Category: Supreme Court


Supreme Court Backs Former Air Marshal In Whistleblower Case

 

 

 

 

” The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a former air marshal can seek whistleblower protections for disclosing sensitive information to the news media about the absence of security officers on certain flights.

  On a 7-2 vote, the court rejected arguments made by President Barack Obama’s administration, which was seeking to reverse an appeals court ruling favoring whistleblower Robert MacLean, who was fired for the 2003 leak.

” I believe the ruling will give other federal employees more confidence to expose wrongdoing,” MacLean, who was fired in 2006 and now works in residential construction management in California, said in an interview.

  The legal question was whether MacLean’s actions may be protected by the U.S. Whistleblower Protection Act, a law that protects employees if a disclosure exposes unlawful conduct, gross mismanagement or threats to public safety.

  In an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court concluded that U.S. Transportation Security Administration regulations that prohibited MacLean’s disclosures did not have sufficient legal force to bar him from receiving protections under the Whistleblower Protection Act.”

 

Reuters has the whole story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas Battle Over Confederate Flag License Plate Headed To Supreme Court

 

 

 

 

 

” A long-standing legal battle between the state and a veterans group vying for a Confederate flag license plate will get its day in the nation’s highest court.

  The U.S. Supreme Court announced Friday that it will hear oral arguments in a case involving Texas’ ability to choose the messages it allows on government-issued license plates.

  John McConnell, an attorney for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said he fully expects the Supreme Court to uphold an appeals court ruling in favor of his group in what he calls a “simple case.”

“ When the state gets in the business of selling space … for an organization or nonprofit or what have you, they cannot discriminate,” he said. “They’re a government entity, not a private entity. They are constrained by the First Amendment.” “

 

Dallas News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Supreme Court Challenge For ‘Obamacare’

 

 

 

 

 

 

” The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a new challenge to President Barack Obama’s health care law — a case that threatens subsidies that help millions of low- and middle-income people afford their health insurance premiums.

  The justices said they will review a federal appeals court ruling that upheld IRS regulations that allow health-insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act for consumers in all 50 states. Opponents argue that most of the subsidies are illegal.

  The long-running political and legal campaign to overturn or limit the 2010 health overhaul will be making its second appearance at the Supreme Court. The justices upheld the heart of the law in a 5-4 decision in 2012 in which Chief Justice John Roberts provided the decisive vote.

  The case probably will be argued the first week in March, with a decision expected by late June.

  White House press secretary Josh Earnest promised a vigorous defense before the high court.

” This lawsuit reflects just another partisan attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act and to strip millions of American families of tax credits that Congress intended for them to have,” Earnest said. “

 

AP News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supreme Court Allows Texas To Use Strict Voter ID Law In Coming Election

 

 

 

” The Supreme Court on Saturday allowed Texas to use its strict voter identification law in the November election. The court’s order, issued just after 5 a.m., was unsigned and contained no reasoning.

  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a six-page dissent saying the court’s action “risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters.” Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined the dissent.

  The court’s order was an interim move addressing emergency applications filed Wednesday, and a trial judge’s ruling striking down the law will still be appealed. But the Supreme Court’s action set the ground rules in Texas for the current election. Early voting there starts Monday, which helps explain the court’s rush to issue the order as soon as Justice Ginsburg had finished her dissent.

  The law, enacted in 2011, requires voters seeking to cast their ballots at the polls to present photo identification like a Texas driver’s or gun license, a military ID or a passport. “

NY Times

6 Key Supreme Court Cases This Term

 

 

 

 

” If you use Facebook, pay taxes, enjoy fishing or drive a car, the 2014-2015 term of the Supreme Court, which begins Oct. 6, will be worth watching.

  Many of the cases from the last term touched on issues such as executive power, religious liberty, free speech and racial preferences.

Here are highlights of the upcoming term:

  To hear about all these cases and how the term may unfold, join us at Heritage for our annual Supreme Court Preview on Thursday at noon (or watch online). Legal luminaries Paul Clement and Michael Carvin will discuss the big cases of the upcoming term.”

 

Daily Signal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Day Of Victory At The Supreme Court

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

” This morning, the Supreme Court announced two unanimous decisions, both of them defeats for the Obama Administration and victories for the Constitution.

  In the first, Canning v. NLRB, the Supreme Court struck down President Obama’s “recess appointments” to the powerful National Labor Relations Board. The question was simple: Was the Senate in recess or in session when it was in a so-called “pro forma” session. The Supreme Court’s conclusion was sensible:

  In our view, however, the pro forma sessions count as sessions, not as periods of recess. We hold that, for purposes of the Recess Appointments Clause, the Senate is in session when it says it is, provided that, under its own rules, it retains the capacity to transact Senate business. The Senate met that standard here.

