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  1. #1
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    Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    The Supreme Court has reopened a challenge to key provisions of the Affordable Care Act — one that was dismissed by a lower court last year on technical grounds, but could now become the staging ground for a new judicial fight over a piece of the law called the employer mandate.
    The challenge was brought by Liberty University, which charged that the law’s individual and employer mandates violate the institution’s religious freedom. The Virginia-based Christian college, founded by Jerry Falwell, argues that the law’s requirement that large organizations provide employees insurance could lead to the forced funding of abortion, which it says violates the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
    The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the case in September of last year on the grounds that taxpayers cannot challenge the legality of taxes that haven’t yet been assessed against them — a consequence of a century-and-a-half old law called the Anti-Injunction Act. But in its Affordable Care Act ruling this past June, the Supreme Court dismissed the standing argument, implicitly conceding that taxpayers may challenge the ACA’s mandates, even ones that have yet to take effect — providing Liberty an opening to move forward with its case. The Court agreed, and has ordered the Fourth Circuit to rehear Liberty’s case.
    The Court’s move is largely a formality to ensure that the Fourth Circuit addresses the Liberty case on the merits. But the lawsuit does involve an issue that the courts have not yet considered. The individual mandate has already been upheld, but the employer mandate was not addressed in Supreme Court arguments earlier this year. Which means the Supreme Court may have breathed new life into anti-ACA jurisprudence.
    “[I]t sounds like there is a merits argument in this case that was not considered by the Court last term,” said Brian Fitzpatrick, a professor at Vanderbilt University School of Law and a former clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia. “In light of the Court’s conclusion contra the Fourth Circuit on the threshold issue of the Anti-Injunction Act, I would have expected [this] if there was any plausible difference between this case and the cases last term.”
    Tim Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University who supports the Affordable Care Act, argues that the Fourth Circuit panel that dismissed the lawsuit telegraphed that it would have ruled against Liberty on the merits anyway.
    “Liberty will almost certainly lose again, and the Supreme Court will not hear the case again,” predicts Jost.
    The Obama administration doesn’t appear worried. Weeks ago, the Justice Department did not object to the case moving forward.

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2...re.php?ref=fpa

  2. #2

    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will take up California's ban on same-sex marriage, a case that could give the justices the chance to rule on whether gay Americans have the same constitutional right to marry as heterosexuals.

    The justices said Friday they will review a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the state's gay marriage ban, though on narrow grounds. The San Francisco-based appeals court said the state could not take away the same-sex marriage right that had been granted by California's Supreme Court.

    The court also will decide whether Congress can deprive legally married gay couples of federal benefits otherwise available to married people. A provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act limits a range of health and pension benefits, as well as favorable tax treatment, to heterosexual couples.

    The cases probably will be argued in March, with decisions expected by late June.

    Gay marriage is legal, or will be soon, in nine states — Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington — and the District of Columbia. Federal courts in California have struck down the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, but that ruling has not taken effect while the issue is being appealed.

    Voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington approved gay marriage earlier this month.

    But 31 states have amended their constitutions to prohibit same-sex marriage. North Carolina was the most recent example in May. In Minnesota earlier this month, voters defeated a proposal to enshrine a ban on gay marriage in that state's constitution.

    http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2012/1...-marriage-ban/
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  3. #3
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    (Reports are the arguments did not go well for the Voting Rights Act supporters)

    Conservative Justices Voice Skepticism on Voting Law
    By ADAM LIPTAK
    Published: February 27, 2013 496 Comments

    WASHINGTON — A central provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 may be in peril, judging from tough questioning on Wednesday from the Supreme Court’s more conservative members.

    Justice Antonin Scalia called the provision, which requires nine states, mostly in the South, to get federal permission before changing voting procedures, a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asked a skeptical question about whether people in the South are more racist than those in the North. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy asked how much longer Alabama must live “under the trusteeship of the United States government.”

    The court’s more liberal members, citing data and history, said Congress remained entitled to make the judgment that the provision was still needed in the covered jurisdictions.

    “It’s an old disease,” Justice Stephen G. Breyer said of efforts to thwart minority voting. “It’s gotten a lot better. A lot better. But it’s still there.”

    Four of the nine-member court’s five more conservative members asked largely skeptical questions about the law. The fifth, Justice Clarence Thomas, did not ask a question, as is typical.

    The law, a landmark achievement of the civil rights era was challenged by Shelby County, Ala., which said that the requirement had outlived its usefulness and that it imposed an unwarranted badge of shame on the affected jurisdictions.

    The county’s lawyer, Bert W. Rein, said that the “problem to which the Voting Rights Act was addressed is solved.”

    In reauthorizing the provision for 25 years in 2006, Congress did nothing to change the criteria for inclusion under the provision, relying instead on a formula based on historic practices and voting data from elections held decades ago. Much of the argument concerned that coverage formula.

    Should the court strike down the coverage formula, Congress would be free to take a fresh look at what jurisdictions should be covered. But making distinctions among the states based on new criteria may not be politically feasible.


    Rest of story: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/28/us...w.html?hp&_r=0
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  4. #4
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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Justice Sonya Sotomayor said that Shelby County, Ala., probably wasn't the right part of the country to be challenging a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

    "Some parts of the South have changed. Your county pretty much hasn't," said Sotomayor. "You may be the wrong party bringing this."


