Thursday, May 28, 2015

Come To Shove

Here's an LA Times article listing 13 major cases the Supreme Court will decide in the next month.  Looking over them, I really can't say what the Court will do, but I do have a few guesses.

The two biggest cases, I suppose, and therefore the most likely to be announced last (though I'm not sure why that should be) are the same-sex marriage case and the Obamacare case.  Regarding the former, I still think the Court will figure out how to punt on it.  Maybe they don't have a majority ready to declare it a right, but maybe there's also a majority that doesn't want to be remembered as denying a basic right, either.  As for the latter, considering how they protected the Affordable Care Act last time around, I'm not sure if they want to wade into it again (even though I consider the results of the decision not nearly so significant as many think).

Regarding some of the other cases:

--I think the Court will protect the right to "rant" on Facebook, even if the rants appear to be threats; generally speaking, such laws tend to be found overbroad under First Amendment analysis.

--I'm guessing they won't get involved with independent commissions redrawing districts.

--I think they'll leave it for state authorities to decide how to carry out lethal injections.

For the rest, I'd toss a coin.


Anonymous Denver Guy said...

1. Obergefell vs. Hodges. I think the S.Ct will strike down on equal protection grounds all State Constitutional and Statutory definitions of marriage that require different the parties to be of different sexes. They will leave open the question of whether marriage, by any other name, equally protects the citizens' rights to marry each other one on one. The next case will be Colorado and other states that have parallel civil union and marriage statutes. If separate but equal is (again) ruled insufficient, the last case will be whether states can eliminate all references to marriage in their statutes and change the name formally to civil unions.

2. King vs. Burwell. I actually think Roberts will join the conservatives this time and rule that the ACA says what it says, arming the Republican Congress with the leverage to amend the statute. As PJ Guy says, it won't amount to much - just a test of who can spin the result and subsequent amendments better.

3. Zivotofsky vs. Kerry. The President wins the question of who decides what nations are recognized by the US passport authorities (Jerusalem is left disputed, Israel supporters get to rail against the S.Ct.)

4. Elonis vs. U.S. Kennedy champions free speech and Facebook threats - crimes require intent. This also doesn't make too much difference - courts have always had to decide if threats are credible (would a reasonable person be alarmed).

5. Texas vs. Inclusive Communities Project. Fair Housing Act is constricted again, as I think a majority does not like disparate impact as a basis for discrimination claims. Never forget the three levels of deceit: lies, damnable lies, and statistics.

6. Arizona State Legislature vs. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. I think the S.Ct declines to rule that the "people" can operate as a sort of "legislature of the whole," to create redistricting committees. Republcians in Arizona and Democrats in California both lose.

7. Michigan vs. EPA. No call on the EPA case. The regulation at issue is aimed at real pollutants like mercury. I think it is clear that EPA has authority to act, but I don't know if they violated their own procedures for developing the reg.

8. EEOC vs. Abercrombie & Fitch. No call on the head scarf case. I would lean toward the right of businesses to present the look they want as long as it is for business purposes. Could a Vampire retail outlet bar employees from wearing crosses? I think so.

9. Horne vs. U.S.D.A. I think this S.Ct. is gradulally cutting back the authority of the Commerce Clause, and so will undo the price support system for raisins.

10. Walker vs. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans. States should win the right to restrict what they put (say) on their specialty license plates. It simply is not too great a burden on public speech to require someone who wants to sport a confederate flag to buy a bumper stick vs. having it on their license plate created by the State. Equal Protection does not mean every special interest group has a right to make the State speak on its behalf.

11. City of Los Angeles vs. Patel. No call on whether cities can require motels to keep guest registries to facilitate police activities.

12. Glossip vs. Gross. No call on whether States can decide how to execute death sentences. But if the States lose, look for several to reinstitute the firing squad, which was never declared cruel or unusual, and is still allowed by the Fed. military in cases of dissertion, I believe.

13. Ohio vs. Clark. No call on whether teachers can testify in place of 3-year-olds who are too young to take the stand. It seems to me that babies are evidence, not accusers, and therefore the teacher would be testifying as to her personal observation of the evidence, not conveying hearsay evidence.

9:03 AM, May 28, 2015  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Thanks for going on record. We can now refer to your predictions every time a case is handed down.

One note on #13. In the past, Justice Scalia has voted for requiring kids to testify in front of their accusers. But even if he votes that way again, it's still uncertain how the "liberals" and "conservatives" on the Court will break.

10:36 AM, May 28, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many divisions has the Court? (Apologies for conflating Jackson and Stalin)

11:08 AM, May 28, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

. . . Jackson and Stalin? I've never seen them in the same room, now that you mention it.

. . . Is there a case involving PUSH?

. . . states deciding methods of lethal injection . . . didn't Utah already solve this problem?

12:49 PM, May 28, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worcester v. Georgia. A Supreme Court states right case. "In a popular quotation that is believed to be apocryphal, President Andrew Jackson reportedly responded: "John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!""

"The Pope! How many divisions has he got?" Said sarcastically [by Stalin] to Pierre Laval in 1935, in response to being asked whether he could do anything with Russian Catholics to help Laval win favour with the Pope, to counter the increasing threat of Nazism;

I don't know why these are relevant but I always like tracking down a good quote

2:16 PM, May 28, 2015  

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