Tag Archives: Supreme Court of the United States

SCOTUS to decide if prosecution, defense can share experts in capital case

Source: National Public Radio [US state media]

"[T]he U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case that could determine the fate of two of the condemned men in the Razorback state, as well as others on death row elsewhere. At issue is whether an indigent defendant whose sanity is a significant factor in his trial, is entitled to assistance from a mental health expert witness who is independent of the prosecutors. In 1986 James McWilliams was convicted of the rape and murder of a store clerk in Tuscaloosa, Ala. It is not his conviction that is before the court, but his death sentence. … the jury, by a vote of 10-to-2 recommended he be put to death. Under Alabama law, however, a jury recommendation is not binding on the judge. The critical sentencing hearing in McWilliams'[s] case took place six weeks later and after the defense requested a neuropsychological evaluation of the defendant." (04/24/17)


MO: Church playground now First Amendment exercise for SCOTUS

Source: Raw Story

"A U-turn by Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens might let the air out of a highly anticipated Supreme Court challenge to the state's 2012 rejection of a church school's scrap-tire grant application. While the complex clash pitting the First Amendment against one interpretation of the state's Constitution remains set for an oral argument Wednesday, it could be simplified by Greitens' unexpected announcement Thursday that religious organizations can now obtain the grants. The move means Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Mo., might apply again for the grant that officials previously rejected because of a provision in the state constitution that bans state funding 'in aid of any church, sect or denomination of religion.' The move also allows Supreme Court justices an off-ramp from a case that promises to divide them." (04/15/17)


Gorsuch to be sworn in as newest SCOTUS justice on Monday

Source: The Hill

"Judge Neil Gorsuch will be sworn in as the Supreme Court’s 101st associate justice on Monday.
Gorsuch, who was confirmed by the Senate on Friday, will be President's Trump's first Supreme Court appointment. Chief Justice John Roberts is set to administer the constitutional oath in a private ceremony at 9 a.m. in the justices' conference room at the court." (04/07/17)


US Senate goes "nuclear" to advance Gorsuch confirmation

Source: The Hill

"The Senate voted Thursday to move forward with Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court nomination after Republicans took a historic step that lowers the vote threshold for high court nominees to a simple majority. Senators voted 55-45 to end debate on Gorsuch's nomination, setting up a final confirmation vote for Friday. Thanks to a procedural move that changed Senate rules earlier Thursday, a simple majority was needed to move forward. Democrats had successfully blocked Gorsuch's nomination from getting 60 votes earlier, prompting Republicans to employ the 'nuclear option,' which effectively ends filibusters [sic] for all Supreme Court nominees." [editor's note: Not achieving cloture is not a "filibuster." A filibuster consists of dragging out debate with lengthy speeches, etc. – TLK] (04/06/17)


Democrats have the votes to block cloture on Gorsuch nomination and force "nuclear" Senate showdown

Source: National Public Radio [US state media]

"Senate Democrats now have enough votes to block the Supreme Court nomination under current Senate rules, which require 60 votes to proceed on a nomination. That sets up a showdown later this week that will likely lead to a reinterpretation of Senate rules, so that the nominations of Supreme Court justices can be advanced with 51-vote majorities, rather than the preliminary 60-vote threshold that has long applied to high court nominations." [editor's note: The 60-vote threshold is for "cloture," that is, ending debate and voting (once that's done, Gorsuch can be confirmed with only 51 votes). Cloture applies to all Senate bills, not just Supreme Court confirmations. And getting 41 votes to prevent cloture is not the same thing as a filibuster, but mainstream media frequently conflate the two for some reason – TLK] (04/03/17)


SCOTUS: The nuclear option is not enough

Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L Knapp

"Chief Justice John Marshall was nominated to his position on January 20, 1801. The Senate stalled, declining to confirm Marshall and pushing president John Adams to substitute someone else. The matter dragged on … for seven whole days before a vote. Marshall took his seat on the court less than two weeks after Adams asked him to serve. Two weeks in 1801, when news traveled at the speed of horse. Fourteen months in 2016-17, when news travels at the speed of light. What's wrong with this picture?" (04/02/17)


Manchin becomes first US Senate Democrat to back Gorsuch nomination

Source: Fox News

"Sen. Joe Manchin said Thursday that he would support Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, becoming the first Democrat to back President Trump's choice. … More than half of Senate Democrats already have come out against Gorsuch, and are planning to support a filibuster if it comes to that. So far, only Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from North Dakota, have indicated they would oppose a filibuster." (03/30/17)


SCOTUS orders new look at New York's credit card surcharge ban

Source: Bloomberg

"The U.S. Supreme Court ordered closer scrutiny of a New York law that bars merchants from imposing surcharges on credit-card purchases, giving a group of retailers a partial victory by saying the measure might violate their free-speech rights. Chief Justice John Roberts said the federal appeals court that upheld the law was wrong to analyze it as a form of price regulation. Writing for the high court, he said the measure regulates speech, requiring it to meet a tougher legal test. The decision to return the case to the lower court was unanimous. The case is part of a broader fight by retailers to reduce the $50 billion in 'swipe fees' they pay card companies each year. Merchants say they could discourage card use — and reduce those fees — if they were allowed to explicitly impose surcharges on credit purchases." (03/29/17)


A trout in the milk

Source: Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

"This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. Talk about a silly rite. Senators repeatedly fired questions about specific legal views that no High Court nominee ever answers. Why not? Because to answer would be to pre-judge possible future cases. That didn't prevent displays of faux-outrage from committee Democrats, though." (03/24/17)


Questions for Judge Gorsuch

Source: LewRockwell.com
by Andrew P Napolitano

"In the Gorsuch hearings this week, the nominee has argued that should he commit to certain positions on issues, it would not be fair to litigants who might come before him as a circuit judge if his nomination were not to be confirmed or before him in the Supreme Court if it were, as those litigants would have a proper belief that he prejudged their cases. 'It would be grossly improper,' he argued, for him to commit in advance to how he'd vote on any issue. He's correct. So, what questions could both Democrats and Republicans put to him and what questions could he answer that would inform their judgment and illuminate his thinking without committing his judgment?" (03/23/17)