Tag: Supreme Court

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Case of Man Sentenced to Death by a Racist Juror

Photo: Georgia Department of Corrections The Supreme Court agreed that at least one of the jurors who convicted a Georgia man of murder was a virulent racist. They previously came to the conclusion that racism may have affected a juror’s decision. But in a unanimous no-decision, the Supreme Court declined to take up the prisoner’s […]

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Would the Green New Deal Survive the Supreme Court?

How the United States confronts climate change will be decided whenever the Democratic Party regains control of the White House and Congress. But it may ultimately be Chief Justice John Roberts who decides whether they succeed. Every major Democratic policy would need to survive scrutiny by the justices. So how would the Green New Deal fare […]

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Court-Packing Is Not a Threat to American Democracy. It’s Constitutional.

America’s founders probably would not have been surprised by former Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement last week that if he were president—though he’s not running—and the Democrats controlled Congress, he would “seriously consider adding two seats to the Supreme Court” to counteract Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “power-grabbing antics.” The same goes for a competing […]

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The Weak Case for Packing the Supreme Court

The Trump era is giving Democrats a bruising lesson in the distribution of American political power. Thanks to the Electoral College, the Senate, and gerrymandering, Republicans have enjoyed outsized influence over the course of national events over the past few years. Democratic candidates and liberal thinkers thus have rallied around proposals that would rebalance the […]

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Rappers Are Defending Their Right to Anti-Cop Lyrics in the Supreme Court

In 2014, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court sentenced Pittsburg rapper Mayhem Mal to two years in prison for “terroristic threats” and “witness intimidation.” This conviction was based on his lyrics in “Fuck the Police,” a song he rapped on as part of the group Ghetto SuperStar Committee. The song, which borrows its title from N.W.A.’s “Fuck Tha […]

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Killer Mike And Chance The Rapper Filed A Legal Brief In A Supreme Court Case About Rap Lyrics

Getty Image In 2014, Jamal Knox — a then-19-year-old rapper from Pittsburgh — was sentenced to two years in prison for “issuing terroristic threats and intimidating witnesses. The charges stemmed from a song that Knox — who rapped under the name “Mayhem Mal” — recorded following his arrest for illegal drug and gun possession. In […]

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Conservatives’ Coming War on the Warren Court

Two years after Clarence Thomas’s bruising confirmation hearing in 1991, The New York Times reported that the Supreme Court justice told two of his law checks that he planned to serve until 2034. That would give him a record tenure of 43 years on the nation’s highest tribunal. But superlatives were not the reason for […]

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What This Massive Cross Really Stands For

What exactly does the cross stand for, and who gets to decide? The Supreme Court will wrestle with the question on Wednesday morning when it hears oral arguments in American Legion v. American Humanity Association. The case is ostensibly about a World War I monument in suburban Maryland that’s shaped like a four-story crucifix. What […]

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American Democracy Is on the Supreme Court Docket

The Supreme Court’s current term may have started with a whimper, but it will end with a bang. In recent weeks, the justices added three cases related to electoral power and influence in the United States. One involves the Trump administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census; the other two will […]

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Clarence Thomas Proves That He’s Still Alive and Willing to Do Trump’s Dirty Work

Photo: Chip Somodevilla (Getty Images) Every now and then, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas does something to remind us, the viewing public, that he’s still alive. In 2006, the stoic and curmudgeonly old black man, coughed. In 2007, he raised an eyebrow. In 2010, he moved his hand to wipe something from his mouth. It […]

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Constitutional Battle Ends With Supreme Court Ruling in Land Rover Owner’s Favor

You can’t fight city hall, the saying goes, but you apparently can fight the state of Indiana in the U.S. Supreme Court and win. That’s what former addict Tyson Timbs learned today, after the Court returned a unanimous decision that overturned a ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court. It seems the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines […]

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Domineque Ray Died So the Death Penalty Could Live

The Supreme Court can’t make everyone happy, but it rarely makes everyone mad. Chief Justice John Roberts and his four conservative colleagues did just that last week when they let the state of Alabama execute Domineque Ray, a Muslim prisoner, without honoring his request to have an imam present at his death. Justice Elena Kagan, […]

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Supreme Court Allows Trump’s Transgender Military Ban to Go Into Effect

Photo: Ron Sachs (Getty Images) On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to enforce President Trump’s policy on barring certain transgender people from joining or staying in the military as justices put lower court rulings, which blocked the plan, on hold. Thanks to the conservative-leaning majority (looking at you, Brett “I like beer. I still […]

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The Operative

Imagine a pivotal moment in the history of the Supreme Court. A longtime partisan political operative is nominated and confirmed to the court. The party putting him forward is in the peculiar position of controlling all three branches of government, and yet is acutely concerned about future shifts in the political winds. The selection of […]

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The Supreme Court’s Double-Jeopardy Dilemma

The Supreme Court appeared hesitant on Thursday to overturn almost two centuries of precedents that allow state and federal prosecutors to each charge a defendant for the same crime. In Gamble v. United States, one of the most closely watched cases of the term, the justices debated whether they and their predecessors have misread the […]

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The Real Impact of George H. W. Bush’s Presidency

George H. W. Bush, who died on December 1, is remembered more for his influence on world events than for his domestic policies. That may be an inevitable byproduct of serving as president during the end of the Cold War and organizing the international coalition in the Gulf War. But Bush had a profound impact […]

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The Whitaker Solution

Chief Justice John Roberts took an extraordinary step last week by publicly reaffirming that the federal judiciary is nonpartisan and independent. Now, an unusual filing by one of the nation’s most prominent appellate lawyers has given him and his colleagues a chance to prove it. Tom Goldstein, a prominent appellate lawyer and the co-founder of […]

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The State of Indiana May Be About to Lose a Land Rover

Forecasting the Supreme Court’s final decision based on oral arguments is risky at best. The justices’ questions during the hour-long sessions don’t always reflect their actual views. Not all of court’s members actively participate in the back-and-forth deliberations. The justices’ minds can change as the final opinions are written. No Supreme Court decision is certain […]

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How One Murder Could Reshape Oklahoma

Carpenter v. Murphy isn’t one of the more high-profile Supreme Court cases in recent years, but it may lead to one of the most consequential decisions this term. The dispute, for which the court heard oral arguments on Tuesday, is relatively straightforward: Does the Muscogee Creek Nation’s reservation in Oklahoma still legally exist? If the […]

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Who Is John Roberts Kidding?

I wish John Roberts was right. Last week, after President Trump denounced a federal judge who ruled against his administration’s asylum policy as an “Obama judge,” the Chief Justice replied with a ringing defense of judicial impartiality. “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts said. “What we […]

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