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Supreme Court Upholds Execution Drug

In a 5-4 opinion written by Justice Alito, the Supreme Court has upheld Oklahoma's use of midazolam in executions. The reasoning:

Alito said the prisoners failed to identify a “known and available alternative method of execution that entails a lesser risk of pain,” which he said was required under the court’s previous ruling upholding lethal injection. And he said plaintiffs had failed to establish that a massive dose of midazolam “entails a substantial risk of severe pain.”

Some background is here. The opinion is here.

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SCOTUS Rules Constitution Requires Marriage Equality

Decision here.

Discuss.

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Supreme Court Upholds Obama's Health Care Act

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court today upheld the Affordable Choices Act. The opinion in King v. Burwell is here.

The 6-to-3 ruling means that it is all but certain that the Affordable Care Act will survive after Mr. Obama leaves office in 2017, and will give it a greater chance of becoming an enduring part of America’s social safety net

Dissenters: Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

The Court upheld the Act's tax subsidies intended to assist the ability of the poor and middle-class to buy health insurance. [More...]

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Would a public option have eliminated incentive for King v. Burwell?

There is no public option in the Affordable Care Act. On its own merits, as Wendell Potter explains, that's a shame. But there is another reason why no public option in ACA is a bad thing - if ACA included a public option, the challenge to tax credits and subsidies on the exchange, now before the the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell, would never have existed.

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Supreme Court Upholds Michigan Ban on Affirmative Action

In a 6-2 vote, the Supreme Court has upheld Michigan's ban on affirmative action in college admissions. The full opinion in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action is here.

The opinion holds that Michigan voters had the right to amend their constitution to prohibit public universities from considering race in admissions decisions.

Justices Sotomayor wrote the 58 page dissent, joined in by Justice Ginsburg. The Chicago Tribune discusses the dissent here. [More...]

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Opening SCOTUS Briefs In Hobby Lobby, Conestoga

Via Marty Lederman, the government's opening brief (PDF) in Hobby Lobby and the plaintiff's opening brief (PDF) in Conestoga. The government is the petitioner in Hobby Lobby and the Conestoga plaintiffs are the petitioners in their case.

Bone up as we will be discussing these issues during the week.

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Supreme Court Limits Warrantless Forced Blood Tests for DUI Suspects

The Supreme Court today ruled in Missouri v. McNeely (opinion here) that the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not constitute an exigency in every case sufficient to justify conducting a blood test without a warrant.

The majority opinion was written by Justice Sotomayor. There were two concurring and one dissenting opinions.

While the court didn't say a warrant was needed, it made clear officers shouldn't assume one is not needed. Scotus Blog explains: [More...]

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Supreme Court Rules Against Warrantless Canine Sniffs at Homes

The Supreme Court has taken a step to keep the 4th Amendment from going to the dogs. It ruled today that police may not use the fruits of a warrantless dog search at the front door to a residence as probable cause for a search warrant. The case is Jardines v. Florida and the opinion, written by Justice Scalia, is here.

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Supreme Court Rejects FISA Surveillance Challenge

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision written by Justice Alito, today ruled civil rights groups and lawyers representing Guantanamo detainees lacked standing to challenge the 1998 FISA Amendment that allowed their overseas conversations and e-mails to be intercepted. The case is Clapper v. Amnesty International, the opinion is here.

Split 5-4 on ideological lines, with conservatives backing the government and the liberal wing in the minority, the country's highest court said none of the three categories, including human rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have legal standing to sue because they could not show they had suffered any injury.

The ACLU, which filed the lawsuit, says: [More...]

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Supreme Court Upholds Dog Search

The Supreme Court today issued its opinion in Florida v. Harris, ruling that extensive reliability evidence is not necessary for probable cause for a dog search. The opinion is here.

Justice Elena Kagan said the Florida court had gone too far, and suggested that proper training and certification of the dog — rather than how it has performed in the field — might be enough for law enforcement’s purposes.

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Supreme Court: Argument in Two Dog-Sniffing Cases

Update: Transcript of argument in Florida v. Jardines is here, and Florida v. Harris here. Washington Post recap here.

Will the Supreme Court keep the 4th Amendment from going to the dogs?

The Supreme Court held two hours of oral argument today on the constitutionality of using drug-sniffing dogs at private homes, and the reliability of the dogs. Background here and at Scotus Blog here. Wired reports here, and the LA Times here.

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A Dark Cloud On A Sunny Day

Obama and Roberts
Upholding ACA, laying groundwork to strike down New Deal

Yesterday, a happy day for many of us, where the Affordable Care Act was upheld in a 5-4 decision (PDF) authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, there is a dark cloud attached. The Chief Justice accepted the federal government's argument that Congress had exercised its taxing power in enacting the mandate. But rather than being a judicial minimalist and deciding only those constitutional questions that must be decided, the Roberts Court bulled on to decide issues that need not have been addressed—whether the mandate exceeded the Congress' Commerce and Necessary and Proper power.

And the Roberts opinion on the scope of the national government's power to address national problems is a shot across the bow to the Supreme Court's New Deal jurisprudence that underpins our modern national government.

(Continue reading below the fold)

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Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act

The opinion is here.

Here'a a new thread to discuss the Supreme Court decision and related topics. (I haven't read it yet, I just got out of court. I'll chime in later, I'm sure.)

BTD - Radio most of the day but I promise to discuss ACA here at Talk Left tomorrow if anyone is still interested.

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Decision Day for Health Care Law

BTD will be on the radio (please join him), and I'll be getting ready for court when the Supreme Court releases its historic decision on the Affordable Care Act. The decision will be available on the court's website.

According to C-Span, these are the four issues:

  • Whether the court has jurisdiction over a tax law that has yet to take effect,
  • Whether the individual mandate is constitutional,
  • Whether the court can strike down only part of the law without striking down the law in its entirety,
  • And whether the law's extension of Medicaid is constitutional.

Put even simpler, the decision will address jurisdiction, the individual mandate, the fate of the rest of the law — and separately, the Medicaid provision.

For the legal-minded among you, check out ScotusBlog. It's plain English version (which maybe should be called plain English for lawyers) is here. Here are some potential scenarios in plain English as to the effects of the ruling should it go one way or the other.

Here's a thread to discuss all aspects of the decision and the potential effects -- legal, economic, political, and personal.

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The SCOTUS and ACA: Live Coverage

Bump and Update (TL):

Thursday morning, starting at 9 am ET, Daily Kos Radio will be presenting live coverage and reaction to the Supreme Court's momentous decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. You can listen here. We'll be taking calls as well (Skype calls preferred.) What we'll be talking about - via Adam B:

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