Category Archives: Supreme Court

Progressives Vow to Fight as DeSantis Signs Bill Banning Protests at Florida Homes

“H.B. 1571 builds on the unconstitutional foundations of the anti-protest bill last year,” said one activist, “and only reaffirms our will to make sure our voices are heard in order to create a brighter future for the people of our state.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-17-2022 by Common Dreams

George Floyd protests in Miami, Florida on June 6, 2020. Photo: Mike Shaheen/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Critics are calling a new Florida law unconstitutional following Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signing of H.B. 1571, which bans protests outside homes, on Monday.

The new law, which has drawn comparisons to a separate statute effectively allowing the killing or wounding of protesters, makes “picketing or protesting” outside private residences a second-degree misdemeanor crime punishable by as many as 60 days behind bars, up to a $500 fine, and six months’ probation. Continue reading

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Kagan Pens Scathing Dissent as Supreme Court Kills Another Campaign Finance Rule

“In allowing those payments to go forward unrestrained, today’s decision can only bring this country’s political system into further disrepute,” wrote Justice Elena Kagan.

By Jake Johnson  Published 5-16-2022 by Common Dreams

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz speaking with attendees at the 2019 Teen Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C. Photo: Gage Skidmore.flickr/CC

In a decision Monday that liberal Justice Elena Kagan warned will further corrupt the nation’s money-dominated political system, the U.S. Supreme Court’s right-wing majority struck down a campaign finance regulation limiting federal candidates’ ability to use campaign funds to repay personal loans.

Established by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, the rule barred candidates from using more than $250,000 in campaign funds collected after an election to recoup their loans to their own campaign. Continue reading

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‘We need to take an unusual step’: a Polish feminist’s message to her US sisters

I’ve seen what a draconian abortion law can do in Poland. Here is what I think we should do

By Klementyna Suchanow  Published 5-12-2022 by openDemocracy

Protest against Poland’s abortion laws held in Gdansk on 10-24-2020. Photo: LukaszKatlewa/Wikimedia Commons/CC

I co-founded the Polish Women’s Strike, which led a series of anti-government demonstrations following the almost-total outlawing of abortion in 2020. I have spent six years of my life protesting attempts to restrict women’s access to it and to defend democracy. That’s why nothing surprises me about the Roe v Wade situation in the United States. In fact, there is a clear similarity: public opinion says one thing, while a group of zealots forces an entire nation to do the opposite.

Poland has had restrictive laws in place since 1993, with abortion only legally available in cases of rape and incest, threat to the mother’s life, or severe foetal abnormality. After an unsuccessful attempt to further restrict abortion in the Polish Sejm (the lower house of the country’s parliament) in October 2016, a law banning the abortion of non-viable foetuses finally came into force on 22 October 2020. It was imposed by the Constitutional Tribunal, an institution whose independence and legality is itself in question. The new law means that women are now forced to carry their pregnancy to term and give birth to a dead foetus. Continue reading

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Nationwide ‘Bans Off Our Bodies’ Rallies Planned for Saturday

“With the Supreme Court planning to overturn Roe v. Wade, we are at a tipping point in the fight to be able to make decisions about our own bodies, lives, and futures.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 5-13-2022 by Common Dreams

Supreme Court rally after the decision on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt Texas abortion case, 2016. Photo: Adam Fagen/flickr/CC

People across the United States are planning to take to the streets on Saturday, May 14 to protest right-wing attacks on abortion rights, including the looming reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Pro-choice groups—including Planned Parenthood organizations, Liberate Abortion, MoveOn, Service Employees International Union, UltraViolet, and Women’s March—are putting together marches, rallies, and other events for the “Bans Off Our Bodies” day of action. Continue reading

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Texas GOP Governor Considers Challenging 1982 Ruling Requiring Free Public Education

The leaked opinion showing the Supreme Court’s right-wing majority is prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade “is an invitation to all manner of challenges to deeply rooted precedents,” said one critic.

By Julia Conley  Published 5-5-2022 by Common Dreams

Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas. Photo: World Travel & Tourism Council/flickr/CC

Days after rights advocates warned that the U.S. Supreme Court’s expected overruling of Roe v. Wade portends rollbacks of numerous rights for people in the U.S., Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said he wants to challenge a 40-year-old ruling that affirmed states must offer free public education to all children.

In a radio interview with right-wing host Joe Pagliarulo late Wednesday, Abbott discussed border security and agreed with the host’s claim that the children of undocumented immigrants place a “real burden on communities” when they attend public schools, as the Plyler v. Doe ruling required states to allow in 1982.

“The challenges put on our public systems [are] extraordinary,” Abbott said. “Texas already long ago sued the federal government about having to incur the costs of the education program… And the Supreme Court ruled against us on the issue about denying, or let’s say Texas having to bear that burden.”

“I think we will resurrect that case and challenge this issue again, because the expenses are extraordinary and the times are different than when Plyler v. Doe was issued many decades ago,” the governor added.

