Posts tagged scotus.
Let me fix that headline for you: “Americans uniformed by news media”
(Photo: Larry Downing / Reuters file)
The Supreme Court has been making big headlines this summer, both with its split decision to upheld one part of a tough Arizona immigration law while striking down three other parts, and its decision to upheld the 2010 health care law, thus preserving President Obama’s landmark legislative achievement.
Penn Station, a low, dank place. I go through here a few times a year. Every time I want to escape as quickly as possible, even if it means surfacing on the wrong street.
Jim O’Grady spends time in Penn Station so that you won’t have to — but now you may want to. Read more of his tips here.
In an extraordinary display of judicial distemper, Scalia departed entirely from the law at one point and attacked an Obama administration policy that wasn’t at issue in the case. Footnoting a New York Times news article rather than case law, Scalia opined on a recent news conference by President Obama.Dana Milbank discusses Anthony Scalia’s rising senility and off-topic attack on the Obama administration in today’s immigration ruling. WaPo.
…we need a level playing field and we need to go back to the realization that Teddy Roosevelt had: that we have to have a limit on the flow of money and that corporations are not people,Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
FLASH! 55+ towns in Vermont just voted to urge Congress for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United. MSNBC’s excellent interview here, PR here, resolution text here.
In a 2003 decision that the majority said it expected would last for 25 years, the Supreme Court allowed public colleges and universities to take account of race in admission decisions. On Tuesday, the court signaled that it might end such affirmative action much sooner than that.
By agreeing to hear a major case involving race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas, the court thrust affirmative action back into the public and political discourse after years in which it had mostly faded from view. Both supporters and opponents of affirmative action said they saw the announcement — and the change in the court’s makeup since 2003 — as a signal that the court’s five more-conservative members might be prepared to do away with racial preferences in higher education.
The consequences of such a decision would be striking. It would, all sides agree, reduce the number of African-American and Latino students at nearly every selective college and graduate school, with more Asian-American and white students gaining entrance instead.
» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)
Great news from Rhode Island on a strong climate adaptation bill by a fine senator. In fact, I interviewed Sheldon back in ‘05 for Daily Kos when he was running for senator. I remember it was his first ‘blog/social media’ experience. He was appointed US Attorney to RI by Bill Clinton, and argued in front of the Supreme Court on health care reform. Really good dude.
“With incidents of prolonged drought, rising sea levels, and flooding on the rise, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced a bill on Wednesday to require federal natural resource agencies to plan for the long-term effects of climate change, and encourage states to prepare natural resources adaptation plans. The Safeguarding America’s Future and Environment Act (SAFE) Act also would create a science advisory board to ensure that the planning uses the best available science. The proposed legislation would require the development of a coordinated national adaptation strategy:
Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Panel shall develop a strategy to protect, restore, and conserve natural resources so that natural resources become more resilient, adapt to, and withstand the ongoing and expected impacts of climate variability and change.
It would also encourage, but not require, state-specific adaptation plans.”
Source: Think Progress
Absolutely worth reading in full. US calling for full accountability of the spill, including suing contractors. Companies aggressively appealing and could end up in the Supreme Court. Fines could reach $4,300 per barrel of oil leaked, up to $21 billion in fines.
U.S. offshore-drilling officials issued their first violations stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill Wednesday, accusing BP and two of its contractors of breaking several rules.
The citations were widely expected against BP, the operator of the Deepwater Horizon rig. But the government’s decision to pursue contractors Transocean and Halliburton for infractions jolted the contracting industry, which traditionally avoids liability in such accidents.
The decision to penalize the contractors “reflects the severity of the incident,” the Interior Department said in a statement. Interior officials are committed “to holding all parties accountable.”
The citations follow a months-long investigation by the Interior Department and Coast Guard. Interior said Wednesday it had identified 15 incidents of noncompliance with federal rules. Among them were the failure to perform operations in a safe manner and the failure to conduct accurate pressure-integrity tests.
BP spokesman Scott Dean said the violation make clear “contractors, like operators, are responsible” for their actions and “accountable to the U.S. government and the American public for their conduct.”
BP also used the findings to chide its partners in developing the Macondo well, which was being drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig.
“We continue to encourage other parties, including Transocean and Halliburton, to acknowledge their responsibilities in the accident,” Dean added.
A Transocean representative said the company “intends to appeal its citations.”
That’s the sensationalized headline you’ll read this week. But, what the 8-0 decision really means is that the EPA, under the Clean Air Act, is the proper venue to regulate green house gases from power plants, not individual lawsuits.
Ultra-majorclimate change case to be decided by SCOTUS within the next two weeks. It will determine if you, as a citizen, can sue for climate change. Most likely the court will pwn citizens and states in favor of coal.
