While the election is dominated by talk of the economy and Mitt Romney’s latest foreign policy blunder, don’t lose sight of one important fact: Perhaps nothing will have a bigger impact on the United States’ future than the Supreme Court. And with four justices above the age of 70, the next president of the United States could have enormous power to shape the court for generations to come. Age is not, as Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner has suggested, just a number.
In a move that human rights groups called 'highly disturbing' and in a reversal of its own 2002 ban on the execution of individuals with diminished mental capacity, the US Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stop the execution of Marvin Wilson, a Texas man with a reported IQ of only 61.
It is inconceivable that the dissent reads as it does by inadvertence. We can be sure every word of it was proofread countless times by the dissenters’ 16 clerks, all of whom know how to make a global change on a word processing program.
s Roger Ailes clerking for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia?
One might be forgiven for thinking so following last week’s oral arguments on the health-care law before the nation’s highest court.
As has been pointed out elsewhere, some of Scalia’s questions from the bench made use of the tone and even the diction of the attacks on the Affordable Care Act frequently heard on Fox News and conservative talk-radio shows.
After Scalia picked up on the idea that a government empowered to have its citizens buy health insurance or face a penalty may also strong arm them into buy some other good, such as broccoli, Charles Fried, who served as solicitor general under President Ronald Reagan, told The Washington Post that the court was trumpeting “the most tendentious of the Tea Party arguments.”
“I even heard about broccoli,” Fried said. “The whole broccoli argument is beneath contempt. To hear it come from the bench was depressing."
By Ian Millhiseruring a speech at Wesleyan University last night, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia offered a strange revision of the time he joined with four of his conservative colleagues to make George W. Bush president:
At the end of the speech, Scalia took questions from the audience. One person asked about the Bush-Gore case, where the Supreme Court had to determine the winner of the election.
"Get over it," Scalia said of the controversy surrounding it, to laughter from the audience."
Scalia reminded the audience it was Gore who took the election to court, and the election was going to be decided in a court anyway - either the Florida Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court.
It was a long time ago, people forget…It was a 7-2 decision. It wasn't even close," he said.
by Stephanie Mencimer
Score another one for James Bopp, the veteran conservative lawyer who has helped kill off much of the country's campaign finance regulatory system. On Monday, the US Supreme Court struck down an innovative Arizona public financing law that would have provided extra public money to candidates who were being outspent by privately funded candidates and independent expenditure groups. The drafters of the law had hoped that by using public funds to generate more speech, not less, they might be able to avoid many of the free speech issues that have bedeviled other attempts to level the campaign playing field.
The Roberts Court, though, was having none of that. In a 5-4 ruling (PDF) in Arizona Free Enterprise Club's Freedom PAC v Bennett, the court sided with Bopp, who represented one of the self-financed candidates who were the plaintiffs in the case. The court found that the law would force well-funded candidates to decide between spending more money and thus speaking out more, or spending less to avoid helping their opponents earn more public money for their campaigns. The court found the position untenable with constitutional guarantees of free speech.
The 5-4 decision represents one of the largest prison release orders in U.S. history. The court majority says overcrowding has caused 'suffering and death.' In a sharp dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia warns 'terrible things are sure to happen.'
By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ordered California on Monday to release tens of thousands of its prisoners to relieve overcrowding, saying that "needless suffering and death" had resulted from putting too many inmates into facilities that cannot hold them in decent conditions.
It is one of the largest prison release orders in the nation's history, and it sharply split the high court.
Justices upheld an order from a three-judge panel in California that called for releasing 38,000 to 46,000 prisoners. Since then, the state has transferred about 9,000 state inmates to county jails. As a result, the total prison population is now about 32,000 more than the capacity limit set by the panel.