Category Archives: Supreme Court

Right-Wing US Supreme Court Delivers ‘Catastrophic Loss for Water Protections’

The court “ripped the heart out of the law we depend on to protect American waters and wetlands,” said one critic, warning that the ruling “will cause incalculable harm.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 5-25-2023 by Common Dreams

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Cambridge, MD. USEPA Photo by Eric Vance. Public domain image

The U.S. Supreme Court’s right-wing majority on Thursday severely curtailed protections for “waters of the United States.”

The decision in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is “unanimous in result but very split in reasoning,” explained Slate‘s Mark Joseph Stern. “The upshot of Sackett is that, by a 5–4 vote, the Supreme Court dramatically narrows” which wetlands are covered by the Clean Water Act (CWA).

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Digital Rights Groups Applaud US Supreme Court for Protecting Free Speech Online

“Today’s decisions should be commended for recognizing that the rules we apply to the internet should foster free expression, not suppress it,” said the deputy director of ACLU’s National Security Project.

By Kenny Stancil. Published 5-18-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: Beatrice Murch/flickr/CC

Civil liberties advocates on Thursday praised the U.S. Supreme Court for a pair of unanimous rulings that they say uphold the right to free speech on online platforms.

The high court’s decisions in Twitter v. Taamneh and Gonzalez v. Google represent “a win for free expression on the internet,” the ACLU tweeted.

Alongside its partners, the ACLU “filed amicus briefs in both cases urging the court to ensure online platforms are free to promote, demote, and recommend content without legal risk in order to protect political discourse, cultural development, and intellectual activity,” the group noted in a statement.

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US Supreme Court Puts Chevron Doctrine ‘Squarely In the Crosshairs’

One legal expert said that overturning the nearly 40-year precedent “would lead to far more judicial power grabs.”

By Brett Wilkins. Published 5-1-2023 by Common Dreams

The United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. ruled on June 29, 2022 that authorities in Oklahoma and other states can prosecute certain crimes on sovereign tribal land. Photo: Beatrice Murch/flickr/CC

The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it will hear a challenge to a nearly 40-year administrative law precedent under which judges defer to federal agencies’ interpretation of ambiguous statutes—a case that legal experts warn could result in judicial power grabs and the gutting of environmental and other regulations.

The Supreme Court said it will take up Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo—a case in which fishing companies are seeking to strike down the Chevron doctrine, named after the landmark 1984 Chevron USA v. Natural Resources Defense Council ruling that conservatives have long sought to overturn. The case is one of the most cited precedents in administrative law.

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‘Blatant Attack on Democracy’: NC Supreme Court Greenlights Partisan Gerrymandering

“An injustice that is so glaring, so lawless, and such a betrayal to the democratic values upon which our constitution is based will not stand forever,” wrote a dissenting judge.

By Kenny Stancil. Published 4-28-2023 by Common Dreams

A rally to end gerrymandering outside the Supreme Court on 3/26/19, as the Justices hear a Maryland and North Carolina case on gerrymandering. Photo: Victoria Pickering/flickr/CC

In what voting rights advocates called a “blatant attack on democracy,” the North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday issued a ruling that allows partisan gerrymandering, reversing earlier decisions that outlawed rigged maps.

The ruling enables North Carolina Republicans to redraw state and U.S. congressional districts in a self-serving way. This has major national implications because it paves the way for the GOP to expand its narrow U.S. House majority in 2024 and potentially beyond.

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John Roberts’ Wife Made Millions From Elite Law Firms, Major Companies: Whistleblower Docs

“It almost makes you wonder whether the Supreme Court of the United States is suffering a massive, systemic ethics crisis,” said one critic.

By Julia Conley. Published 4-28-2023 by Common Dreams

Swearing in of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Photo: George W. Bush White House Archives

A whistleblower from the legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa says Jane Sullivan Roberts, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, earned $10.3 million in commissions over seven years from her job as a headhunter at the company, where she placed attorneys with law firms—including at least one that argued a case before the Supreme Court after the placement was made.

