Tag Archives: U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court upholds Ohio’s voter roll purge of infrequent voters

The U.S. Supreme Court began today with 25 cases yet to be decided over the next three weeks before the end of June. “The court is on pace to issue 48 percent of its opinions during June, the highest percentage in history, according to Adam Feldman, a scholar who runs the empiricalscotus.com website.” Get Ready for Some Blockbuster U.S. Supreme Court Rulings.

The court is racing toward the end of its nine-month term with some of its biggest cases still to be decided, led by the fight over President Donald Trump’s travel ban. The justices also will rule on partisan gerrymandering, voter purges, union fees, internet sales taxes, credit-card fees and cell-phone privacy.

This morning the Court issued its ruling in the voter purge case, Husted v. A Philip Randolph Institute (.pdf). Justice Alito writing for the majority in a 5-4 decision reversed the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The majority opinion holds that Ohio’s process follows subsection (d) of the National Voter Registration Act.

Ohio’s Supplemental Process follows subsection (d) to the letter. It is undisputed that Ohio does not remove a registrant on change-of-residence grounds unless the registrant is sent and fails to mail back a return card and then fails to vote for an additional four years.

Respondents argue (and the Sixth Circuit held) that, even if Ohio’s process complies with subsection (d), it nevertheless violates the Failure-to-Vote Clause—the clause that generally prohibits States from removing people from the rolls “by reason of [a] person’s failure to vote.” §20507(b)(2); see also §21083(a)(4)(A). Respondents point out that Ohio’s Supplemental Process uses a person’s failure to vote twice: once as the trigger for sending return cards and again as one of the requirements for removal. Respondents conclude that this use of nonvoting is illegal.

We reject this argument because the Failure-to-Vote Clause, both as originally enacted in the NVRA and as amended by HAVA, simply forbids the use of nonvoting as the sole criterion for removing a registrant, and Ohio does not use it that way. Instead, as permitted by subsection (d), Ohio removes registrants only if they have failed to vote and have failed to respond to a notice.

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“RBG” (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) film at the Loft

RBG
Starts Friday, MAY 11 at the Loft cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Tucson

“Special thanks to our community partner NOW (National Organization of (for) Women).

As the United States Supreme Court leans increasingly to the right, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vigorous dissenting opinions and ferocious 20-push-up workouts have earned this tiny, soft-spoken intellectual giant the status of rock star and the title “Notorious RBG.” What many don’t know is Ginsburg’s strategic, trailblazing role in defining gender-discrimination law.

Intent on systematically releasing women from second-class status, she argued six pivotal gender-bias cases in the 1970s before an all-male Supreme Court blind to sexism. Now 84, and still inspired by the lawyers who defended free speech during the Red Scare, Ginsburg refuses to relinquish her passionate duty, steadily fighting for equal rights for all citizens under the law. Through intimate interviews and unprecedented access to Ginsburg’s life outside the court, RBG tells the electric story of Ginsburg’s consuming love affairs with both the Constitution and her beloved husband Marty—and of a life’s work that led her to become an icon of justice in the highest court in the land. (Dir. by Julie Cohen & Betsy West, 2018, USA, 97 mins., Rated PG)

May’s Reel Reads Selection! Purchase a copy of Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Kinzhnik during the month of May and receive a special “Loft Reel Reads” discount off the cover price – 20% for Loft Cinema members and 10% for the general public. Copies of the book are available at The Loft Cinema and Antigone Books.”

https://loftcinema.org/film/rbg/

UPDATE: Tucson NOW is co-hosting the opening night screening on May 11 of the RBG documentary at The Loft. “We’ll also have a brief general meeting before the movie at 6:50 pm on the patio (the movie starts at 7:15 pm).”

SCOTUS to hear second case of partisan gerrymandering on Wednesday

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in a partisan gerrymandering case from Wisconsin, Gill v. Whitford, last October. The case provided an initial test for the efficiency gap, a proposed standard for determining discriminatory effect that counts the number of votes each party wastes in an election to determine whether either party enjoyed a systematic advantage in turning votes into seats. A decision is still pending.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a second case of partisan gerrymandering from Maryland, Benisek v. Lamone. This case provides an initial test of a First Amendment theory under political association.

Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog has an Argument preview:

In October, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case alleging that Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature had drawn the state’s redistricting plan to put Democrats at a disadvantage – a claim known as “partisan gerrymandering.” The plaintiffs challenging that plan argued that it violated their constitutional right to be treated equally under the law, but Justice Anthony Kennedy suggested that the issue might be better framed as a violation of the freedom of speech and association guaranteed by the First Amendment. [On Wednesday], the justices will hear oral argument in another redistricting case – this time, a challenge by Republican voters to a single federal congressional district drawn by Democratic officials in Maryland – presenting precisely that question. The Supreme Court’s rulings in the Wisconsin and Maryland cases will almost certainly shape the face of redistricting for years, if not decades, to come.

