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26 Feb 2012 10:35


U.S.: Ironic: The FBI’s having trouble finding and collecting its GPS devices

  • 3,000 invasive GPS devices turned off by the FBI source
  • » There’s one particularly amazing line in this story: “In some cases, he said, the FBI sought court orders to obtain permission to turn the devices on briefly — only in order to locate and retrieve them.” If you remember, the FBI had to stop using tracking devices as the result of a Supreme Court ruling that ruled that the practice was illegal without a warrant. So everyone, have a small chuckle at the fact that FBI can’t find some of its GPS devices.

21 Feb 2012 11:24


Politics: Supreme Court agrees to hear major affirmative action case

  • then Back in 2003, Sandra Day O’Connor wrote the majority opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger, a Supreme Court case that didn’t outlaw affirmative action outright but blocked its use in a points-based system. Colleges could take it into account in a vague way, a decision O’Connor said was meant to last for around 25 years.
  • now This morning, it was announced that the Supreme Court would hear a new affirmative action case, which, depending on how it’s decided could outlaw it outright. The court is more conservative than it was back in 2003, meaning it might go the other way. Note: It’s been nine years since O’Connor wrote that decision. source

18 Feb 2012 12:00


Politics: U.S. Supreme Court paves way for Citizens United rematch

U.S. Supreme Court Chambers

  • Time for Citizens United: Round 2? Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the Montana Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the state’s longstanding campaign finance laws banning corporate political spending, American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock. The decision came after American Tradition Partnership and two Montana businesses filed an application asking the Court to strike down the Montana Supreme Court’s decision. ATP now has until the end of March to formally request that the Court review the Montana Supreme Court’s decision. If they don’t, the Montana’s decision would stand, but should they file the request, it would pave the way for a full review of the controversial Citizens United decision. (photo courtesy of flickr user kenudigit)  source

08 Feb 2012 02:00


Politics: “Judge Reinhardt wrote his opinion for an audience of one: Justice Kennedy”

  • Judge Reinhardt does not hold there is a right to same sex marriage, only that CA had no rational reason to take away the label of marriage for use by gay and lesbian couples after the state had had already given it. By crafting the argument in this way, and making the case that the only reason for passing Prop. 8 was anti-gay animus, Judge Reinhardt has given Justice Kennedy a way to decide the case without embracing a major holding recognizing a right to same sex marriage generally.
  • Rick Hansen • Regarding the nature of the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling on Proposition 8 earlier today. Hansen is suggesting that Judge Reinhardt cast the ruling in an intentionally narrow sense so as to make it easier for Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court’s most notorious swing voter, to uphold it on appeal. The distinction we made earlier could thus affect the future of gay marriage in California. In short, court rulings often possess a strategic, as well as a legal, foundation. source

07 Feb 2012 15:23


Politics: The Obama campaign promotes their Super PAC, with a disclaimer

  • The President opposed the Citizens United decision. … He continues to support a law to force full disclosure of all funding intended to influence our elections, a reform that was blocked in 2010 by a unanimous Republican filibuster in the U.S. Senate. And the President favors action—by constitutional amendment, if necessary—to place reasonable limits on all such spending. But this cycle, our campaign has to face the reality of the law as it currently stands.
  • Obama campaign manager Jim Messina • From a blog post on, titled “We Will Not Play by Two Sets of Rules.” In it, Messina attempts to explain why the Obama campaign, despite stated opposition to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling (and ostensibly Super PACs themselves), will be playing the same Super PAC game as the GOP candidate this year. This strikes us as a hard sell, especially to independents — saying President Obama needs to use a corrupted system in the hopes of ending said system doesn’t seem like an argument that would have much appeal to those not already extremely trusting of his administration. source

17 Nov 2011 14:20


U.S.: CA’s Prop. 8 proponents win State Supreme Court challenge

  • And The fight over gay marriage rolls on: The California Supreme Court has ruled that opponents of gay marriage may defend the state’s ban, better known as Proposition 8, in court proceedings. Typically the task of defending such a state initiative falls on officials like the governor or attorney general, but both Jerry Brown and Kamala Harris have refused to do so, voicing opposition to the marriage restriction. This is broadly viewed as a table-setting sort of ruling — there’s a growing air of inevitability that the gay marriage issue is bound for the U.S. Supreme Court, where a ruling could impact the institution all across the country. source

01 Nov 2011 22:34


Politics: Democrats seek to overturn Citizens United via constitutional amendment

  • Fighting back against “Citizens United:” Senate Democrats, led by Tom Udall, have introduced a constitutional amendment meant to blunt the effects of Citizen’s United, the Supreme Court decision that paved the way for unlimited, undisclosed campaign contributions by corporations. The amendment wouldn’t directly overturn CU, but rather give congresses–both federal and state–the authority to regulate campaign contributions and expenditures. Like most proposed constitutional amendments, it probably won’t get anywhere close to ratification, but hey, it rallies the base, right? source

28 Sep 2011 20:10


Politics: Obama administration appeals Obamacare to Supreme Court

  • Throughout history, there have been similar challenges to other landmark legislation such as the Social Security Act, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, and all of those challenges failed. We believe the challenges to Affordable Care Act … will also ultimately fail and that the Supreme Court will uphold the law.
  • A statement from the Justice Department • Defending Obama’s Affordable Care Act ahead of a Supreme Court decision expected to come next year, after the Obama administration decided to appeal the case — specifically the individual mandate, which is the bill’s most controversial part. Expect the decision in this case in the middle of 2012, just as Obama takes on … uh … let’s say Herman Cain … for the presidency. source

26 Sep 2011 21:33


Politics: Obamacare likely headed to the Supreme Court pretty soon

  • what The Obama administration has decided not to ask an appeals court to re-hear arguments over his lightning rod of a health-care bill.
  • why The president probably plans on taking it to the Supreme Court. Just in time for the 2012 election, guys! This should be fun. source

21 Sep 2011 21:24


U.S.: Troy Davis execution delayed as Supreme Court mulls over case

  • yeah … The U.S. Supreme Court has stepped in to render a decision on the ultra-controversial Troy Davis death row case, which delayed his execution past 7 p.m. EDT.
  • … butAll they’ve forced right now is a delay — there is a chance that the court might let the execution go forward. His supporters are in a frenzy this evening. source
  • » A last gasp: The Supreme Court’s decision is Davis’ final option — today alone, he’s offered to take a polygraph, he’s tried to appeal to the Georgia pardons board, he’s gone to the Georgia Supreme Court … and the U.S. Supreme Court’s move was a hail-mary play which had no guarantee of working. The court likely knew it was coming, though. Davis has knocked on their door before, and they’ve answered at least once — back in 2008, they gave Davis an opportunity for a new trial, but a federal judge didn’t go for it.