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Old Jun 20, 2013, 09:04 AM   #1
mcrain
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SCOTUS decisions coming today...

Live blog here: http://www.scotusblog.com/

(edit1) Descamps - In Plain English, it is now harder for the government to use the facts of a prior conviction to enhance a federal criminal sentence.

(edit2) American Express- The Federal Arbitration Act enforces a class action arbitration waiver; cannot defeat the waiver on the ground that individual arbitration is too expensive. (L vs R ideological decision)

In Plain English, this means that if you have a contract with a business in which you agree to arbitrate a dispute but it says you can't get together with other plaintiffs in a "class action," that contract will be enforced, even if it may be too expensive for you to pursue your own claim given what you might win.

(edit3)
Next AID. The Court holds that the policy violates the First Amendment by compelling affirmation of a belief outside the scope of the program.

The vote is 6-2.

The Chief Justice writes the majority, with Justices Scalia and Thomas dissent.

No more decisions today.

Last edited by mcrain; Jun 20, 2013 at 09:18 AM.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 10:27 AM   #2
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Looking at the rest of the rest of the cases left over from 2012, that leaves the 3 biggest cases in recent history:

Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. This is known as the "Baby Veronica" case. this involves the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, and if it can be used to block a voluntarily and legally initiated adoption of an Indian baby girl by non-Indian parents.

Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. This is over the use of the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment and its use concerning race in undergraduate admissions.

And as we all are waiting for...

Hollingsworth v. Perry. Prop. 8. Nothing more to be said.

So far, the decisions we're waiting on are only for arguing the merits, not the actual cases.. yet.

BL.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 01:03 PM   #3
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Not happening today. Will have to wait til next week.
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Old Jun 22, 2013, 12:43 AM   #4
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I'm not sure your synopsis of the Descamps case is quite accurate. The Descamps case makes perfect sense and the salient point is the court is willing to do fact finding to arrive at the correct decision.
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 10:20 AM   #5
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And then there were two.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...s is reporting that SCOTUS has effectively punted on the Fisher case (read: affirmative action), and sent it back to the lower courts for another review.

Quote:
Supreme Court sends back University of Texas race admissions plan to lower court

By MARK SHERMAN
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has sent a Texas case on race-based college admissions back to a lower court for another look.

The court's 7-1 decision Monday leaves unsettled many of the basic questions about the continued use of race as a factor in college admissions.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, said a federal appeals court needs to subject the University of Texas admission plan to the highest level of judicial scrutiny.

The compromise ruling throws out the decision by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the Texas admission plan.

Kennedy said the appeals court did not test the Texas plan under the most exacting level of judicial review.

He said such a test is required by the Supreme Court's 2003 decision in Grutter v. Michigan upholding affirmative action in higher education.

"As the Court said in Grutter, it remains at all times the university's obligation to demonstrate, and the judiciary's obligation to determine, that admissions processes `ensure that each applicant is evaluated as an individual and not in a way that makes an applicant's race or ethnicity the defining feature of his or her application,'" Kennedy said.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the lone dissenter. "In my view, the courts below adhered to this court's pathmarking decisions and there is no need for a second look," Ginsburg said in a dissent she read aloud.

Justice Clarence Thomas, alone on the court, said he would have overturned the high court's 2003 ruling.

Justice Elena Kagan stayed out of the case, presumably because she had some contact with it at an earlier stage when she worked in the Justice Department.

Abigail Fisher, a white Texan, sued the university after she was denied a spot in 2008. She has since received her undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University.

The challenge to the Texas plan gained traction in part because the makeup of the court has changed since the last time the justices ruled on affirmative action in higher education in 2003. Then, Justice Sandra O'Connor wrote the majority opinion that held that colleges and universities can use race in their quest for diverse student bodies.

O'Connor retired in 2006, and her replacement, Justice Samuel Alito, has shown himself to be more skeptical of considerations of race in education.

Texas uses race as one among many factors in admitting about a quarter of the university's incoming freshmen. The school gives the bulk of the slots to Texans admitted based on their high school class rank, without regard to race. It automatically offers about three-quarters of its spots to graduates in the top 10 percent of their Texas high schools, under a 1990s state law signed by then-Gov. George W. Bush. Since then the admissions program has been changed so that now only the top 8 percent gain automatic admission.

