U.S. Supreme Court

In 1927 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Buck v Bell that the state of Virginia was allowed to sterilize Carrie Buck, a young woman wrongly thought to be feeble minded. Imbecile: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck by NY Times bestselling author Adam Cohen exposes the story of one of the darkest moments in American legal tradition- the Supreme Court’s decision to champion eugenic sterilization of undesirable citizens for the greater good for the country. The 8-1 ruling was signed by some of the most revered figures in American law including Chief Justice William Howard Taft, a former U.S. President and Louis Brandeis, a progressive icon. Oliver Wendell Holmes considered by many the greatest Supreme Court justice in history wrote the majority opinion. 

  The death of Antonin Scalia led to a political standoff in a matter of hours.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Connecticut Representative Elizabeth Esty tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that the late jurist must be replaced ASAP. 

  

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments last week on a case that could have a big impact on unions, especially in the public sector. A teacher in California objects to paying union fees for activities which she does not support. A Supreme Court ruling in 1977 upheld those so-called fair-share fees, to support the benefits all union members receive under collective bargaining. For more on the case, and what it could mean for the labor movement, we spoke with attorney Mike Billok, a labor and employment expert with the law firm Bond, Schoeneck and King

  The Supreme Court wrapped up its term last month by deciding several important cases.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Union College political science professor Brad Hays delves into the decisions with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday against Environmental Protection Agency rules that limit power plant emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants.  The decision is being panned by many in Vermont who say the court is backing business interests.

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A conservative Christian law group has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to strike down New Hampshire's 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics.

High courts are in the news this week, as justices hand down major decisions before their summer recess. Three decisions in particular have made headlines nationally and in the region. From contraception to unions to hydro-fracking, each of these rulings has sparked a powerful response from all sides.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck a limit on the total amount individuals can donate to political campaigns. In a hastily organized protest, about a half-dozen people held placards at one of Plattsburgh’s busiest intersections.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court seems likely to strike down a Massachusetts law setting a 35-foot protest-free zone outside abortion clinics.

Liberal and conservative justices alike expressed misgivings about the law during arguments at the high court Wednesday. They questioned the size of the zone and whether the state could find less restrictive ways of ensuring patient access and safety.

No one has been prosecuted under the 2007 law, which state officials and clinic employees have said has resulted in less congestion outside the clinics.

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The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments one week from today in a case challenging a Massachusetts law that establishes a protest-free zone around abortion clinics.  Thirty groups have filed briefs in the case including Planned Parenthood.

What’s the worst thing the U.S. Supreme Court has done in two decades?

Joseph Paul Franklin Put To Death

Nov 20, 2013
commons.wikimedia.org

White supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin has been put to death in Missouri. It was the state's first execution in nearly three years.

The 63-year-old Franklin targeted blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing rampage from 1977 to 1980. But he was sentenced to death for just one of the killings — a sniper shooting outside a suburban St. Louis synagogue in 1977.

WAMC political observer Dr. Alan Chartock talks about the World Series, whether or not there should be television cameras in the U.S. Supreme Court and the latest in the New York City mayoral contest.

NY Official Pushes Feds To Recognize Gay Marriages

Jul 19, 2013
wikipedia commons

New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is wielding the power of the state's $160 billion pension fund to urge President Barack Obama to order federal agencies in every state to recognize gay marriages performed in New York.

It could be a big push in DiNapoli's effort to get major companies that do business with the fund to adopt anti-discrimination measures in providing benefits for gay couples.

Vermont U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy says he will call hearings of the Senate Judiciary Committee to see if legislation can be written to protect minority voting rights that many feel were threatened after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Voting Rights Act.

In a speech being lauded by environmental activists, yesterday President Barack Obama announced several proposals to limit pollution that is contributing to climate change. The policies include the establishment of carbon pollution standards for power plants and increased funding for clean energy technology over the coming decades.

For reaction to the speech WAMC spoke with Representative Paul Tonko of New York’s 20th District. Before discussing climate change we asked Tonko for his reaction to today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling invalidating the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

We've seen two historic rulings today from the U.S. Supreme Court concerning gay marriage - the striking down of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and a ruling clearing the way for same sex marriages to resume in California.

WAMC's Ray Graf spoke with Lynn Faria, deputy executive director with Empire State Pride Agenda, for reaction to the decisions.

Recently the Supreme Court delivered a rebuke to Governor Jan Brewer and the citizens of Arizona arguing in a 7 to 2 majority that the state violated federal law when it added a proof of citizenship requirement to a federal voter registration form almost a decade ago.

According to the majority decision the high court ruled that in areas where Washington holds constitutional authority – as is the case with immigration and the rules for federal elections – states may not override Congressional judgment.

National Parks Service

The U.S. Supreme Court will review an appeals court ruling that overturned the Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. Two Adirondack environmental groups say the move is crucial for the long-term health of the region’s ecosystem.

National Parks Service

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider reinstating a federal regulation intended to reduce power plant pollution that contributes to unhealthy air in neighboring states.

Mass AG asking court to throw out marriage law

Mar 27, 2013
wikiepedia commons

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley plans to be at the U.S. Supreme Court for arguments on the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The law prohibits same-sex couples in states where gay marriage is legal from receiving an array of federal benefits available to heterosexual married couples. The justices are hearing the case today.

Coakley and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a brief with the high court last month calling for DOMA to be struck down.

Courtesy GLAD

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments this week in to cases involving gay marriage. The nation’s highest court will hear the cases tomorrow and Wednesday. Mary Bonauto is the civil right project director at the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. She tells WAMC’S Brian Shields that the cases are monumental.
 

Court won't hear campaign finance arguments

Jan 7, 2013
Rob Crawley / Flickr

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will not hear an appeal from an anti-abortion group that wanted to be exempted from campaign finance disclosure regulations.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from The Real Truth About Abortion, Inc., which was formerly called The Real Truth About Obama, Inc. The group wanted to stop the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department from enforcing fundraising and advertising regulations against it.

Several lower courts have ruled against it, saying it is un-constitutional, but the nation’s highest court will take up a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, a law passed by congress in 1996 that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. New York is among a handful of states that have legalized same sex marriage, and the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court will be watched very closely in New York. George Simpson, spokesman for Empire State Pride Agenda, spoke about the issues under review by the court with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

For more on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on health care reform, WAMC’S Brian Shields spoke with Vassar College economics professor Shirley Johnson-Lans, author of The Health Economics Primer, who says the upholding by the court of the individual mandate requiring those who can afford it to buy health insurance is the backbone of the Obama plan.

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court announced their majority decision to uphold most of the provisions of President Barack Obama’s landmark health care reform policy, including the mandate that all citizens purchase health insurance.

What does this ruling mean for the health, economy, and presidential politics of the country?

The Murdochs, the president, and prostitutes; it's an open forum on this edition of Vox Pop. WAMC's Alan Chartock hosts.

A federal appeals court is considering the constitutionality of requiring large graphic photos on cigarette packs to show that smoking can harm or kill smokers. Today we want your take on the labels. WAMC’s Alan Chartock hosts along with WAMC’s Ray Graf.

While the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination continues today with contests in Wisconsin, Maryland, and Washington D.C., politicians and pundits are already looking ahead to the 2016 Democratic nomination.

Two names that have been mentioned as potential democratic candidates are New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and secretary of state and former New York U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton.