Rep. John Lewis almost lost his life fighting for voting rights for black people




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“Supreme Court strikes down Defense of Marriage Act, paves way for gay marriage to resume in California”


By Pete Williams and Erin McClam, NBC News

In a pair of landmark decisions, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the 1996 law blocking federal recognition of gay marriage, and it allowed gay marriage to resume in California by declining to decide a separate case.

The court invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to gay couples who are legally married in their states, including Social Security survivor benefits, immigration rights and family leave.

Justice Anthony Kennedywriting for the majority in a 5-4 decision, said that the act wrote inequality into federal law and violated the Fifth Amendment’s protection of equal liberty.

“DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,” he wrote.

In the second case, the court said that it could not rule on a challenge to Proposition 8, a ban on gay marriage in California passed by voters there in 2008, because supporters of the ban lacked the legal standing to appeal a lower court’s decision against it.

The court did not rule on the constitutionality of gay marriage, but the effect of the decision will be to allow same-sex marriage to resume in California. That decision was also 5-4, written by Chief Justice John Roberts.

It was not clear when same-sex marriages would resume in California. Los Angeles County said in a statement that it was waiting for a technical step by lower courts — the lifting of a stay that stopped gay marriage in California — but was prepared to begin issuing marriage licenses and performing ceremonies for gay couples.

The two rulings, released minutes apart, were greeted by jubilant cheers outside the Supreme Court, where crowds of gay-marriage supporters waved rainbow banners and flags bearing symbols of equality, and at City Hall in San Francisco.

“The underlying message, I think, is that these are marriages, these are relationships, that are worthy of equal respect,” said Tom Goldstein, the publisher of SCOTUSblog and a Supreme Court analyst for NBC News. “It really does send a powerful message to the country that this is something that deserves fair treatment.

President Barack Obama placed a phone call from Air Force One to the two gay couples who had challenged Proposition 8. He told them, “We’re proud of you guys.” Paul Katami, one of the challengers, invited the president to his wedding to his partner, Jeff Zarrillo.

David Boies, a lawyer who argued against Proposition 8, said that the rulings took the country closer to realizing the Declaration of Independence’s guarantee that all men are created equal.

“It’s a wonderful day for America,” he said.

The decisions were handed down 10 years to the day after the court decided Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down anti-sodomy laws across the country. They also came just ahead of the weekend when many large cities celebrate gay pride by observing the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, considered the beginning of the gay rights movement.



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A deeply divided Supreme Court has limited use of a key provision in the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, in effect invalidating a key enforcement provision that applies to all or parts of 15 states with past history of voter discrimination.

The case involved a section of the law giving federal authorities open-ended oversight of states and localities with a history of voter discrimination. Any changes in voting laws and procedures in the covered areas — which include all or parts of 15 states — had to be “pre-cleared” with Washington.

The court will not issue any other rulings today, but will issue rulings on Wednesday. Still pending are rulings on two key cases involving same-sex marriage.

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The Supreme Court side-stepped a sweeping decision on the use of race-conscious school admission policies, ruling Monday on the criteria at the University of Texas and whether it violates the equal protection rights of some white applicants.

The justices threw the case back to the lower courts for further review.

The court affirmed the use of race in the admissions process, but makes it harder for institutions to use such policies to achieve diversity. The 7-1 decision from the court avoids the larger constitutional issues.

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“Republicans Supporting Gay Marriage Write Supreme Court Amicus Brief”


BY  (@shushwalshe)

Feb. 26, 2013

The issue of same sex marriage is dividing the Republican Party as a group of more than 80 prominent members of the GOP ranging from Dick Cheney‘s daughter to four former governors have signed an amicus brief before the Supreme Court advocating for the legalization of gay marriage.

One of the signers confirmed for ABC News the existence of the brief signed by the Republicans and said it would be submitted to the United States Supreme Court this week. The deadline to submit briefs is Thursday.

The document, known as an amicus or “friend of the court” brief, is being submitted in support of a lawsuit aiming to strike down Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that passed in 2008 banning same sex marriage. The existence of the brief was first reported by the New York Times.

Republican elected leadership, like House Speaker John Boehner, as well as the platform, are staunchly against same sex marriage.  FULL  ARTICLE

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US Supreme Court: Citizens United

The Supreme Court will not revisit its controversial “Citizens Unitedcampaign finance decision, rejecting a pending state appeal over whether corporations have expanded “free speech” power in independent election expenditures.

The issue was whether the 2010 ruling on federal elections applied to existing state restrictions on political money from outside groups.

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MONDAY: Will History Be Made Today?

Some feel that


May give their ruling on

Obamacare today.

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SCOTUS: Day 3: While we wait…

Partisan Supreme Court Decides America’s Access to Health Care

MARCH 28, 2012

SCOTUS: All Is Not Lost

The 17th Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts

I have hearing what all the pundits and analysts say about the what the SCOTUS telegraphed with their questions yesterday.  I am not convinced.  It could be that they were being proper judges or devils-advocate. With their unpopular decisions of Bush vs Gore that Schiavo case, perhaps the Supreme Court wants to redeem itself with the wisdom of court decisions of yore.  I never shall forget how they owe their power in government thanks to the aggressive activism of Chief Justice Marshall who “assumed” the awesome the lofty power of our highest court.  The SCOTUS certainly knows how large the healthcare industry figures in our economy.  Doctors, medicine and hospitals cost too much.  President Obama’s legislation, affectionately known as “Obama,” is the first comprehensive legislation to fix this crisis that has garnered enough votes to pass Congress.  Why shoot the law down for something akin to semantics?  The human body is an imperfect machine. That is the human condition.  Sooner or later we make our way to the doctor or hospital for medical care.  People can go a lifetime without broccoli!  Some people are great and some have greatness thrust upon them.  I challenge the Supreme Court to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.