SCOTUS Round-up: Three More Five-To-Four Decisions Today

Ken AshfordConstitution, Courts/Law, Crime, Energy and Conservation, Supreme Court, Voter Suppression & Voter Security, Women's IssuesLeave a Comment

Today is the last day of the SCOTUS term, and so they issued the last of their opinions.  The two biggest cases — on Obamacare and sames-sex marriage — came out at the end of last week, so a lot fewer people were paying attention this morning.  Here’s what happened: (1)  DEATH PENALTY – The 5-4 decision in Glossip v. … Read More

Supreme Court Rules 5-4 To End The Sanctity Of Marriage

Ken AshfordBreaking News, Courts/Law, Gay Marriage, History, Sex/Morality/Family Values, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

46 years ago this weekend, police in New York City raided a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. Obviously, this is the end (we hope) of a remarkable civil rights story (despite my snarky headline).  Here’s the opinion. Reactions are about what you expect.  I will update as the day goes on.  But the important thing is that about 3 … Read More

The Other Case: Victory For Fair Housing

Ken AshfordConstitution, Race, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

It won’t get as much press, but the Supreme Court decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Community Project, Inc., is arguably as important as the Obamacare case. The 5-4 ruling (PDF) found that the housing policies could be deemed discriminatory based on “disparate impact.” This means that plaintiffs could prove discrimination by showing that the impact … Read More

Obamacare Subsidies Upheld By SCOTUS

Ken AshfordHealth Care, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

I’m actually not that surprised at the outcome.  The surprising thing was that the Supreme Court ever took this case in the first place. But the US Supreme Court upheld the challenge to Obamacare.  The opinion is here. In layman’s terms, the issue surrounded some (arguably) vague language in the Affordable Care Act relating to the federal government providing financial … Read More

Shooting The Mentally Ill

Ken AshfordCrime, Mental Health, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

I’ve written about this before — the propensity of the police to open fire on people they know to be mentally ill.  Like their current problem with minorities, members of law enforcement seem to have a problem with showing restraint when it comes to the mentally ill. Earlier this week, the US Supreme Court had occasion to address this issue, … Read More

The Battle For Same Sex Marriage: A Timeline Graph

Ken AshfordConstitution, Courts/Law, Gay Marriage, Sex/Morality/Family Values, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

I love this graph from an article in today’s New York Times.  It shows what states did for and against the idea of same-sex marriage. You can see that the anti-SSM movement got out ahead of the issue in the mid 1990s by enacting laws banning same-sex marriage.  I have no way of proving this, but I think that by making … Read More

Same-Sex Marriage Case Being Heard In Supreme Court Today

Ken AshfordConstitution, Gay Marriage, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

Today, the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Obergefell v. Hodges, one of several same-sex marriage cases brought to the Court. Obergefell v. Hodges requires the Court to answer: “1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize … Read More

SCOTUS Sends NC Redistricting Map Back To NC

Ken AshfordLocal Interest, Supreme Court, Voter Suppression & Voter SecurityLeave a Comment

Yesterday, the Supreme Court rejected a Republican-drawn map of congressional districts in North Carolina.   The justices ordered the NC Supreme Court reconsider whether North Carolina lawmakers inappropriately redrew the electoral map to consign large populations of black voters, a Democratic constituency, to a disproportionately small number of districts, the effect of which gives Republicans a clear electoral advantage.

Good Briefs: Amicus Filings in the Supreme Court Marriage Equality Case

Ken AshfordConstitution, Gay Marriage, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

Last Friday was the deadline to submit amicus briefs to the Supreme Court in support of marriage equality. Over 60 different briefs were filed by various “friends of the court,” including coalitions, organizations, scholars, and individuals. Contained within them are a variety of arguments in favor of recognizing same-sex couples’ right to marry, ranging from the more legal and technical … Read More

Alabama and Gay Marriage

Ken AshfordGay Marriage, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

Well, you know we’ve crossed over when Alabama starts with the gay marriage thing.  An order from a federal judge allowing gay marriage was to take effect this morning. But what’s that?  It’s Chief Judge Roy Moore (a state, not federal, judge) to the rescue.  If you don’t remember, Judge Moore is often known as the “Ten Commandments Judge.” When Moore, a devout … Read More

Marriage Equality Setback Might Mean Fast Track To Supreme Court

Ken AshfordGay Marriage, Sex/Morality/Family Values, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

On Thursday afternoon, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit just became the first federal appeals court in the country to side with marriage discrimination. Although the immediate effect of this court’s 2-1 decision is that marriage equality will not quickly become the law in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, the most important consequence of the Sixth … Read More

Fourth Circuit Overturns Virginia Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Ken AshfordConstitution, Gay Marriage, Local Interest, Sex/Morality/Family Values, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

The religious right continues losing their reactionary culture war, as a federal appeals court strikes down Virginia’s ban on marriage equality. And this ruling will also affect conservative bans on same-sex marriage in West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, so it’s a significant defeat for the forces of atavism. “We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, … Read More

Hobby Lobby Wins

Ken AshfordSupreme Court, Women's IssuesLeave a Comment

In a not-very-suprising 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court decided in favor of Hobby Lobby in the recent case involving religious freedom and corporations.  As a result of the holding,  business owners with religious objections to birth control may defy federal rules requiring most employers to include contraceptive care in their health plans.  This is in direct contravention of what the Supreme Court … Read More

Wait, They Can’t Do That!

Ken AshfordSupreme CourtLeave a Comment

Can they? WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has been quietly revising its decisions years after they were issued, altering the law of the land without public notice. The revisions include “truly substantive changes in factual statements and legal reasoning,” said Richard J. Lazarus, a law professor at Harvard and the author of a new study examining the phenomenon. The court can act quickly, as when … Read More