  We represented the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, in the case, filing a brief on his behalf. The case represented a key victory for the Speaker and the House itself, since the House has a high degree of control over even the Senate’s schedule. 

  The bottom line is simple: The President will not be able to circumvent the Senate’s “advise and consent” through recess appointments without the consent of both houses of Congress.

  Today is a good day for the separation of powers.

  It is also a good day for free speech and the pro-life movement.

  In the day’s second decision, McCullen v. Coakley, the Court struck down Massachusetts’ buffer zone law, a law that prohibited any person within a 35-foot radius of an abortion clinic entrance or driveway from approaching another person “for the purpose of passing a leaflet or handbill to, displaying a sign to, or engaging in oral protest, education, or counseling with such other person.”

  Justice Roberts wrote the opinion for the Court, and once again the Court’s reasoning was sensible and constitutionally sound:

  Petitioners wish to converse with their fellow citizens about an important subject on the public streets and sidewalks—sites that have hosted discussions about the issues of the day throughout history. Respondents assert undeniably significant interests in maintaining public safety on those same streets and sidewalks, as well as in preserving access to adjacent healthcare facilities. But here the Commonwealth has pursued those interests by the extreme step of closing a substantial portion of a traditional public forum to all speakers. It has done so without seriously addressing the problem through alternatives that leave the forum open for its time-honored purposes. The Commonwealth may not do that consistent with the First Amendment.

  The ACLJ filed an amicus brief in support of Eleanor McCullen’s free speech rights while the Obama Administration supported censorship.

  This case is a watershed in the movement to undo the infamous “abortion distortion,” the judicial distortion in free-speech jurisprudence that effectively denies full free speech rights to the pro-life movement. At the ACLJ we have a decades-long history of battling for pro-life free speech at the Supreme Court, and today’s victory sends an important message.

  The Obama Administration and pro-abortion state governments are on notice: pro-life speech is free speech, fully protected by the First Amendment. The pro-life movement is now more free to take its life-saving message to the people who need to hear it the most.”

 

 

 

   Add these victories to the recent decision voiding the practice of warrantless cell phone searches and you have a great week for liberty from the Supreme Court .

Support Jay Sekulow and the ACLJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supreme Court Bans Warrantless Cell Phone Searches, Updates Privacy Laws

 

 

 

 

” The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police must obtain warrants before snooping through people’s cellphones, delivering a unanimous decision that begins to update legal understanding of privacy rules to accommodate 21st-century technology.

  Police agencies argued that searching through data on cellphones was no different from asking someone to turn out his pockets, but the justices rejected that, saying a cellphone holds the most personal and intimate details of someone’s life and falls squarely within the Fourth Amendment’s privacy protections.

“ The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in the unanimous opinion. “Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple — get a warrant.”

  The justices even said police cannot check a cellphone’s call log because it could contain more information than phone numbers, and perusing the call log is a violation of privacy that can be justified only with a court-issued warrant.

  Privacy advocates, meanwhile, said the ruling should ignite a broader rethinking of protections at a time when Americans are putting more personal information online.”

 

 

 

Washington Times continues the story of a small step on the road to victory in the war for privacy rights .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DC Gun Carry Ban On The Line In Supreme Court Drake Case

 

Supreme_Court_US_2010-e1397742639676

 

” Washington, D.C. has never allowed residents to carry guns outside the home in modern history, but that may be about to change. The Supreme Court is primed to take on the controversial issue of what, if any, limits are allowed to the Second Amendment right to bear arms in the Drake v. Jerejian case.

  On Monday, the court could announce whether it will hear the petition of John Drake, an ATM owner who carries large amounts of cash but was denied a carry permit by New Jersey because it does not consider self-defense a “justifiable need.”

  The case challenges whether the seven “may issue” states can force citizens to show a special need to carry a firearm for self-defense. The District of Columbia denies all carry rights. If the court overturns Drake, it would force the nation’s capital to come up with some procedure for residents to legally take their guns outside the home.”

 

 

Continued

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supreme Court To Weigh Cellphone Searches

 

 

Cellphone Stats

 

 

 

” The Supreme Court will consider Tuesday whether police need a warrant to search a suspect’s cellphone, in two appeals that could define the parameters of law enforcement tapping into the trove of data stored on smartphones.

  The issue, arising in separate cases from Boston and San Diego, is the latest collision at the court between the capabilities of technology and the centuries-old Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures.

  The outcome of Tuesday’s cases could affect the way police handle tens of thousands of arrests each year. Lower courts have reached conflicting conclusions, including in the two cases before the court.

  Law-enforcement advocates argue phones are similar to other personal effects found on someone at the time of arrest: Police can go through photos, address books and similar materials found on a person without obtaining a warrant, under Supreme Court precedents intended to protect officers’ safety and prevent destruction of evidence.

