Monthly Archives: June 2011

Violent Videos and Arizona Campaign Finance

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Citing Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Homer and Dante, as well as Golding’s Lord of the Flies, in his opinion for the majority Justice Scalia said that violent speech, in this case video games, even when directed at children is still protected under the first amendment.

The case is Brown v. Entertainment Merchants.

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In another First Amendment case where the speech in question is privately raised campaign money the Court struck down an Arizona law that would provide matching funds to candidates who accept public financing.

“Laws like Arizona’s matching funds provision that inhibit robust and wide-open political debate without sufficient justification cannot stand” wrote Chief Justice Roberts in his majority opinion. SC110627_Kagan
Justice Kagan in her dissent, joined by Justices Ginsberg, Breyer and Sotomayor, and announced from the bench wrote: “Petitioners . . . are making a novel argument: that Arizona violated their First Amendment rights by disbursing funds to other speakers even though they could have received (but chose to spurn) the same financila assistance”. She added,  “Some people might call that chutzpah.”

The consolidated cases are Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett and McComish v. Bennett.

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Posted in Opinions, Supreme Court

Today’s Opinion Sketches

The Supreme Court announced six opinions today.  I have sketches of four of those opinions being read by their authors : SC110623_Ginsburg

Justice Ginsburg had the the opinions in two cases, Bullcoming v. New Mexico and CSX v. McBride.

SCOTUS, June 23, 2011, Thomas
Justice Thomas, who turned 63 today, had the opinion in PLIVA Inc v. Mensing.

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And Justice Kennedy read his opinion in Sorrell v. IMS Health.

It is beyond the capability of this wretched, inkstained courtartist to understand, much less explain the meaning of all these opinions, so I refer the reader to ScotusBlog.

 

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Posted in Opinions, Supreme Court

Class Action and Global Warming

As the Supreme Court comes into the final stretch of the term opinions on some of the eagerly awaited bigger cases are coming down.  SC110620_Scalia

Today Justice Scalia delivered the opinion in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, the largest ever class-action suit.  Brought by female employees of the retail giant it accused Wal-Mart of sex discrimination in pay and promotion.  Not surprisingly Wal-Mart won.

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The other opinion on my watch list to come down today, American Electric Power Co. v. Conn., did not get as much attention.  In an opinion written by Justice Ginsburg the Court said that the regulation of greenhouse gases is the job of the EPA, and that States cannot make an end run around the Clean Air Act by filling a “public nuisance” claim in federal court.

ScotusBlog’s Lyle Denniston on the global warming case can be found here.

NYT article on Wal-Mart is here.

 

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Posted in Opinions, Supreme Court

Children and Miranda

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Justice Sotomayor : ”It is beyond dispute that children will often feel bound to submit to police questioning when an adult in the same circumstances would feel free to leave.”

The case is J.D.B. v. North Carolina.

AP story here.

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Posted in Opinions, Supreme Court

NSA Whistleblower Escapes Espionage Charges

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NSA computer specialist Thomas Drake, shown above with his attorneys in court this morning, was facing felony charges under the Espionage Act for sharing information about the spy agency’s awarding of the billion dollar Trailblazer program to an outside contractor.

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After Judge Richard Bennett ruled that some of the allegedly classified documents Drake is accused of taking home would have to be shown to the jury the government’s case crumbled, and Drake was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor.

Baltimore Sun story here.

 

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Posted in Courtroom

$290 Million Ruling Against Microsoft

SC110609_Sotomayor
Justice Sotomayor read her opinion for the Court in the patent-law case, Microsoft v. i4i Limited Partnership, which upheld the lower court judgement against the software giant.

The reaction in Redmond? : “Check under the couch cushions and pay them”.

Financial Times story here.

 

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Posted in Opinions, Supreme Court
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