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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Monday, June 25, 2012

More SCOTUS Decisions But Still No Decision On Obamacare

U.S. Supreme Court
Today in Washington, D.C. - June 25, 2012:
SCOTUS:
The US Supreme Court issued 3 decision today being followed intensely by the public but not their expected ruling on the Federal Affordable healthcare Act, aka, ObamaCare. Tomorrow is the last day of the scheduled term for decisions. It is expected they will release their decision this week.  The following decisions are not listed in any order of importance and more detailed information and links can be found at SCOTUS Blog.

American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock Docket No. 11-1179
Holding: Montana’s argument in support of the judgment below was either already rejected in Citizens United v. FCC or fails to meaningfully distinguish that case.
Judgment: Summarily reversed (5-4) in a per curiam opinion on June 25, 2012.
The Supreme Court upheld their previous Citizens United decision on free speech by striking down a a 100-year-old Montana state law that banned corporations in that state from spending any of their corporate cash to support or oppose a candidate or a political party. The Court majority found that state court ruling obviously in conflict with a decision the Supreme Court had issued in January 2010 striking down a similar ban in federal law against corporate spending on politics. More Info

Arizona v. United States [Arizona Appeal on SB 1070] Docket No. 11-182
Holding: The lower courts erred in holding that Section 2(B) of Senate Bill 1070 - which requires police to check the immigration status of persons whom they detain before releasing them and which allows police to stop and detain anyone suspected of being an undocumented immigrant – should not go into effect while its lawfulness is being litigated because it is not sufficiently clear that the provision is preempted. Section 3 – which makes it a state crime for someone to be in the United States without proper authorization – is preempted because Congress left no room for states to regulate in that field, or even to enhance federal prohibitions. Section 5(C) -which makes it a state crime for undocumented immigrants to apply for a job or work in Arizona – is preempted as imposing an obstacle to the federal regulatory system. Section 6 – which authorizes state law enforcement officials to arrest without a warrant any individual otherwise lawfully in the country, if they have probable cause to believe that the individual has committed a deportable offense – is preempted because whether and when to arrest someone for being unlawfully in the country is a question solely for the federal government.
Judgment: Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remaned., 5-3, in an opinion by Justice Kennedy on June 25, 2012. Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito each filed opinions concurring in part and dissenting in part. (Kagan, J., rescued)
The Supreme Court struck down most of the provisions of S.B. 1070 but allowed for now police to check the immigration status of persons whom they detain before releasing them. The Court held that the lower courts were wrong to prevent this provision from going into effect while its lawfulness is being litigated.  More info

Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs. Docket No. 10-9646
Holding: The Eighth Amendment prohibits a sentencing scheme that requires life in prison without the possibility of parole for juvenile homicide offenders.
Judgment: Reversed and remanded, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Kagan on June 25, 2012. Justice Breyer filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Sotomayor joined. Chief Justice Roberts filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito joined. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion, in which SCALIA, J., joined. Justice Alito, filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Scalia joined. More Info

Congress: The House returns tomorrow.
The Senate will reconvene at 2 PM today and resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 1940, the flood insurance bill. At 5:30, the Senate will vote on cloture on the motion to concur with House amendments to S.3187, the FDA user fee bill.

Reacting to the Supreme Court's decision related to Citozen's United referenced above, Senator Mitch McConnell said, “In another important victory for freedom of speech, the Supreme Court has reversed the Montana Supreme Court, upholding First Amendment free speech rights that were set out in Citizens United. As I pointed out in an amicus brief that I filed in the Montana case, a review of Federal Election Commission records of independent spending supporting the eight Republican presidential candidates earlier this year showed only minimal corporate involvement in the 2012 election cycle. Not one Fortune 100 company contributed a cent to any of the eight Republican Super PACs, as of the end of March, according to FEC records. The records also showed that of the $96 million contributed to the eight Super PACs through March 31, an overwhelming 86.32 percent of that money came from individuals while only 13.68 percent came from corporations and 0.81 percent from public companies. Clearly, the much predicted corporate tsunami that critics of Citizens United warned about simply did not occur.”

Liberals who favor restricting political speech had hoped to use the Montana case to revisit Citizens United and possibly get a different result. National Journal notes, “The Supreme Court's rejection of a long-shot legal challenge to let states bar corporate and union political contributions in their own elections underscores the legal quandary in which many left-of-center campaign finance reformers find themselves. . . . Efforts to curb the [campaign spending by independent groups] through the judiciary have thus far proven fruitless Paul Ryan, senior counsel to the Campaign Legal Center, a left-of-center interest group, called the ruling ‘disappointing but predictable.’ . . . ‘This closes the door on the argument that unique facts in a certain state can be employed to overturn [Citizens United],’ said Jim Bopp, an Indiana campaign finance attorney who has spearheaded an array of challenges to campaign finance laws across the country.”

Tags: SCOTUS, Supreme Court, Arizona, SB1070, Life sentences, for minors, free speech, Citizens United, Montana, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 12:11 PM - Post Link

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