Tag Archives | Supreme Court

The Real Loss in the Midterm Elections

Citizens UnitedAaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Now that the polls have closed and American voters are either flaunting their victories or crying in their post electoral concession beers, voters can rest easy that they helped facilitate some change or did their civic duty.

Major corporations, “super” PAC’s and the candidates they backed can run at least one victory lap though, even if their horse actually lost the race. Meanwhile, once the balloons shrink and the cocktails go flat, expect more Americans to feel marginalized. Partially thanks to the Citizens United decision, this mid-term election season saw record spending on campaigns nationwide. Between party spending and independent interest groups it’s possible campaign spending will top $4 billion.

Nearly half a billion dollars (over 12%) of that money came from private interests, many of which did not disclose their political interests thanks to the GOP blocking legislation that would’ve required disclosure.… Read the rest

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Man Threatens President’s Life on Craigslist: Gets Two Years in Jail

CraigslistRobert Wilonsky writes in the Dallas Observer:

You remember Brian Dean Miller, right? Sure you do. He’s the 43-year-old Northeast Dallas man who, back in March, posted to Craigslist’s “Rants & Raves” section an item titled “Obama must die.” Among its highlights, reminds the U.S. Attorney’s Office today, he wrote: “People the time has come for revolution. It is time for Obama to die. I am dedicating my life to the death of Obama.” That was his first post. Then came another one in which he wrote, “I am actively working to kill the president and destroy the U.S. government. … This is war. Join me. Or don’t. I don’t care. I’m not laying down anymore.”

Right. That guy.

Anyway. The U.S. Attorney’s Office just sent word: Miller, whose postings were brought to Secret Service’s attention by a concerned citizen in Arlington, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge David C.

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U.S. Supreme Court Takes On Westboro Baptist Church Hate Case

WBC_protestJess Bravin reviews the upcoming docket of the U.S. Supreme Court, starting with a case relating to the Westboro Baptist Church, infamous for its “God Hates” placards, for the Wall Street Journal:

Free speech stands front and center in the Supreme Court term beginning next week, in a pair of cases testing the First Amendment’s reach in the digital age.

On Oct. 6, the justices will weigh whether the First Amendment protects a Kansas church’s campaign to publicize its beliefs by picketing military funerals with vulgar placards and insulting fallen soldiers’ survivors in online screeds.

The father of a fallen Marine is seeking damages for emotional distress from the church, which believes that God is killing American soldiers to punish the U.S. for its tolerance of homosexuality.

A month later , the court is to consider whether states can bar minors from buying violent videogames, on the theory that these games cause damage to developing minds and this outweighs young people’s constitutional rights.

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Supreme Court Extends Handgun Rights

Handguns. Photo: Joshuashearn (CC)

Handguns. Photo: Joshuashearn (CC)

What do you think – was the Supreme Court right to uphold U.S. citizens’ right to carry handguns, even in major cities? I can appreciate both sides of the argument, but as a New York City resident I’d prefer not to see handguns in an urban environment. David G. Savage reports for the Los Angeles Times:

The Supreme Court reversed a ruling upholding Chicago’s ban on handguns Monday and extended the reach of the 2nd Amendment as a nationwide protection against laws that infringe on the “right to keep and bear arms.”

The 5-4 decision appears to void the 1982 ordinance, one of the nation’s strictest, which barred city residents from having handguns for their own use, even at home.

The ruling has both local and national implications.

Two years ago, the high court ruled in a case from Washington, D.C., that the 2nd Amendment protects the rights of individuals to have a gun for self-defense.

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Supreme Court Aids Corporate Fraudsters

Is this really the time to give a “get-out-of-jail-free” card to corporate chiefs who can’t resist fraudulently dipping into the honey pot of riches that they have access to? I mean we’re still unraveling (and paying for) the massive frauds perpetrated by the banksters at AIG, Goldman Sachs and their Wall Street cronies and shills in Washington. I suppose it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the Supreme Court is in on it too, but the timing shows a particularly callous disregard for public sentiment. Report from the Los Angeles Times:

A Supreme Court ruling Thursday dealt a severe blow to legislation meant to fight public corruption and also could affect the recent convictions of former Enron chief Jeffrey Skilling and former newspaper magnate Conrad Black.