Race is a factor in filling out the rest of the incoming class. More than 8 in 10 African-American and Latino students who enrolled at the flagship campus in Austin in 2011 were automatically admitted, according to university statistics.

In all, black and Hispanic students made up more than a quarter of the incoming freshmen class. White students constituted less than half the entering class when students with Asian backgrounds and other minorities were added in.

The university said the extra measure of diversity it gets from the slots outside automatic admission is crucial because too many of its classrooms have only token minority representation, at best. At the same time, Texas argued that race is one of many factors considered and that whether race played the key role in any applicant's case was impossible to tell.

The Obama administration, roughly half of the Fortune 100 companies and large numbers of public and private colleges that feared a broad ruling against affirmative action backed the Texas program. Among the benefits of affirmative action, the administration said, is that it creates a pipeline for a diverse officer corps that it called "essential to the military's operational readiness." In 2003, the court cited the importance of a similar message from military leaders.
If I were a betting man, I would bet that a decision on the Prop. 8 case will be made this week. Baby Veronica is going to take a lot longer, because of how gut wrenching that will be.

BL.
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 12:57 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bradl View Post
And then there were two.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...s is reporting that SCOTUS has effectively punted on the Fisher case (read: affirmative action), and sent it back to the lower courts for another review.



If I were a betting man, I would bet that a decision on the Prop. 8 case will be made this week. Baby Veronica is going to take a lot longer, because of how gut wrenching that will be.

BL.
Why do I get the feeling that DOMA and Prop 8 will be the last 2 decisions made? They're going to announce their decisions as they are on their way out of town.
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 01:50 PM   #7
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Why do I get the feeling that DOMA and Prop 8 will be the last 2 decisions made? They're going to announce their decisions as they are on their way out of town.
I personally think the Baby Veronica case will be the last one.
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 09:16 AM   #8
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Oh goody, the right wing justices just gutted voting rights!
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 10:05 AM   #9
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I personally think the Baby Veronica case will be the last one.
Quote:
The Supreme Court sided with the adoptive parents in divisive custody fight over a Native American child, after the biological father asserted his parental rights.
The justices by a 5-4 margin said the adoption by a white couple was proper, and did not intrude on the federal rights of the father-- a registered member of the Cherokee tribe-- over where his three-year-old daughter would live.
The case is Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, a Minor Child Under the Age of Fourteen Years (12-399).
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Oh goody, the right wing justices just gutted voting rights!
I'd say unbelievable, but I'm not really surprised.


And tomorrow, we hear on Prop 8 and DOMA. Oy.
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 10:16 AM   #10
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Something tells me that voter turnout in 2014 will be record breaking, especially black voters.

From 1986-2006, DOJ objections blocked over 700 voting changes based on a determination that they were discriminatory. Yeah, we don't need this.

I give it 2 weeks until new voting laws are proposed in our racist, er, I mean, red states.
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 11:01 AM   #11
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Something tells me that voter turnout in 2014 will be record breaking, especially black voters.

From 1986-2006, DOJ objections blocked over 700 voting changes based on a determination that they were discriminatory. Yeah, we don't need this.

I give it 2 weeks until new voting laws are proposed in our racist, er, I mean, red states.
Is there any sort of list on what types of changes were blocked during that time?
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 12:33 PM   #12
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Something tells me that voter turnout in 2014 will be record breaking, especially black voters.

From 1986-2006, DOJ objections blocked over 700 voting changes based on a determination that they were discriminatory. Yeah, we don't need this.

I give it 2 weeks until new voting laws are proposed in our racist, er, I mean, red states.
You mean you actually have to have proof of citizenship and an ID to vote. Oh no what is this world coming to.
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 12:37 PM   #13
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You mean you actually have to have proof of citizenship and an ID to vote. Oh no what is this world coming to.
I have no issues with having to have ID to vote. I have issues with trying to do this close to an election to disenfranchise those (predominantly poor and elderly) who don't have ID or getting one is hard. Make it easy and free to obtain an ID and I'm all for it.
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 12:41 PM   #14
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I have no issues with having to have ID to vote. I have issues with trying to do this close to an election to disenfranchise those (predominantly poor and elderly) who don't have ID or getting one is hard. Make it easy and free to obtain an ID and I'm all for it.
And what would you suggest? Unfortunately nothing is perfect.

