At the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, families whose loved ones are among the tens of thousands of Americans who have died of opioid use disorder each year over the past two decades rallied to push the nine justices to reject a proposed bankruptcy plan that would give the former owners of Purdue Pharma legal immunity—with many joining the U.S. Justice Department in arguing that the company should not be released from accountability for the opioid epidemic.
Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy in 2019, as the number of Americans killed by opioids hit 50,000 and the OxyContin manufacturer faced thousands of lawsuits alleging its aggressive marketing of the addictive painkiller had fueled the rising death toll.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s three liberal justices issued a scathing dissent this week as the tribunal’s right-wing supermajority rejected the appeal of an Illinois inmate with mental illness imprisoned in solitary confinement without access to fresh air for three straight years.
The nation’s high court declined to hear the appeal of Michael Johnson, an inmate at Pontiac Correctional Center northeast of Peoria, whose attorneys argued he was being subjected to unconstitutional “cruel and unusual punishment” as he was deprived of fresh air and outdoor exercise while enduring horrific conditions in a tiny, filthy cell.
A U.S. federal appellate court on Friday ruled that a Jim Crow-era Mississippi law permanently disenfranchising people with certain felony convictions is unconstitutional.
In a decision that can be appealed to the full U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, a three-judge panel of the tribunal ruled 2-1 that Section 241 of Mississippi’s 1890 Constitution “violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment and the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.”
In a move that shocked progressive political observers, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected Wisconsin legislative districts drawn by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and sent the case back to the state’s highest court, which previously approve the voting maps.
Wisconsin-based journalist John Nichols called it “a stunning decision that confirms just how extreme the U.S. Supreme Court’s majority has become.” Continue reading →