
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  6. #51
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Wait... it's not harassment unless you can hire or fire them? I don't think I understand the work discrimination decision today.
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  7. #52
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Quote Originally Posted by James7 View Post
    Wait... it's not harassment unless you can hire or fire them? I don't think I understand the work discrimination decision today.
    I think the hire/fire language went to the degree of culpability of the company itself, James. The opinion seems to state that the company was not held responsible for the harassment since the charged employee was not in a management role - and in order to find that she was managment, they would have to be duties such as the ability to hire/fire....
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  8. #53
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Watch out for big news on the Voting Rights Act - portion(s) are about to be declared unconstitutional.

    EDIT: Here's the opinion - Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act has been declared unconstitutional:

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions...12-96_6k47.pdf
    Last edited by Moose; 06-25-2013 at 08:17 AM.
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  9. #54
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    From the majority opinion:
    "Our decision in no way affects the permanent, nationwide ban on racial discrimination in voting found in [Section] 2. We issue no holding on [Section] 5 itself, only on the coverage formula. Congress may draft another formula based on current conditions"
    Ginsberg, for the second day in a row, is reading a dissent from the bench (which the Justices usually will do only if they are intensely opposed to the majority opinion. 5-4 votes, breaking down exactly how you would expect from this Court.
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  10. #55
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Here's a summary of the impact of the Voting Rights decision:

    HIGH COURT VOIDS KEY PART OF VOTING RIGHTS ACT
    BY MARK SHERMAN
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court says a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced until Congress comes up with a new way of determining which states and localities require close federal monitoring of elections.

    The justices said in 5-4 ruling Tuesday that the law Congress most recently renewed in 2006 relies on 40-year-old data that doesn't reflect racial progress and changes in U.S. society.

    The court did not strike down the advance approval requirement of the law that has been used, mainly in the South, to open up polling places to minority voters in the nearly half century since it was first enacted in 1965. But they said lawmakers must update the formula for determining which parts of the country must seek Washington's approval for election changes.

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...06-25-10-16-32
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  11. #56
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    From the majority opinion:


    Ginsberg, for the second day in a row, is reading a dissent from the bench (which the Justices usually will do only if they are intensely opposed to the majority opinion. 5-4 votes, breaking down exactly how you would expect from this Court.
    In the attachment you posted, I also noticed an opinion from Justice Thomas, stating that he agreed with the majority that Section 4 should be struck down but that he wanted Section 5 struck down as well (unlike the rest of the conservative members of the Court).

    So what does this mean? If Section 2 still holds, will jurisdictions be able to require people, e.g., people whose first language is not English, to do reading tests, etc., in order to register to vote? How far does this reach?

    EDIT: Just saw your last post. Now I think I understand. Thanks.

  12. #57
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    From what it appears, SCOTUS got tired of Congress refusing to deal with updating the formula for determining what jurisdictions should be subject to Federal pre-clearance before enacting any changes.

    But by not throwing out Section 5, they've indicated they will uphold pre-clearance, if Congress comes up with a new formula for determining what jurisdictions should be subject to Federal review.
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  13. #58

    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    All that John Birch Society/Koch Brothers/ALEC money got the results they wanted. I know the expression is "Judge not lest you be judged" but I do think there's a special place in hell reserved for Clarence Thomas.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  14. #59

    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    From what it appears, SCOTUS got tired of Congress refusing to deal with updating the formula for determining what jurisdictions should be subject to Federal pre-clearance before enacting any changes.

    But by not throwing out Section 5, they've indicated they will uphold pre-clearance, if Congress comes up with a new formula for determining what jurisdictions should be subject to Federal review.
    They didn't update it because nothing has really changed when it comes to denying citizens the right to vote. The right wants to point at President Obama to prove that they have when everyone knows the opposite is true. All those people forced to stand in line for hours proves that.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  15. #60

    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Chief Justice Roberts' Long War Against the Voting Rights Act
    Roberts has been a critic of the Voting Rights Act for 30 years. Now he will help decide whether the law's most important section lives or dies.


    When he was in his late 20s, John Roberts was a foot soldier in the Reagan administration's crusade against the Voting Rights Act. Now, as chief justice of the Supreme Court, he will help determine whether a key part of the law survives a constitutional challenge.

    Memos that Roberts wrote as a lawyer in President Reagan's Justice Department during the 1980s show that he was deeply involved in efforts to curtail the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act, the hard-won landmark 1965 law that is intended to ensure all Americans can vote. Roberts' anti-VRA efforts during the 1980s ultimately failed. But on Wednesday, when the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, he'll get another chance to gut the law. Roberts' history suggests a crucial part of the VRA may not survive the rematch.

    At issue in Shelby County is whether a major portion of the Voting Rights Act, called Section 5, is constitutional. Section 5 compels jurisdictions with a history of discrimination, mostly in the South, to ask the Justice Department for permission—preclearance, in legalese—before making any changes to election laws. Shelby County, Alabama, is arguing that Section 5 is an extreme measure that is no longer justified because racism is no longer the problem it once was. If Section 5 is overturned, voting rights groups say, the federal government's ability to ensure Americans are not denied the right to vote on the basis of race—at a time when race has been used as a proxy for party identification—will be severely weakened.

