Tag Archives: Clarence Thomas

‘Perverse’ Supreme Court Ruling ‘Effectively Ensures That Innocent People Will Remain Imprisoned’

“This is radical. This is horrifying. This is extremely scary,” said one public defender.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 5-23-2022 by Common Dreams

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion for Shinn v. Martinez Ramirez, announced May 23, 2022. Screenshot: ABC News

Legal experts responded with alarm Monday to a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court’s right-wing majority that could lead to the indefinite imprisonment and even execution of people who argue their lawyers didn’t provide adequate representation after convictions in state court.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor—joined by the other two liberals on the court—also blasted the majority opinion in Shinn v. Martinez Ramirez, writing in her scathing dissent that the decision is both “perverse” and “illogical.” 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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In ‘Momentous’ Ruling, Supreme Court Rejects GOP Voting Maps

While North Carolina and Pennsylvania will use evenly-split electoral maps for the midterm elections, the court’s right-wing majority appeared eager to rule further on whether state courts can reject partisan maps.

By Julia Conley.  Published 3-8-2022 by Common Dreams

A rally to end gerrymandering outside the Supreme Court on 3/26/19. Photo: Victoria Pickering/flickr/CC

Voting rights advocates in North Carolina and Pennsylvania celebrated a victory late Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected district maps that had been approved by Republican-led state legislatures and that critics said would give the GOP an unfair advantage in the midterm elections.

The ruling will allow voters in the two states “to vote in free and fair congressional elections this year,” Stanton Jones, an attorney who represented voting rights groups that challenged North Carolina’s gerrymandered map, told the New York Times. Continue reading

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The Supreme Court could hamstring federal agencies’ regulatory power in a high-profile air pollution case

Coal piles outside of PacifiCorp’s Hunter power plant in Castle Dale, Utah.
George Frey, AFP, via Getty Images

Albert C. Lin, University of California, Davis

On Feb. 28, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in West Virginia v. EPA, a case that centers on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change. How the court decides the case could have broad ramifications, not just for climate change but for federal regulation in many areas.

This case stems from actions over the past decade to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, a centerpiece of U.S. climate change policy. In 2016, the Supreme Court blocked the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which was designed to reduce these emissions. The Trump administration repealed the Clean Power Plan and replaced it with the far less stringent Affordable Clean Energy Rule. Various parties challenged that measure, and a federal court invalidated it a day before Trump left office. Continue reading

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Stephen Breyer is set to retire – should his replacement on the Supreme Court have a term limit?

Will Stephen Breyer’s replacement on the Supreme Court serve for so long?
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Paul M. Collins, Jr., UMass Amherst and Artemus Ward, Northern Illinois University

A vacancy sign hangs above the Supreme Court bench following reports on Jan. 26, 2022, that long-serving liberal justice Stephen Breyer is set to retire.

Names are already being thrown around in the media as to who will replace him, aided by helpful hints from President Joe Biden himself. But whoever it is can, depending on their age, expect a lengthy spell on the bench of the highest court in the land. Continue reading

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Air and Water Under Threat as SCOTUS Targets Environmental Laws

“It seems like we have a new conservative supermajority on the court that is much more inclined to do a slash-and-burn expedition through our major environmental laws.”

By Julia Conley   Published 1-25-2022 by Common Dreams

Coastal Wetlands at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport, MA.
Ohoto: Kelly Fike/USFWS/flickr/CC

Environmental advocates and congressional Democrats are raising alarm after the U.S. Supreme Court this week agreed to hear arguments in two cases regarding bedrock regulations designed to protect the quality of the nation’s air and water.

The nine justices announced Monday that they plan to hear arguments in the case of an Idaho couple who were blocked from building a home on their land by the Clean Water Act. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Chantell and Michael Sackett’s land contained wetlands and the couple needed a federal permit to build. Continue reading

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‘Dangerous Precedent’: US High Court Sides With Corporate Giants Nestle and Cargill in Child Slavery Case

A lawyer for six men who alleged they were victims of human trafficking said the corporations “should be held accountable for abetting a system of child slavery.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-17-2021

Neal Katyal speaking at the National Constitution Center’s 2012 Peter Jennings Project moot court. Photo: National Constitution Center/flickr/CC

Human rights advocates Thursday denounced a Supreme Court decision in favor of the U.S. corporate giants Nestlé USA and Cargill, which were sued more than a decade ago by six men who say the two companies were complicit in child trafficking and profited when the men were enslaved on cocoa farms as children.

The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 against the plaintiffs, saying they had not proven the companies’ activities in the U.S. were sufficiently tied to the alleged child trafficking. The companies had argued that they could not be sued in the U.S. for activities that took place in West Africa. Continue reading

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‘Deeply Disappointing’: Supreme Court Slammed for Refusing to Examine Doctrine That Bolsters Police Immunity

“Recent events demonstrate the urgent need for Congress to stand up for the rule of law and abolish qualified immunity.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-15-2020

George Floyd protests in Washington DC. Photo: Rosa Pineda/CC

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear several cases involving a longstanding legal doctrine giving police officers and other government officials sweeping immunity from civil lawsuits, a decision that comes in the midst of a nationwide uprising against police brutality and racial injustice.

The doctrine of “qualified immunity” has come under growing criticism from lawmakers and rights groups since the May 25 killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. As CNBC explained, “the burden imposed by qualified immunity on victims of police violence is exacerbated by the fact that prosecutors rarely charge officers for excessive force violations, often leaving civil lawsuits as the only remaining avenue.” Continue reading

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After Supreme Court decision, gerrymandering fix is up to voters

The Supreme Court is empty days before the justices vote to on the U.S. gerrymandering case. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

 

John Rennie Short, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court has ruled that partisan gerrymandering is not unconstitutional.

The majority ruled that gerrymandering is outside the scope and power of the federal courts to adjudicate. The issue is a political one, according to the court, not a legal one.

“Excessive partisanship in districting leads to results that reasonably seem unjust,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority decision. “But the fact that such gerrymandering is incompatible with democratic principles does not mean that the solution lies with the federal judiciary.” Continue reading

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Fears for Roe V. Wade After Supreme Court Issues Decision Overruling a 40-Year Precedent

“Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next,” wrote Justice Bryer in dissent

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-13-2019

“Hard not to read this as a veiled warning about Roe v. Wade,” tweeted law professor Nicholas Bagley of the new ruling. (Photo: Phil Roeder/Flickr/cc)

The U.S. Supreme Court’s liberal justices sounded alarm on Monday after the court issued a ruling overturning a four decades-old precedent.

“Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next,” Justice Bryer wrote in his dissent (pdf), in which Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined.

Some observers expressed fear one of the those cases could be Roe v. Wade. Continue reading

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