On Tuesday, the court accepted two cases centered on the issue of business owners’ religious expression.
It’s another test for the embattled health care law, which is already struggling under the weight of a botched website and a political backlash after millions of Americans saw their current insurance plans cancelled for 2014.
By Ned Resnikoff
A top House Democrat is going after one of the Supreme Court’s most conservative justices and trying to enlist the Chief Justice in her cause.
On Wednesday, New York Rep. Louise Slaughter wrote to Chief Justice John Roberts asking that heformally reprimand his colleague Justice Clarence Thomas for participating in the conservative Federalist Society’s annual fundraiser. Thomas’ appearance at the event, writes Slaughter, is a “clear violation of the ethical standards embodied in the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges.”
Her letter was co-signed by representatives from two progressive advocacy groups: Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice, and Arn H. Pearson, vice president for policy and litigation for Common Cause.
Canon 4(c) of the Code of Conduct forbids judges from personally participating in fundraising events. Although it is not legally binding upon Supreme Court justices, Roberts has previously written that it provides “a current and uniform source of guidance” for the members of the Court.
“Justice Thomas is among several members of the high court who’ve made a habit of flouting judicial ethics by headlining Federalist Society fundraisers,” said Pearson in a statement. “He gets away with it because the Court has exempted itself from the Code, but that doesn’t make it right.”
[That should read “Holder.”]
By Scott Keyes
Voting in North Carolina may soon change, much in the same way a wrecking ball changes a building.
The highly-conservative North Carolina legislature just released a new voter suppression bill that would enact not just voter ID, but a host of other new initiatives designed to make it more difficult to vote. A significant roadblock to the legislation was removed last month when the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, making it easier for states with a history of racial discrimination like North Carolina to enact new voter suppression laws.
By Brian Beutler
The unusual nature of the Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act has created a kind of limbo for conservatives in southern states who want to flood their legislatures with voter ID laws and other disenfranchising policies, and thrown into Congress’ lap an unexpected issue that will have enormous ramifications for the 2014 elections and beyond.
Where this all ends, nobody knows, but we’re beginning to see how it starts.
Congressional Democrats are already setting wheels in motion to fix the damage the Court did to the Voting Rights Act, but they’re prepared for a long and complex haul.
Because Democrats only control one chamber of Congress, they’re effectively confined to beginning the process in the Senate, which is why early statements from Senate Dems refer to action they plan to take, while House Dems are stuck pressing Republicans to take the issue seriously.
But that’s enough to sketch out a roadmap by which they might successfully re-establish pre-clearance standards under Voting Rights Act.
“As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I intend to take immediate action to ensure that we will have a strong and reconstituted Voting Rights Act that protects against racial discrimination in voting,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said in a statement after the decision.
The initial hearings will begin after Congress returns from Fourth of July recess. But because of the complicated legal nature of the issue, a legislative fix will require a great deal of groundwork and careful drafting to assure it doesn’t run exceed Constitutional limits.
By SUZANNE GAMBOA Associated Press
“Just as they were announcing plans for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, black and civil rights leaders learned the Supreme Court had kicked back to a lower court a case challenging the use of race in college admissions.
That and other key cases before the Supreme Court connected to race and civil rights, the leaders said Monday, is why the five days of events marking the historic march this August will not simply be a commemoration.
“It is the intent of those that come together to make it clear that this is not just a nostalgia visit, that this is not a commemoration but a continuation and a call to action,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who head the National Action Network. “We are in a climate that is threatening too much of what was achieved 50 years ago.”
“I Don’t Feel No-Ways Tired”
At issue is the appointment of three people to the National Labor Relations Board.
The case sets up a high-stakes Supreme Court fight. Oral arguments will be held in public session later this year or early next.
Something new is brewing in the morning.
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By Stephanie Condon
The court’s most hotly-debated and complicated rulings always come down at the end of its term, which comes to a close in late June. This year, the final rulings are almost sure to be two cases hitting on the issue of same-sex marriage. Two other cases that will be decided this month address affirmative action and the historic Voting Rights Act.