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Monday Supreme Court Watch and Open News Thread

Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS):

UPDATE: No rulings in affirmative action, marriage equality cases or voting rights today. We will post another SCOTUS thread on Thursday …

Today more rulings on the merit cases argued in the October 2012 term will be issued at 10am Eastern.

SCOTUS Blog has started their liveblog.  

The 19 remaining cases in PDF: Cases Remaining for October Term 2012.

The cases many of us are watching:

Fisher v. University of Texas 11-345 CA5 Oct 10, 2012

Whether this Court’s decisions interpreting the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth

Amendment, including Grutter v. Bollinger, permit the University of Texas at Austin’s use of race in undergraduate admissions decisions. (Kagan, J., recused)

Hollingsworth v. Perry 12-144 CA9 Mar 26, 2013

(1) Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State

of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman; and (2) whether

petitioners have standing under Article III, ยง2 of the Constitution in this case.

Shelby County v. Holder 12-96 CADC Feb 27, 2013

Whether Congress’ decision in 2006 to reauthorize Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act under

the pre-existing coverage formula of Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act exceeded its

authority under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and thus violated the Tenth

Amendment and Article IV of the United States Constitution.

United States v. Windsor 12-307 CA2 Mar 27, 2013

(1) Whether Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their State; (2) whether the Executive Branch’s agreement with the court below that DOMA is unconstitutional deprives this Court of jurisdiction to decide this case; and (3) whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives has Article III standing in this case.

Other news and commentary:

Food Stamps Under Threat: House GOP Wants to Cut $20.5B From SNAP

With the House about to take up the farm bill, the Republican Party’s ascendant libertarian wing is taking aim at the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Eleanor Clift on whether food stamps will survive.

It’s a big number and it gets people’s attention when they hear it: 47 million Americans receive food stamps in what is now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The program has expanded significantly under President Obama, who boosted benefits and allowed states to waive some work rules under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Still, the spiraling need for food assistance even as the unemployment rate has come down  is tied to the weak economy and jobs that are so marginal that millions of working people earn so little they still qualify for SNAP.


CBS Host Calls Out Top Republican For Seeking To Implicate Obama In IRS Targeting

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) sought to implicate the White House in the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) targeting of conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) status during an appearance on CBS’s Face The Nation on Sunday, suggesting that senior government officials may have engaged in “criminal behavior.”

But when host Bob Schieffer challenged Rogers to substantiate his allegations, the Michigan congressman appeared to back down, admitting that he has no actual evidence to suggest that administration officials were involved in the effort:


Obama Begins European Trip: G-8 Summit Then Stop In Berlin

President Obama is in Northern Ireland Monday – the first stop on a three-day European visit that includes a G-8 summit and a side-trip to Berlin.


Feel free to add your own news and views in the comment threads.


  1. Many are saying that we will see the Voting Rights Act ruling and the affirmative action case ruling this week. More rulings will be released on Thursday.

  2. anotherdemocrat

    Whew – it is 78 already at 7am. This is probably the week we’ll hit 100 in actual temp. The heat index has been there already.

    So I wonder what case the SC will announce today? My guess is Fisher (great FSM I hope that entitled brat loses. Her grades were not UT-worthy). They’ll save the biggest 2 for the very last minute.

    I put my swim stuff in my trunk, but I just realized my lock is sitting on a shelf in my bedroom. Sigh.

    Earworm – Spanish Eyes by (well, yeah) U2.

  3. Its the Supreme Court Stupid

    at 10 AM EDT.  The court is scheduled to announce more decisions on Thursday, June 20, also at 10 AM EDT.

  4. Why Both Sides Want Gay Marriage Settled By The States

    The Supreme Court may rule on gay marriage this week. Advocates both for and against are glad the issue didn’t reach the court any sooner.[…]

    “People forget that durable rights don’t come from courts, they come from consensus and strong support from society,” says Jonathan Rauch, author of Denial, a recent memoir about growing up gay. “We are winning the right to marriage in a bigger, deeper way by winning it in the court of public opinion.”

    After losing political battles in a majority of states, gay marriage supporters have won a number of legislative victories and ballot measures in recent years. Sensing momentum is in their favor, it may not be surprising that they’re glad they’ve had time to make their case to the public.

    … supporters of traditional marriage definitions also say that they’re pleased the court has waited to rule on this issue. The number of states blocking gay marriage still outnumber those allowing same-sex marriage by 3 to 1.

    “If states originate marriage laws, then state legislatures should legislate them,” says Sam Schulman, a journalist who has written a number of articles critical of gay marriage. “To let the courts decide feels just as wrong as letting opinion polls decide.”

    I disagree with both of these “sides” chosen by the author of the article.

    Some rights simply cannot wait for “the court of public opinion” … and shouldn’t have to. And the states have no right to decide which federal benefits should be granted to United States citizens. The clauses in DOMA that deny federal benefits to people legally married should not be decided as a states right issue.

  5. First opinion is 12-246, Salinas v. Texas.

    The Eleventh Circuit erred in affirming the dismissal of the FTC’s complaint. By Breyer. The Eleventh Circuit is reversed. The Chief dissents, joined by Scalia and Thomas. Justice Alito was recused.

  6. HappyinVT

    LOLGOP 10:28am via Twitter for iPhone

    Pretty safe bet that the conservatives on the Supreme Court will do more actual legislating this year than the conservatives in Congress.

  7. HappyinVT

    rkref 10:48am via Echofon

    SCOTUSBlog believes that C.J. Roberts is probably author of Voting Rights Case, and J. Kennedy is writing UT-Austin affirmtv action case.

    Maybe good news if Roberts is looking at legacy?  Or could he be trying to make up for ACA?

  8. Hours After Supreme Court Strikes Down Voter Suppression Law, Senator Introduces Bill To Overturn Decision

    … even Scalia’s jurisprudence is apparently too liberal for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who announced Monday afternoon that he will file a bill overturning the decision. As The Hill reports, Cruz will file an amendment to the Senate immigration bill that would reverse the decision and allow states to require proof of citizenship in order to register and vote.

    Cruz also warned on his Facebook page that Monday’s decision “encourages voter fraud,” despite the fact that you are far more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit voter fraud.

    I will not think unkind thoughts about Ted Cruz and lightning. I will NOT think unkind thoughts about Ted Cruz and lightning. I will NOT think unkind thoughts about Ted Cruz and lightning.

  9. From Think Progress:

    The Court’s opinion in this case, Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, also establishes an important doctrinal rule regarding the power of Congress to push back against state election laws. The Constitution permits duly enacted federal laws to trump state law, a process known as “preemption.” Normally, however, courts should apply a presumption against preemption and assume that Congress did not intend to invalidate state law if the matter is uncertain. Scalia’s opinion holds that this presumption does not apply with respect to federal laws regulating federal elections, a holding which suggests Congress’ power to sweep away state election laws is quite sweeping.

    There are a number of onerous anti-voting laws that need sweeping away. This suggests that requiring photo id, which was found to be constitutional in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, might be able to be eliminated by statute. Another reason to work to get control of the House back.  

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