Tag: Supreme Court

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Misguided Priorities on First Amendment Fights

 

Yesterday, in Town of Greece v. Galloway, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court upheld ceremonial prayers at the start of a town’s board meetings, as noted in Adam’s earlier post. Two thoughts occurred to me while reading the decision.

First, I continue to be impressed at how much effort both sides put into fighting over simple, symbolic signs of religion that do not come remotely close to running afoul of the Establishment Clause. It is hard to believe that the Town of Greece — or any of the many cities and states that have been sued over similar religious symbolism — is trying to found a mandatory state religion of the kind commonly seen in Europe.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. SCOTUS Decision on Legislative Prayer Doesn’t Go Far Enough—Adam Freedman

 

Yesterday was a good day for religious liberty at the Supreme Court, where five justices beat back an attempt to declare prayers at town meetings unconstitutional. It could have been a great day, however, if only the Court had accepted Justice Thomas’ invitation to declare the Establishment Clause completely inapplicable to state and local governments. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

The decision in Town of Greece v Galloway involved a small city in upstate New York (Greece) in which town board meetings open with a roll call, a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, and – brace yourself – a prayer given by a rotating selection of local clergymen. Two town residents sued, arguing that the predominately Christian nature of the prayers (reflecting the composition of the local clergy) violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. The Court’s liberal bloc (Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan) would have banned the town’s prayer tradition, relying on a dominant theory in many earlier cases that the First Amendment prohibits any government action that might appear to “endorse” religion. 

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Libertarian Podcast: Cell Phones, Privacy, and the Fourth Amendment

 

On this week’s installment of The Libertarian podcast for the Hoover Institution, Richard leads us through a conversation about the two cases heard by the Supreme Court yesterday on whether police can search a cell phone without a warrant in the course of an arrest. Just how far should the Fourth Amendment’s protections extend? What’s the right balance between law enforcement’s interest in providing security and the individual right to privacy? Professor Epstein is characteristically insightful in answering these and other questions.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Distinguishing Between Law and Politics on Affirmative Action

 

In my latest weekly column for Defining Ideas at the Hoover Institution, I look at last week’s Supreme Court ruling in the Michigan affirmative action case, Schuette v. BAMN. My view: that the legal considerations and the policy considerations raise very different issues. As I write:

As a constitutional matter, I think that Justice Kennedy made the right call [to uphold the voter-approved ban on affirmative action]. It is too much to say that the Equal Protection Clause instructs states on how to organize their internal governance structures. The questions of electoral motive really have to be put to one side, lest every electoral decision be subject to scrutiny for some hidden electoral bias. The decisions made at one time have to be reversible at some later time, by whatever means the state chooses to do so, including the referendum.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Half a Win on Supreme Court’s Affirmative Action Ruling — John Yoo

 

Most conservatives were probably happy with the news of yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in Schuette v. BAMN, which upheld Michigan’s state constitutional ban on affirmative action. The plurality opinion, however, should curb their enthusiasm.

Written by Justice Anthony Kennedy and joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, the plurality treated the case not as one about a color-blind Constitution, but as a political process issue. They essentially reduced the question to whether Michigan was within its rights to enact the ban through a ballot initiative. They found that it was — but suggested that a state could also legitimately use the exact same process to reach the opposite outcome.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Libertarian Podcast: The Supreme Court and Campaign Finance — Troy Senik

 

In this week’s installment of the Libertarian podcast from the Hoover Institution, Richard discusses the Supreme Court’s decision last week in McCutcheon v. FEC; what level of campaign finance restrictions — if any — the government should impose; and why the recent Brendan Eich controversy should lead us to rethink transparency requirements for political donors.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Justice Breyer’s Campaign Finance Mistake

 

In my latest weekly column for Defining Ideas at the Hoover Institution, I examine the Supreme Court’s decision last week in McCutcheon v. FEC, overturning the aggregate limits that donors can give to political candidates in any given election cycle. As I’ve noted in the past, I generally have a strong aversion to the McCain-Feingold law, which, in my judgment, only aggravates distortions in the political market.

As I note in the piece:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. SCOTUS Campaign Finance Ruling: Right Outcome, Wrong Reasoning

 

Yesterday, the Supreme Court occasioned much gnashing of liberal teeth by striking down one more piece of the federal campaign finance laws. At issue was the fact that, while the law limited an individual’s contributions to any candidate to $2,600 per election, it also sets a ceiling of $48,600 in cumulative giving to candidates.

 

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Member Post

 

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court in McCutcheon v. FEC on First Amendment grounds struck down federal campaign finance laws which limited the total amount of money donors could give to all candidates and political party committees during an election cycle. While the outcome is a victory today for free speech, the underlying message about what the individual […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Supreme Court Should Avoid Overhaul of Patent Protections

 

In the newest installment of my column for the Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas, I look at Alice Corporation vs. CLS Bank International, a case that went before the Supreme Court for oral argument yesterday.

The case turns on the question of whether a computing method used in electronic funds transfers is patentable, a query ripe for a clear answer, given that a 10-judge panel on the Federal Circuit produced seven different opinions on the matter. Critics such as Professor Robin Feldman and the New York Times editorial board have argued that the practice is too abstract to deserve intellectual property protection. I have a different take, as I note in the piece:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Libertarian Podcast: Hobby Lobby, ObamaCare, and Religious Liberty

 

On this week’s installment of The Libertarian Podcast, I lead Professor Epstein through a discussion of the challenges to Obamacare’s contraception mandate currently before the Supreme Court. Is the right to religious liberty different (or non-existent) for corporations as opposed to individuals? Would allowing non-participation in the mandate create a slippery slope towards opt-out government? Is the Obama Administration’s case actually weakened by the fact that it’s already granted exemptions to explicitly religious organizations? Those are just a few of the questions Richard answers in this week’s episode

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Supreme Court and Traffic Tickets

 

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Crowd Control or Message Control?

 

Over at SCOTUSblog, there is an interesting analysis of a case that will be argued before the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The case, Wood v. Moss, stems from a 2004 incident in Jacksonville, Oregon, where President George W. Bush was campaigning for reelection. When President Bush deviated from plans and chose to dine in the outdoor patio area of a hotel restaurant, Secret Service agents and local police had to improvise so as to maintain a secure perimeter around him. 

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Can California Make Laws For the Rest of the Nation?

 

That’s the question I examine in the newest installment of my column for Hoover’s Defining Ideas. California has recently enacted a series of carbon regulations so sweeping that they have the practical effect of regulating behavior throughout the nation. As I note in the column, it is, in my judgment, time for this issue to be heard by the Supreme Court.

The reason this case is so important is that California’s regulations essentially usurp the powers of the federal legislative branch. As I argue:

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