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#MeToo Movement revisits Clarence Thomas: a case for impeachment

The #MeToo movement has begun to hold powerful men who have abused women accountable for their actions. Many of these men have engaged in such behavior for decades, as the Harvey Weinstein case illustrates.

This has led Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of The New York Times and the co-author of Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas, a 1994 book about his controversial confirmation hearing, to revisit the issue in the current cover story of New York Magazine. Do You Believe Her Now?: With new evidence that Clarence Thomas lied to get onto the Supreme Court, it’s time to talk seriously about impeachment:

On the same fall night in 2016 that the infamous Access Hollywood tape featuring Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault was made public by the Washington Post and dominated the news, an Alaska attorney, Moira Smith, wrote on Facebook about her own experiences as a victim of sexual misconduct in 1999.

“At the age of 24, I found out I’d be attending a dinner at my boss’s house with Justice Clarence Thomas,” she began her post, referring to the U.S. Supreme Court justice who was famously accused of sexually harassing Anita Hill, a woman who had worked for him at two federal agencies, including the EEOC, the federal sexual-harassment watchdog.

“I was so incredibly excited to meet him, rough confirmation hearings notwithstanding,” Smith continued. “He was charming in many ways — giant, booming laugh, charismatic, approachable. But to my complete shock, he groped me while I was setting the table, suggesting I should ‘sit right next to him.’ When I feebly explained I’d been assigned to the other table, he groped again … ‘Are you sure?’ I said I was and proceeded to keep my distance.” Smith had been silent for 17 years but, infuriated by the “Grab ’em by the pussy” utterings of a presidential candidate, could keep quiet no more.

Tipped to the post by a Maryland legal source who knew Smith, Marcia Coyle, a highly regarded and scrupulously nonideological Supreme Court reporter for The National Law Journal, wrote a detailed story about Smith’s allegation of butt-squeezing, which included corroboration from Smith’s roommates at the time of the dinner and from her former husband. Coyle’s story, which Thomas denied, was published October 27, 2016. If you missed it, that’s because this news was immediately buried by a much bigger story — the James Comey letter reopening the Hillary Clinton email probe.

Smith, who has since resumed her life as a lawyer and isn’t doing any further interviews about Thomas, was on the early edge of #MeToo. Too early, perhaps: In the crescendo of recent sexual-harassment revelations, Thomas’s name has been surprisingly muted.

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Dirty deeds done dirt cheap: GOP kills Senate filibuster rule for SCOTUS justices

Authoritarian Tea-Publicans have gone “nuclear” and blown up the Senate filibuster rules. The New York Times reports, Senate Republicans Deploy ‘Nuclear Option’ to Clear Path for Gorsuch:

Senate Republicans changed longstanding rules on Thursday to clear the way for the confirmation of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court, bypassing a precedent-breaking Democratic filibuster by allowing the nomination to go forward on a simple majority vote.

Lawmakers convened late Thursday morning to decide whether to end debate and advance to a final vote on Judge Gorsuch. Republicans needed 60 votes — at least eight Democrats and independents joining the 52-seat majority — to end debate on the nomination and proceed to a final vote.

Only a handful of Democrats defected, and the vote failed, 55-45, leaving Republicans to choose between allowing the president’s nominee to fail or bulldozing long-held Senate practice.

[The chamber then voted] on a party-line vote, with all 52 Republicans voting to overrule Senate precedent and all 48 Democrats and liberal-leaning independents voting to keep it.

The Senate then voted 55-45 to cut off debate — four votes more than needed under the new rules — and move to a final vote on Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation Friday evening, with a simple majority needed for approval.

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Senator Jeff Merkley holds a talk-a-thon to protest Judge Gorsuch

Ahead of Thursday’s farcical vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to a stolen Supreme Court seat, for which Judge Gorsuch will forever be tainted by illegitimacy, Sen. Jeff Merkley held the Senate floor for more than 15 hours to protest Judge Gorsuch:

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., took to the Senate floor a few minutes before 7 p.m. Tuesday night to protest President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, vowing to speak “as long as I’m able.”

He did so for more than 15 hours, yielding the floor shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Merkley mounted his demonstration in response to Republicans who refused to consider former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, following the February 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

“The majority team in this chamber decided to steal a Supreme Court seat,” he said. “Such a theft has never, ever happened in the history of our nation.”

Republicans argued that neither party should fill a Supreme Court vacancy that opened up during an election year.

Barbara A. Perry, the Miller Professor of Ethics and Institutions and director of presidential studies at U-Va.’s Miller Center: One-third of all U.S. presidents appointed a Supreme Court justice in an election year. Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog, Supreme Court vacancies in presidential election years: There is no “practice of leaving a seat open on the Supreme Court until after the election.”

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