Tag Archives | Supreme Court

Why the Supreme Court Should Kill ‘Obamacare’

ObamacareToday, the anti-Obamacare protest is happening in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, and it is hearing arguments as to why the Affordable Healthcare Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”) should be thrown out. Dave Lindorff writes on Counterpunch on why “Obamacare” should be repealed to instead force Americans to decide that Medicare should be available to everyone as it would reduce our costs substantially:

The US Supreme Court has a chance to do the people of America a big favor, perhaps atoning at last for its shameful betrayal of the electoral system in 2000 when a conservative majority stole the Florida, and national election, for George W. Bush, and for the liberal-led and equally shameful betrayal of fundamental property rights in the Kelo v New London case that, in 2005, upheld the public theft of private homes in Connecticut on behalf of a government-backed resort development. The court can atone for these betrayals by declaring the ramshackle, corrupt, hugely expensive and cynically misnamed Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional.

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Koch Brothers vs. Health Reform

koch brothers exposedDo all roads lead to Koch?

Conservative activists will rally at the Supreme Court tomorrow to encourage the overturn of the Affordable Care Act. The “Hands Off My Health Care” protest—which will feature the likes of Rep. Michelle Bachmann and Sens. Jim DeMint and Rand Paul—is being organized by Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing group financed by industrialists Charles and David Koch. The billionaire brothers provided the seed money to get this organization off the ground and have donated at least $5 million overall (possibly a lot more) to its operations. David Koch still serves as the group’s chairman.

These facts belie the image that Americans for Prosperity would like to present as a humble grassroots organization. The stories we see today about regular Americans coming to D.C. to protest evil health reform are directly attributable to the corporate interests that the Koch brothers represent.

Yet the Kochs’ impact on the current court battle doesn’t end there.… Read the rest

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Supreme Court Rules Congress May ‘Re-Copyright’ Public Domain Works

719646029Decades or centuries after its creator has passed on to another realm, a piece of art or film or literature may remain copyrighted content, perhaps forever, the Supreme Court has ruled. Ars Technica reports:

Congress may take books, musical compositions and other works out of the public domain, where they can be freely used and adapted, and grant them copyright status again, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. In a 6-2 ruling, the court ruled that just because material enters the public domain, it is not “territory that works may never exit.”

The top court was ruling on a petition by a group of orchestra conductors, educators, performers, publishers and film archivists who urged the justices to reverse an appellate court that ruled against the group, which has relied on artistic works in the public domain for their livelihoods.

They claimed that re-copyrighting public works would breach the speech rights of those who are now using those works without needing a license.

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Bernie Sanders’ Saving American Democracy Amendment

Warning that “American democracy in endangered,” Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday, December 8, 2011 proposed a constitutional amendment to overturn a Supreme Court ruling that allowed unrestricted and secret campaign spending by corporations on U.S. elections. The first constitutional amendment ever proposed by Sanders during his two decades in Congress would reverse the narrow 5-to-4 ruling in Citizens United vs. the Federal Elections Commission.

Show your support – sign the petition. Thanks Miles Jaffe for sending us the link.

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Supreme Court Troubled By Warrantless GPS Tracking

The SupremesI guess the justices of the highest court in the land (a.k.a. the Supremes) realized that the U.S. government has the power to watch any of them without any legal action … Mark Sherman reports in the AP:

The Supreme Court invoked visions of an all-seeing Big Brother and satellites watching us from above. Then things got personal Tuesday when the justices were told police could slap GPS devices on their cars and track their movements, without asking a judge for advance approval.

The occasion for all the talk about intrusive police actions was a hearing in a case about whether the police must get a search warrant before using GPS technology to track criminal suspects. The outcome could have implications for other high-tech surveillance methods as well.

The justices expressed deep reservations about warrantless GPS tracking. But there also was no clear view about how or whether to regulate police use of the devices.

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U.S. Federal Court: ’1984 May Have Come A Bit Later Than Predicted, But It’s Here At Last’

Anti1984What are the chances that the U.S. Supreme Court will restrict the use of GPS tracking devices in police surveillance? We’ll find out soon, reports Adam Liptak in the New York Times:

In a series of rulings on the use of satellites and cellphones to track criminal suspects, judges around the country have been citing George Orwell’s “1984” to sound an alarm. They say the Fourth Amendment’s promise of protection from government invasion of privacy is in danger of being replaced by the futuristic surveillance state Orwell described.

