Tag Archives: Clarence Thomas

Wife of Chief Justice Causes Latest Ethics Concerns at US Supreme Court

“It’s clear that the ultraconservative justices in particular cannot be trusted to hold themselves to the same ethical standard as other federal judges,” said one advocate, calling for congressional action.

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 1-31-2023 by Common Dreams

Swearing in of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Photo: White House

Fresh calls for federal lawmakers to pass new ethics rules for the U.S. Supreme Court mounted after The New York Times on Tuesday revealed that a former colleague of Chief Justice John Roberts’ wife raised concerns to Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice.

After her husband joined the nation’s top court, Jane Sullivan Roberts left her job as a law firm partner to work as a legal recruiter. Though Roberts is now the managing partner of the Washington office of Macrae Inc., she and Kendal Price, the author of a letter obtained by the Times, worked as recruiters for the global firm Major, Lindsey & Africa. Continue reading

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Right-Wing Justices Appear Ready to Eviscerate Affirmative Action in College Admissions

“Killing affirmative action will have a devastating impact on Black, Hispanic, and Native students,” wrote one journalist, “and such a ruling would be totally unjustified by the text or history of the Constitution.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 10-31-2022 by Common Dreams

Protesters gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as affirmative action cases involving Harvard and University of North Carolina admissions are heard by the court in Washington, D.C. on October 31, 2022. Photo: Maya Wiley/Twitter

During the course of roughly five hours of oral argument on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court’s far-right supermajority seemed open to rolling back decades of precedent allowing public and private colleges and universities to make race-conscious admissions decisions.

Referring to Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina—cases he contends were “manufactured to abolish affirmative action in higher education”—Slate‘s Mark Joseph Stern argued that “all six conservative justices are poised to declare that colleges’ consideration of race violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which applies equal protection standards to private institutions.” Continue reading

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Judge’s Ruling on Gun Serial Numbers Highlights ‘Deadly’ Impact of Right-Wing Supreme Court

“The Supreme Court’s Second Amendment jurisprudence has grown so radical that it now shields criminals trying to conceal their involvement in a violent crime,” said one observer.

By Julia Conley  Published 10-14-2022 by Common Dreams

High school students protest for gun law reform in Minneapolis on February 21, 2018. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

Legal experts said Friday that a federal judge’s ruling in West Virginia illustrates the danger posed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s right wing majority, which ruled this year in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen that restrictions on firearms must fall within the so-called “historical tradition” of gun laws.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin, who was appointed to the Southern District of West Virginia by former Democratic President Bill Clinton, ruled against a federal law prohibiting people from possessing firearms with serial numbers that have been “altered, obliterated, or removed.” Continue reading

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Nearly Every House Republican Votes Against Codifying Right to Contraception

“If they had the chance they would ban it,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

By Julia Conley  Published 7-21-2022 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: C-SPAN

With many lawmakers expressing disbelief that a law codifying the right to use birth control is needed in the U.S. in 2022, House Democrats passed the Right to Contraception Act on Thursday—joined by just eight Republicans as the party denied access to contraception is under attack.

All 220 Democrats voted in favor of the bill.

“One hundred ninety-five House Republicans just voted against protecting your right to access contraception,” said Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.). Continue reading

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Grave Warnings as Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case That Threatens ‘Future of Voting Rights’

“Buckle up,” implores one prominent legal scholar. “An extreme decision here could fundamentally alter the balance of power in setting election rules in the states and provide a path for great threats to elections.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 6-30-2022 by Common Dreams

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

As SCOTUS-watchers scrambled to stay abreast of a rush of rulings affecting climateimmigrationIndigenous rights, and other policy areas, the nation’s highest court on Thursday said it would hear oral arguments this October in a case involving a controversial legal theory that one advocacy group says is “threatening the future of voting rights.”

The case, Moore v. Harper, involves North Carolina’s congressional map, which was drawn by the Republican-controlled state Legislature and which the state Supreme Court struck down as racially discriminatory. Continue reading

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‘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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