Sullivan Roberts earned the money between 2007 and 2014, having taken a job with the company two years after her husband was confirmed to the Supreme Court, according to a report out Friday from Business Insider.

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North Dakota GOP Approves Near-Total Abortion Ban After Rejecting Free School Lunches

“Mandating birth is state responsibility. Helping feed those kids is not,” is how Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom summarized the Republican position.

By Kenny Stancil. Published 4-25-2023 by Common Dreams

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum. Photo: North Dakota National Guard/flickr/CC

Republican Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota on Monday signed one of the nation’s most draconian abortion bans into law, just weeks after the state’s GOP lawmakers shot down a proposal to provide free school lunches to low-income students.

The new forced pregnancy law, which takes immediate effect, prohibits abortion care in nearly all cases. Abortion is allowed in cases of rape or incest, but only during the first six weeks of pregnancy—before many people realize they are pregnant. Abortion is also allowed without gestational limits if terminating a pregnancy could prevent the pregnant person’s “death or a serious health risk.”

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US Supreme Court’s Blow to Big Oil ‘Should Open the Floodgates for More Lawsuits’

“The high court’s decision is a major victory for communities across the country that are fighting to hold Big Oil accountable and make them pay for the climate damages they knowingly caused,” said one advocate.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 4-24-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: Felton Davis/flickr/CC

Campaigners and frontline communities celebrated Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear five appeals from major fossil fuel companies hoping to shift climate liability cases from state to federal court, where polluters are more likely to prevail.

“Big Oil companies have been desperate to avoid trials in state courts, where they will be forced to defend their climate lies in front of juries, and today the Supreme Court declined to bail them out,” said Center for Climate Integrity president Richard Wiles.

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‘Can’t Win, So They Cheat’: GOP Tries to Keep Abortion Rights Off Ballot After Big Losses

“Republican lawmakers pushing these efforts want 41% of voters to block ballot initiatives that 59% of voters support. This is not democracy.”

By Jake Johnson. Published 4-24-2023 by Common Dreams

Stop Abortion Bans Rally in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 21, 2019. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

Last year, after the U.S. Supreme Court ended the federal right to abortion, voters in Kansas, California, Michigan, Vermont, Kentucky, and Montana used the ballot initiative process to show their support for reproductive freedom, both by defeating GOP-backed anti-abortion measures and approving constitutional amendments aimed at preserving abortion access.

Those losses for anti-abortion Republicans and their wealthy backers have led the party to ramp up its attacks on the ballot initiative process itself in several states.

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Abortion Rights Supporters Protest at US Supreme Court, Nationwide

From Florida and Texas to California and Illinois, demonstrators marched with chants like, “Red state, blue state, you can’t hide, the war on abortion is nationwide,” and “Fascist judges make me ill, hands off the abortion pill.”

By Jessica Corbett Published 4-16-2023 by Common Dreams

Lobby Day protest in Texas. Photo: Karthik Soora/Twitter

As legal fights raise concerns about the future accessibility of the abortion medication mifepristone, reproductive rights supporters on Saturday rallied outside the U.S. Supreme Court and in cities across the country.

The demonstrations came a day after the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked a recent ruling by Texas-based federal Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, an appointee of former President Donald Trump who struck down the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 2000 approval of mifepristone, one of two drugs often taken in tandem for abortions.

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‘What Color Shirts’? Far-Right Ben-Gvir to Get Control Over Israeli National Guard

The former head of Israel’s police accused the national security minister of “dismantling Israeli democracy” and “turning Israel into a dictatorship.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 3-27-2023 by Common Dreams

Itamar Ben Gvir. Photo: @OldPrague/Twitter

Democracy defenders on Monday sharply criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s agreement to place the country’s National Guard under the control of National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right extremist who has advocated the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

Netanyahu’s move is in exchange for a promise from Ben-Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party to remain in the prime minister’s governing coalition despite an earlier threat to exit if Netanyahu delayed a highly controversial judicial overhaul. Facing massive street protests and a general strike by the nation’s largest trade union, Netanyahu agreed on Monday to postpone the legislation until April or early May. Continue reading

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