Global warming: The court will decide whether California, New York and four other states can sue the nation’s five largest producers of the greenhouse gases that are widely blamed for causing climate change. The coal-fired power plants are concentrated in the Midwest and South. During oral arguments, the justices hinted they would toss out the suit. (American Electric Power Co. vs. Conn.)
Justices are set to hand down decisions in 14 cases. Check out a list of some of the major pending cases involving violent video games, alleged job discrimination at Wal-Mart, generic drugs and other issues.
The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. (goes to Amazon). Human Scale Cities tumblr is having a book submission extravaganza. They are asking planners and architects etc. to submit their favorite, or most influential books.
I chose this one because Robert Moses was monumental in city planning. Hated, revered, effective, destructive, he was deeply egotistical, and near maniacal. Author Robert Caro won a Pulitzer for his incredible book. Moses was pals with Roosevelt, Hoover, Truman, Eisenhower, he met Queen and the Pope, and hung out with Rockefellers.
He’s also the guy who caused all the traffic in NYC, and was stopped in his tracks (arguably) by one little old lady - Jane Jacobs.
One of my favorite excerpts is on page 704, where Moses gets a job in NYC government with unprecedented power to build and demolish - a position that was not in the City Charter:
In New York, as the city’s control over federal grants decreased, Moses’ increased.
It increased partly because of Moses’ bill-drafting genius, and what that genius enabled him to make out of the new post he had obtained from O’Dwyer.
The post lay outside the established structure of the city’s government. Nowhere in the forty-nine chapters of the City Charter was there a single mention of a “City Construction Coordinator.” To some men, this might have represented an obstacle. To Moses, it represented an opportunity. For since there was no definition of the position’s powers, he could write the definition himself.
This matters because it describes how politicians think about their bills. If something is not explicitly banned in the language or intent of a bill, then it’s permissible. These things go to court all the time. The word “intent” is crucial here. Justice Scalia, for example, calls this originalism. In the case of Moses, he exploited this well-worn loophole to incredible advantage.
Both “sides” of the court, conservatives and liberals, were critical of the case expressing openly clever skepticism. Justice Kennedy, the moderate, agreed that the case should be looked at “on the merits,” but when the court did dive into the merits of both side’s arguments, they were clearly scratching their heads. They seemed to collectively ask, why in the world should the courts be deciding if coal plant emissions should be regulated? Scalia sarcastically asked if “states can sue every cow in the country as well?”
The bottom line: My prediction of a 5-3 decision looks more like an 8-0 sweep to toss this case on its heels. For a tight, easy to read recap by SCOTUSblog, go here.
HUGE Climate Change case hits SCOTUS tomorrow. My final prediction: 5-3 Connecticut loses, coal/Obama wins.
In this highly watched climate change case, Connecticut sues American Electric Power Co., for contributing to climate change. There are three causes of action: 1. Can there be caps on GHG emissions? 2. Shouldn’t the federal government be handling this (eg, does the case raise a “political question”?)? 3. Is AmElPo causing a “public nuisance”?
Connecticut is joined with several other states and some environmental groups. American Electric is joined by several states and utilities, and is represented in part by the Obama administration.
I suspect SCOTUS will angrily throw this case out, and use very strong language to boot based on Mass v EPA and the political question. In other words, the EPA is the Federal body that should be making the regulatory decisions on GHGs, not the courts. And even if it’s not up to the EPA, it’s up to the Federal Government - case dismissed. However, if it survives these first two questions, it comes down to the law of nuisance, which is really interesting. Nuisance law is quite old. It’s the reason you cannot raise chickens, plant a small farm, make loud noises, or paint your house blingy-pink, etc., without special permissions.
Connecticut (with other states and enviro groups) believes that American Electric’s burning of coal is a nuisance. And Connecticut believes that since the EPA hasn’t acted on regulating GHGs, it’s up to the states to take matters into their own hands. The problem is causality. It’s true that Connecticut is dealing with the effects of climate change (sea level rise, heat strokes, etc). But can it be proven that American Electric caused these problems?
It gets complicated, but bottom line is that this case is huge. It’s taken about 10 years for it to reach SCOTUS.
Three things to note:
- The Obama administration is representing American Electric.
- Sotomayor has recused herself because she ruled on the appeals before she was appointed to SCOTUS. In other words, Connecticut is down an ally.
- Environmental groups supporting Connecticut could ruin chances for future “public nuisance” cases. Ct v Am El is basically a Hail Mary.
I predict a 5-3 against Connecticut, and in favor of Obama and American Electric (Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy - Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan). Arguments start tomorrow (Tuesday, 10am), in the Supreme Court.
For more on the case, go to one of my favorite websites, SCOTUS blog.