Tag Archives | Supreme Court

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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Juries Are Allowed To Judge The Law, Not Just The Facts

Here is another chapter from Russ Kick’s classic bite-size Disinformation book 50 Things You’re Not Supposed to Know, published in 2003.

For more on Russ Kick, check out his website, The Memory Hole.

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GavelIn order to guard citizens against the whims of the King, the right to a trial by jury was established by the Magna Carta in 1215, and it has become one of the most sacrosanct legal aspects of British and American societies. We tend to believe that the duty of a jury is solely to determine whether someone broke the law. In fact, it’s not unusual for judges to instruct juries that they are to judge only the facts in a case, while the judge will sit in judgment of the law itself. Nonsense.

Juries are the last line of defense against the power abuses of the authorities. They have the right to judge the law. Even if a defendant committed a crime, a jury can refuse to render a guilty verdict. Among the main reasons why this might happen, according to attorney Clay S. Conrad:

When the defendant has already suffered enough, when it would be unfair or against the public interest for the defendant to be convicted, when the jury disagrees with the law itself, when the prosecution or the arresting authorities have gone “too far” in the single-minded quest to arrest and convict a particular defendant, when the punishments to be imposed are excessive or when the jury suspects that the charges have been brought for political reasons or to make an unfair example of the hapless defendant …

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The Supreme Court Has Ruled That You’re Allowed to Ingest Any Drug, Especially If You’re An Addict

Another chapter from my book 50 Things You’re Not Supposed to Know, published in 2003.

For more on me, check out: The Memory Hole.

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Supreme SealIn the early 1920s, Dr. Linder was convicted of selling one morphine tablet and three cocaine tablets to a patient who was addicted to narcotics. The Supreme Court overturned the conviction, declaring that providing an addicted patient with a fairly small amount of drugs is an acceptable medical practice “when designed temporarily to alleviate an addict’s pains.” (Linder v. United States.)

In 1962, the Court heard the case of a man who had been sent to the clink under a California state law that made being an addict a criminal offense. Once again, the verdict was tossed out, with the Supremes saying that punishing an addict for being an addict is cruel and unusual and, thus, unconstitutional. (Robinson v. California.)

Six years later, the Supreme Court reaffirmed these principles in Powell v.Read the rest

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U.S. Supreme Court Set To Extend Gun Rights

Handguns. Photo: Joshuashearn (CC)

Handguns. Photo: Joshuashearn (CC)

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a landmark gun rights case that could apply the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms to both cities and states. Warren Richey reports for the Christian Science Monitor:

The US Supreme Court appears to be on verge of extending the constitutional protection of the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms to every jurisdiction in the nation.

During an hour-long oral argument at the high court on Tuesday, several justices exhibited a willingness to enforce their landmark 2008 gun-rights decision at the state and local level.

If they do so, the decision may doom not only the Chicago handgun ban at the center of Tuesday’s case, but other handgun bans and some of the toughest state and local gun-control laws in the country.

The only remaining question in McDonald v. Chicago was which constitutional mechanism the majority justices might use to apply the 2008 holding to state and local governments.

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Maybe They Are After Us

David R. Jones, Esq., President and CEO, Community Service Society of New York, at Huffington Post:

I’ve always been particularly contemptuous of conspiracy theories, whether it’s U.N. sponsored black helicopters, the dangers of the Trilateral Commission, or alien abduction. It’s never been the way I see things, although as a kid I had a period of concern over sitting on toilets and baby alligators that kids bought at the circus and flushed into New York City sewers.

But now I am joining mainstream America in its paranoia. This week we’ve witnessed the dissolution of ACORN, the leading national advocacy group for the poor, shut down with the active help of the Congress from both parties, and the stunning decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission which allows unlimited spending by corporations and labor unions in political campaigns. ACORN was forced out of business despite the fact that the expose´ that led to repeated attacks on it was perpetrated by a conservative activist now charged with a wiretapping attempt against U.S.

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