The Plyler case arose from a 1975 decision by the state of Texas to permit school districts to deny admission or charge tuition to undocumented immigrant families. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a class action lawsuit after Tyler Independent School District charged $1,000 per year to children who did not provide proof of American citizenship.

The case eventually was taken up by the Supreme Court and the justices ruled 5-4 that all children in the U.S. were entitled to free public education under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection clause.

Abbott’s comments came two days after a draft opinion was leaked from the U.S. Supreme Court showing that the court’s right-wing majority voted earlier this year to overrule Roe, a move that would eliminate abortion rights for millions of women in states hostile to reproductive justice.

“The leaked opinion is an invitation to all manner of challenges to deeply rooted precedents,” said Tom Jawetz, former vice president of immigration policy at the Center for American Progress.

Abbott’s threat to the children of undocumented immigrants, said one healthcare advocate, exemplified the late comedian George Carlin’s summation of the anti-choice movement’s views on the rights of children.

“I can’t believe this has to be said, but ALL children deserve access to a quality public education,” said Gwenn Burud, a Democratic candidate for the Texas state Senate. “Unlike the other side, I understand what settled precedent means.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
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With Roe Under Threat, Sale of Location Data on Abortion Clinic Patients Raises Alarm

“Companies that traffic in personal, geolocation, advertising, or other data could become digital crime scenes for eager prosecutors armed with subpoenas,” said one expert on technology and gender.

By Julia Conley   Published 5-4-2022 by Common Dreams

A buffer zone around Planned Parenthood in Burlington, VT Photo: Adam Fagan/flickr/CC

A location data firm said Wednesday that it would no longer sell information about people who visit abortion clinics after reporting on the company’s sales raised alarm, but privacy advocates warned that strict regulation is needed to protect patients from such sales—particularly in light of news that abortion rights are likely to be rolled back by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Vice reported Tuesday that data firm SafeGraph has sold sets of aggregated location data regarding people who have visited abortion clinics including Planned Parenthood, showing where patients travel from, how much time they spend at the healthcare centers, and where they go afterwards. Continue reading

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‘Huge News’ as Congress Tightens Ethics Rules for Federal Judges

It’s “vital legislation that will boost public trust in the judiciary and codify judicial ethics,” said one watchdog group.

By Andrea Germanos  Published 4-27-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: wp paarz/flickr/CC

Ethics watchdogs on Wednesday welcomed passage of legislation tightening financial disclosure requirements for federal judges as a step toward addressing a widespread crisis that still requires broader reforms.

The legislation is the Courthouse Ethics and Transparency Act, which takes on “the alarming lack of transparency in the personal financial holdings of federal judges, and the conflicts—or appearance of conflicts—those holdings can create in the cases those judges are asked to decide,” as the House Judiciary Democrats put it. Continue reading

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Biden Takes ‘Critical First Step’ to Fix Landmark Environmental Law Gutted by Trump

“The Biden administration cannot stop here,” said one advocate, calling on the White House “to ensure we tap NEPA’s full potential to address the unprecedented environmental challenges we face now.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 4-19-2022 by Common Dreams

While welcoming the White House’s move Tuesday to repair some of the damage that the Trump administration did to a federal law known as “the Magna Carta of environmental legislation,” green groups also urged President Joe Biden to go even further.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) finalized its “phase 1” rule for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), reaffirming that federal agencies reviewing infrastructure projects such as highways and pipelines must consider all relevant environmental impacts, including those that are climate-related. Continue reading

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Legacy of Jim Crow still affects funding for public schools

School funding inequities persist along racial and economic lines.
David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Derek W. Black, University of South Carolina and Axton Crolley, University of South Carolina

Nearly 70 years ago – in its 1954 Brown v. Board decision – the Supreme Court framed racial segregation as the cause of educational inequality. It did not, however, challenge the lengths to which states went to ensure the unequal funding of Black schools.

Before Brown, Southern states were using segregation to signify and tangibly reinforce second-class citizenship for Black people in the United States. The court in Brown deemed that segregation was inherently unequal. Even if the schools were “equalized” on all “tangible factors,” segregation remained a problem and physical integration was the cure, the Court concluded. Continue reading

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New GOP Laws ‘Will Devastate Abortion Access Across Large Parts of the Nation’

“Florida has been a critical haven for abortion access in the South, and this ban will decimate abortion access for Floridians and the entire region,” one group said after the governor’s signature.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 4-14-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Adam Fagen/flickr/CC

After Florida’s GOP governor on Thursday signed a 15-week abortion ban inspired by a contested Mississippi law that could soon reverse Roe v. Wade, pro-choice advocates warned of impacts across the region, given that the Sunshine State has long been “an oasis of reproductive care in the South.”

With Gov. Ron DeSantis’ support, Florida’s law is set to take effect this summer. His signature came after Republican state legislators in Kentucky on Wednesday overrode their Democratic governor’s veto of a similar bill and GOP Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed a near-total abortion ban. Continue reading

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