In April, Judge Diane P. Wood of the federal appeals court in Chicago wrote that surveillance using global positioning system devices would “make the system that George Orwell depicted in his famous novel, ‘1984,’ seem clumsy.” In a similar case last year, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the federal appeals court in San Francisco wrote that “1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it’s here at last.”

Last month, Judge Nicholas G.

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Wal-Mart Rolls Back Discrimination Law Suit

Photo: Joey Caputo (CC)

Photo: Joey Caputo (CC)

Is Wal-Mart too big to sue? How will this and previous law suits against Wal-Mart effect the future of how other businesses deal with discrimination? Via MSNBC:

If you’re part of a group of employees working for a major U.S. corporation with a gripe about unfair treatment, your collective voices were potentially muffled Monday.

A key attempt to tackle inequality in the U.S. workforce suffered a major blow when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Wal-Mart — with its thousands of stores and millions of employment decisions — was too massive for a group of employees to sue for discrimination using class-action status.

Wal-Mart, according to a 5-4 decision by the high court, is just too big to sue. The court’s decision is a direct hit to women seeking parity in particular. Women now make up about half the U.S. workforce and that means no other minority group seeking a class action would likely constitute such a big block of employees at any one employer.

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Justices Ordered California To Reduce Amount Of Prisoners By 30,000

800px-A-Block_at_Alcatraz_(2206096229)

A Block in Alcatraz. Photo: Nonie

What do we do when prisons become overcrowded? According the new Supreme Court ruling (for California), we can release a few thousand early, transfer them to another state (make it some other place’s problem) or build bigger prisons. At no point was there any suggestion about how to reduce the amount of people sent to prisons (violent vs nonviolent offenses, helping crime-rich communities, etc.). The rule was a decision for immediate action of reducing prisoners in hope to better their standard of living. The New York Time reports:

Conditions in California’s overcrowded prisons are so bad that they violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday, ordering the state to reduce its prison population by more than 30,000 inmates.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority in a 5-to-4 decision that broke along ideological lines, described a prison system that failed to deliver minimal care to prisoners with serious medical and mental health problems and produced “needless suffering and death.”

Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A.

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Supreme Court Sides With Police Who, Lacking Warrant, Followed Smell of Pot into Apartment

Arnold Smoking PotIn situations like this, I often ask: “What Would Arnold Do?” Well, from Predator he claimed: “It’s all bullshit! All of it!” … So I think the police and the Supreme Court are off base on this (and there is no reason why Carl Weathers has to lose an arm). From the AP via WashPo:

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled against a Kentucky man who was arrested after police burst into his apartment without a search warrant because they smelled marijuana and feared he was trying to get rid of incriminating evidence.

Voting 8-1, the justices reversed a Kentucky Supreme Court ruling that threw out the evidence gathered when officers entered Hollis King’s apartment.

The court said there was no violation of King’s constitutional rights because the police acted reasonably. Only Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.

Officers knocked on King’s door in Lexington and thought they heard noises that indicated whoever was inside was trying to get rid of incriminating evidence.

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The Battle Over FBI’s Warrantless GPS Tracking

GPS TrackerKim Zetter writes on WIRED’s Threat Level:

Kathy Thomas knew she was under surveillance. The animal rights and environmental activist had been trailed daily by cops over several months, and had even been stopped on occasion by police and FBI agents.

But when the surveillance seemed to halt suddenly in mid-2005 after she confronted one of the agents, she thought it was all over. Months went by without a peep from the FBI surveillance teams that had been tracking her in undercover vehicles and helicopters. That’s when it occurred to her to check her car.

Rumors had been swirling among activists that the FBI might be using GPS to track them — two activists in Colorado discovered mysterious devices attached to their car bumpers in 2003 — so Thomas (a pseudonym) went out to the vehicle in a frenzy and ran her hands beneath the rear bumper. She was only half-surprised to find a small electronic device and foot-long battery wand secured to her metal fender with industrial-strength magnets.

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