    Shelby County offers Roberts an opportunity to complete a mission he began three decades ago. When the chief justice was a young lawyer, in 1981, Southern legislators hoped an ascendant conservative movement could pressure Reagan into opposing an extension of the VRA. In June of that year, Reagan wrote a letter to Attorney General William French Smith requesting an "assessment" of the law. "I am sensitive to the controversy which has attached itself to some of the Act's provisions, in particular those provisions which impose burdens unequally upon different parts of the nation," Reagan wrote. "But I am sensitive also to the fact that the spirit of the Act marks this nation's commitment to full equality for all Americans, regardless of race, color, or national origin." Reagan didn't go as far as former segregationist and then-Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) by opposing the Voting Rights Act in its entirety, but his administration fought efforts to strengthen the law.

    Roberts was a major player in the Reagan administration's VRA policy, drafting numerous op-eds and memos for top Justice Department officials that argued for a weaker version of the law. At the time, crucial parts of the VRA were due to expire, but congressional Democrats and moderate Republicans weren't just trying to renew the law—they were also trying to strengthen the law. After the VRA was enacted, it was interpreted as barring all discriminatory voting practices. In 1980, however, the Supreme Court, in a case involving the election rules in Mobile, Alabama, weakened the law by ruling that, except in those jurisdictions with a sordid history of blocking minority voters, the VRA only forbade intentional discrimination. Civil rights activists wanted to fix that by modifying the law to make it crystal clear that all discrimination in voting practices, not just intentional discrimination, was illegal.

    Roberts wasn't having it. Voting rights violations, according to one memo he helped draft in 1981, "should not be too easy to prove since they provide a basis for the most intrusive interference imaginable." If Roberts and the Reagan administration had gotten their way, discriminatory voting systems in most of the country could only be barred when discrimination could be shown to be intentional. That would make it much tougher for the feds to intervene in states and localities and guarantee equal voting rights. The Reagan administration argued that they were just trying to preserve the Voting Rights Act, but it was really attempting to preserve a Supreme Court ruling neutering the law.

    Roberts helped the administration hone its argument. He wrote that it made sense for parts of the VRA to require proof that discrimination was intentional. "Broad aspects of criminal law and tort law typically require proof of intent," Roberts wrote in a draft op-ed in 1981. Allowing the VRA to apply in cases of unintentional discrimination all over the country and not just those places with a history of disenfranchising minorities, Roberts insisted, "would raise grave constitutional questions." In the case of Mobile, the Justice Department's voting rights attorneys eventually did prove the discrimination was intentional—by heading to Alabama and poring over the historical record to establish the election law had been passed deliberately to disenfranchise blacks.

    To Roberts, that demonstrated there was no problem with requiring the government to prove that discrimination was intentional. "John Roberts and others used that case to say anyone who wants to prove intent could do it," explains Gerry Hebert, an attorney now with the Campaign Legal Center who was part of the Justice Department team that went to Alabama. But proving intent "took enormous resources that only the Justice Department could have." More important, says Hebert, having to prove "intent" placed voting rights attorneys in a difficult position: "You basically have to get judges to call local or state officials racist."

    Despite the best efforts of Roberts and others in the Reagan Justice Department, civil rights activists outmaneuvered Southern conservatives and the Reagan White House, forging large bipartisan alliances in the House and Senate to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act in 1982. And they strengthened the law, amending it to explicitly ban all discriminatory voting rules across the country, whether the discrimination is intentional or not.

    Civil rights leaders and Voting Rights Act supporters in Congress had succeeded by embracing an idea that they had initially opposed—and that Roberts and the Reagan administration supported. It was called the bailout provision, and it provided a way for jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to prove they no longer needed close Justice Department supervision under Section 5. By accepting this compromise, VRA backers won the overall political battle.

    Now, VRA defenders are hoping that it's Roberts who is in a conciliatory mood and not set on eviscerating the law as the Reaganites wanted to do three decades ago. Is there reason for such hope? Roberts' defenders have long argued that his Justice Department writings merely show that he was being a good soldier when he was in the Reagan administration. "The defense was that Roberts was just a government lawyer taking the position of his boss," explains Rick Hasen, a professor at the University of California-Irvine School of Law who wrote about the memos during Roberts' 2005 confirmation hearings.

    But in 2009, when an earlier challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act reached the Supreme Court, Roberts sounded a lot like Reagan during oral arguments. He echoed the late president's view that Section 5 represented an unconscionable punishment for the South's past sins. "Congress can impose this disparate treatment forever because of the history in the South?" Roberts asked the government attorney defending the law.

    In his subsequent opinion in the 2009 VRA case, in which the court seemed close to striking down Section 5, Roberts wrote that the government had made the bailout provision "all but a nullity." In the three years since that verdict, however, more than 100 jurisdictions have been allowed to bail out of Section 5—more than twice as many in the nearly three decades before. It's not even that expensive to bail out; the usual cost is $5,000. The reason Shelby County hasn't been able to take advantage of the bailout provision is that in 2006, county election officials redistricted the only black city council member in one of the county's towns out of a job.

    Roberts and conservative opponents of a strong Voting Rights Act may have lost in 1982, but in 2012, they're poised for a victory: The Supreme Court appears ready to strike down Section 5. Defending Reagan's support for the bailout provision in 1982, Roberts wrote that bailout rules "should be addressed by Congress, and not pushed into the courts." Roberts was arguing that elected officials, not judges, should make the rules governing when jurisdictions like Shelby County should be able to escape Section 5.

    Has he changed his mind?

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/...ing-rights-act
    "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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