In ruling on “honest-services fraud,” the justices said Skilling and Black were wrongly convicted on that charge. All nine justices agreed that such fraud was too vague to constitute a crime unless a bribe or kickback was involved.

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U.S. Supreme Court Limits Miranda Rights

CBP_Border_Patrol_agent_reads_the_Miranda_rights_Here we go again – the conservative-dominated Supreme Court, one of the enduring parts of the Bush legacy, is messing with a previous Supreme Court decision that most Americans hold sacred: the Miranda warning. From Detroit News:

A Michigan man will continue serving a life sentence for murder after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that he gave up his rights against self-incrimination because he did not explicitly tell police he wanted to remain silent after his arrest.

The 5-4 decision overturns a ruling by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and reinstates Van Chester Thompkins’ conviction for a Jan. 10, 2000, murder in Southfield.

Detroit attorney Elizabeth Jacobs, who argued the case for Thompkins, 33, in front of the Supreme Court in March, said the ruling is “very disappointing.” The court is “diminishing Miranda rights as we know them,” Jacobs said.

Miranda rights are the rights of a suspect to remain silent.

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Mark Of The Beast: Obama’s Latest Monsanto Pick, Elena Kagan

from Doc Searls at Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Doc Searls (CC)

Rady Ananda writes for Thepeoplesvoices.org:

First, we spit out our coffee over President Obama’s appointments of former Monsanto goon Michael Taylor as Food Safety [sic] Czar and ‘biotech governor of the year’ Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture. Then we choked on our grits when he made Monsanto lobbyist, Islam Siddiqui, the US Ag Trade Representative. Now, the real food movement has completely lost its appetite with Obama’s nomination of Monsanto defender, Elena Kagan, to the US Supreme Court.

In December 2009, in her capacity as Solicitor General, Kagan intervened in the first case on which SCOTUS will rule involving genetically modified crops, Monsanto v Geertson Seed. She defended Monsanto’s fight to contaminate the environment with its GM alfalfa, not the American people’s right to safe feed and a protected environment.

The lower court ruled that “contamination of organic and conventional alfalfa crops with the genetically engineered gene has occurred and defendants acknowledge as much.

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“Democratic War Room” Unleashed For Kagan Supreme Court Nomination

The political venom never flows more strongly than during the confirmation process. Will the Democrats run the table during this process, or is The Huffington Post just playing politics?

from Doc Searls at Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Doc Searls (CC)

In the hours following the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, the predominant feature of the debate has been the swift, campaign-like operation of Washington’s Democratic establishment.

Since President Obama introduced his Solicitor General as the choice to replace retired Justice John Paul Stevens, national airwaves and DC inboxes have been littered with a steady stream of material from Kagan backers.

One party official compared it (favorably) to a presidential campaign war room, with caffeine-aided staffers shooting out “rapid response” messages to Republican attacks and driving narratives either supportive of Kagan or mocking of the GOP.

It has been by design. At the White House, a team of aides overseen by Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and run out of the office of the President’s Counsel had already outlined many of the key arguments they want to dominate the Kagan conversation: her eminent scholarly qualifications, her consensus-driven leadership qualities, and her bipartisan support.

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Who Really Won In The Supreme Court Animal Rights-Free Speech Decision?

dog FightingSo who were the winners from the big news First Amendment decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday? Free-speech advocates say the Supreme Court protected the First Amendment. Animal-rights advocates say it showed how Congress could pass a new anti-animal cruelty law, according to the Christian Science Monitor:

Free speech advocates praised Tuesday’s US Supreme Court decision striking down a federal law banning depictions of animal cruelty.

At the same time, animal rights groups are calling on Congress to enact a new, more targeted law, to prevent trafficking in photos and videos depicting acts of severe animal cruelty, including so-called “crush” videos.

In striking down the 1999 Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act, Chief Justice John Roberts said the law was substantially overbroad and could criminalize depictions of entirely lawful conduct such as hunting videos and magazines. The vote was 8 to 1.

“It is clear from the opinion and the size of the majority that the court heard the many voices concerned about this law,” said David Horowitz, executive director of the Media Coalition, a free-speech advocacy group.

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