    From: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...n_2768942.html
    I'm troubled at the direction this appears to be going.
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  5. #5

    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Oh, DEAR!!! This could be a really busy thread for us over the next month or so.....Voting Rights Act to be followed soon by the same-sex marriage appeals.
    I got up early to watch Rachel Maddow on re-play since I hadn't been able to watch her last evening. This was a great show, even by Rachel's high standards. She apparently was present for much of the Supreme Court discussion. Her own comments were very insightful, as usual, but it was also very powerful to have John Lewis on the show on this occasion (her coverage of the Senate Committee hearings on gun control were also great, but not relevant to this thread).
    I think Kirkus really nailed my feelings on this just above: "I'm troubled at the direction this appears to be going." Some random comments from me:
    Given actual events in many states over the last 6 months, how could anyone who has not had his head in the sand for 6 months even consider the need to LESSEN oversight of voting rights?
    Justice Scalia's comments show just what a racist lives under those robes. Even by his low standards, the "racial entitlement" comment was horrendous.
    As usual, Clarence Thomas said nothing. He is obviously about the biggest embarrassment as a Supreme Court Justice there has ever been. But I wonder how he thinks he is going to look when he votes to dismantle this act.
    At least this gives my European friends yet another thing other than gun control over which to be aghast about our politics. (I'm sure I've mentioned this, but I have some incredibly well-read, intelligent, and yes, liberal, European friends who follow our politics more closely than about 99.9% of Americans and never hesitate to point out the stupidity of what goes on here. They will never get over the re-election of Bush in 2004, but unfortunately, ongoing events never disappoint.)

    Oh well.....we REALLY need some major change in the make-up of our Supreme Court.....unfortunately, those 5 appear likely to be around for a while, at least. GH

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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Part of the problem with the case is that Roberts (who continues to seriously impress me - I think he will be remembered as one of the greats one day) specifically stated in 2009 that Congress should address the very issue that was before the court yesterday - the formula for determining which jurisdictions needed to be subject to continuing federal monitoring. And Congress did not act (little surprise there, given how horrendous both houses of our legislature have become).

    I think there's a very good chance the provision gets tossed. Which is tragic, and yet could have been totally averted.
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  7. #7

    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Moose.....very enlightening update. GH

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    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Quote Originally Posted by GlennHarman View Post
    Moose.....very enlightening update. GH
    Thanks, Glenn.

    To this day, I am astounded by the lack of attention the SC gets, even by folks who claim to be politically conscious. It is such an incredibly powerful body, capable of upending society by way of a simple 5 vote majority. I had a civics teacher in high school who I greatly admired, and she was the person that ignited my interest in the Court, which I have maintained to this day.

    I started reading the Sunday NYTimes because it featured the best Court coverage. I started listening to NPR (and particularly Nina T) because of her excellent coverage and analysis of Court issues.

    I find the power, and the personalities, that make up the Court absolutely fascinating. And it continues to excite me some 35+ years since I started following it with interest.
    Last edited by Moose; 02-28-2013 at 08:17 AM.
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  9. #9

    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    I had a civics teacher in high school who I greatly admired, and she was the person that ignited my interest in the Court, which I have maintained to this day.
    I don't think they even teach civics anymore.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  10. #10

    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Full transcript of the SC arguments including Scalia's comments and Sotomayor's question.

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arg...ipts/12-96.pdf
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




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

    Damn, You have GOT be on your toes with the Supremes. Yikes!
    Open wide.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by GlennHarman View Post
    Oh, DEAR!!! This could be a really busy thread for us over the next month or so.....Voting Rights Act to be followed soon by the same-sex marriage appeals.
    I got up early to watch Rachel Maddow on re-play since I hadn't been able to watch her last evening. This was a great show, even by Rachel's high standards. She apparently was present for much of the Supreme Court discussion. Her own comments were very insightful, as usual, but it was also very powerful to have John Lewis on the show on this occasion (her coverage of the Senate Committee hearings on gun control were also great, but not relevant to this thread).
    I think Kirkus really nailed my feelings on this just above: "I'm troubled at the direction this appears to be going." Some random comments from me:
    Given actual events in many states over the last 6 months, how could anyone who has not had his head in the sand for 6 months even consider the need to LESSEN oversight of voting rights?
    Justice Scalia's comments show just what a racist lives under those robes. Even by his low standards, the "racial entitlement" comment was horrendous.
    As usual, Clarence Thomas said nothing. He is obviously about the biggest embarrassment as a Supreme Court Justice there has ever been. But I wonder how he thinks he is going to look when he votes to dismantle this act.
    At least this gives my European friends yet another thing other than gun control over which to be aghast about our politics. (I'm sure I've mentioned this, but I have some incredibly well-read, intelligent, and yes, liberal, European friends who follow our politics more closely than about 99.9% of Americans and never hesitate to point out the stupidity of what goes on here. They will never get over the re-election of Bush in 2004, but unfortunately, ongoing events never disappoint.)

    Oh well.....we REALLY need some major change in the make-up of our Supreme Court.....unfortunately, those 5 appear likely to be around for a while, at least. GH
    Bingo!
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  13. #13

    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirkus View Post
    I'm troubled at the direction this appears to be going.
    I'm not. Let them talk it all out. And I mean all of it. After that, whatever will be will be.

    But I'm not troubled.


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

    Tonight on Jon Stewart's show, Rachel Maddow called Justice Scalia a troll. Like internet trolls.
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  15. #15

    Re: Supreme Court Watch 2012-2013

    "Troll" is a more polite word than I would have used. GH

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