On one hand, an ID proves (at least attempts to prove; fakes can occur) residency.

On the other hand, someone born in an alley with no birth certificate may have trouble when they turn 18 proving where they came from.
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 12:50 PM   #15
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I have no issues with having to have ID to vote. I have issues with trying to do this close to an election to disenfranchise those (predominantly poor and elderly) who don't have ID or getting one is hard. Make it easy and free to obtain an ID and I'm all for it.
I understand what you're saying and it's both understandable and reasonable to question the motives of the people pushing for reform when they do it so close to an election. The problem with that though is that elections are happening all the time....special elections, local elections, etc......nothing is ever too far off. Add in the fact that you usually only have a limited window to get something done with a state legislature and the problem is even further compounded.

To me the wait for stronger voter ID laws is a lot like people who put off becoming parents until they are "100% ready". If you wait until the completely ideal time you're probably going to be waiting forever.
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 01:58 PM   #16
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I'd be in support of Voter ID to vote if there was no registration to vote needed. If getting a Voter ID that's eligible to be used was all that was required to vote, then sign me up. Registration to vote is stupid.
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 02:10 PM   #17
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I understand what you're saying and it's both understandable and reasonable to question the motives of the people pushing for reform when they do it so close to an election. The problem with that though is that elections are happening all the time....special elections, local elections, etc......nothing is ever too far off. Add in the fact that you usually only have a limited window to get something done with a state legislature and the problem is even further compounded.

To me the wait for stronger voter ID laws is a lot like people who put off becoming parents until they are "100% ready". If you wait until the completely ideal time you're probably going to be waiting forever.

I don't think it would be hard at all. A law can be passed and not take effect until 2 elections have occurred. Plenty of time to implement it.
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 07:39 PM   #18
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And there was one (major case): Perry.

While this could be construed as a comment in itself, I'm going to refrain from commenting on the Baby Veronica case. It's too heart wrenching as a parent to see.

Background on it: the Father wasn't around before, during, and barely after the mother got pregnant and gave birth. He signed over his rights to the child to the mother prior to going to Afghanistan. Mother gives the child up for adoption. Couple in S. Carolina adopts the baby.

The problem: he's part Cherokee (don't get me into this part; 1/256th blood could make him "Cherokee"; I'll save that argument for the Freedmen thread). So now that he wants back into his daughter's life after basically having nothing to do with her, he uses the Indian Child Welfare Act to prevent the adoption from happening.

SCOTUS' ruling didn't overturn the ICWA, but instead overruled its use, based on the father not having legal or continuing custody of the child (which he didn't; he signed his rights away). SCOTUS danced a very fine line here; one I hope no parent will put a child through. it's heart and gut wrenching.

With that, I'm off to see my wife and children. I miss them.

BL.
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 07:46 PM   #19
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Why do I get the feeling that DOMA and Prop 8 will be the last 2 decisions made? They're going to announce their decisions as they are on their way out of town.
SCOTUS likes to save the big ones for last. This is nothing new.
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Old Jun 26, 2013, 09:18 AM   #20
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DOMA ruled unconstitutional in part
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Old Jun 26, 2013, 09:21 AM   #21
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It was totally struck down, not just partially.
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Old Jun 26, 2013, 09:34 AM   #22
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Prop 8 decision coming soon.....
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Old Jun 26, 2013, 09:37 AM   #23
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Prop 8 decision coming soon.....
They didn't rule on prop 8, let the lower court ruing stand.
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Old Jun 26, 2013, 09:41 AM   #24
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They didn't rule on prop 8, let the lower court ruing stand.
Yeah. Pretty much what we expected.... The court punts gay marriage back to the states instead of making a sweeping decision saying bans on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
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