  Privacy advocates contend police shouldn’t have unfettered access to information that previously couldn’t be seen without entering someone’s home.”

 

More at The WSJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supreme Court Keeps Guns Away From Those Guilty Of Domestic Violence

 

 

The Supreme Court on Wednesday strengthened a federal law that bars anyone convicted of domestic violence from possessing a gun.

  In a 9-0 decision, the high court said the ban extended to anyone who had pleaded guilty to at least a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence, even in cases in which there was no proof of violent acts or physical injury.

  The ruling overturns decisions in several regions, including the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California, which had said the ban applied only to convictions that involved a “violent use of force.”

  At issue was a 1996 law in which Congress expanded an existing ban that applied to anyone convicted of a felony in a domestic violence case to include misdemeanor convictions.”

 

 

     Thanks to a 9-0 decision from the Nine Old Swine now our gun rights are basically at the mercy of your domestic partner’s whim . Choose your mate well my friends for even a bogus complaint of feeling threatened by you from your significant other can rob you of your right to self-defense … FOR LIFE .

 

Read more at the LA Times and read a less biased account here .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the case, U.S. vs. Castleman, the Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Obama liberal appointee Justice Sonia Sotomayor has decided that a misdemeanor conviction in a state court for “domestic violence” can be used under federal law to deny a person the Second Amendment right to own a firearm, even if the offense occurred years ago and the nature of the abuse involved in the “domestic violence” misdemeanor was minor in nature.

In other words, the Supreme Court opened the door so federal gun control law enforcement is free to investigate a person’s domestic relations past to deny gun rights if the person did something within the “family” a spouse, lover, or child considered objectionable, even if the incident occurred 20 years ago and did not involve allegations of physical force or violence.

– See more at: http://www.teaparty.org/supreme-court-invades-families-grab-guns-37990/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=social#sthash.2bJ4WnuQ.dpuf

In the case, U.S. vs. Castleman, the Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Obama liberal appointee Justice Sonia Sotomayor has decided that a misdemeanor conviction in a state court for “domestic violence” can be used under federal law to deny a person the Second Amendment right to own a firearm, even if the offense occurred years ago and the nature of the abuse involved in the “domestic violence” misdemeanor was minor in nature.

In other words, the Supreme Court opened the door so federal gun control law enforcement is free to investigate a person’s domestic relations past to deny gun rights if the person did something within the “family” a spouse, lover, or child considered objectionable, even if the incident occurred 20 years ago and did not involve allegations of physical force or violence.

– See more at: http://www.teaparty.org/supreme-court-invades-families-grab-guns-37990/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=social#sthash.2bJ4WnuQ.dpuf

In the case, U.S. vs. Castleman, the Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Obama liberal appointee Justice Sonia Sotomayor has decided that a misdemeanor conviction in a state court for “domestic violence” can be used under federal law to deny a person the Second Amendment right to own a firearm, even if the offense occurred years ago and the nature of the abuse involved in the “domestic violence” misdemeanor was minor in nature.

In other words, the Supreme Court opened the door so federal gun control law enforcement is free to investigate a person’s domestic relations past to deny gun rights if the person did something within the “family” a spouse, lover, or child considered objectionable, even if the incident occurred 20 years ago and did not involve allegations of physical force or violence.

– See more at: http://www.teaparty.org/supreme-court-invades-families-grab-guns-37990/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=social#sthash.2bJ4WnuQ.dpuf

Two States Win Court Approval On Voter Rules

 

 

 

” A federal judge in Kansas on Wednesday ordered federal election authorities to help Kansas and Arizona require their voters to show proof of citizenship in state and local elections, in effect sanctioning a two-tier voter registration system that could well set a trend for other Republican-dominated states.

  Judge Eric F. Melgren of United States District Court in Wichita ruled that the federal Election Assistance Commission had no legal authority to deny requests from Kansas and Arizona to add state-specific instructions to a national voter registration form. The states sued the agency to force the action after it had turned them down.

19 States Join Lawsuit Against NJ Gun Law

 

 

” Support is mounting for a lawsuit that challenges New Jersey’s tight restrictions on handgun ownership and its high standard of “justifiable need” for carrying a weapon outside the home.

  Nineteen states as well as the powerful National Rifle Association have joined the case’s plaintiff John Drake, who in his lawsuit claims he was denied a permit following a thwarted robbery attempt on his Sussex County business.

  Drake lost his appeal before a three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year and now a growing number of states, led by Wyoming, are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, claiming New Jersey was wrong when it determined that the business owner failed to prove “justifiable need” to carry a gun under state statute.

Drake’s suit also claims that his right to bear arms under the Second Amendment has been violated.”

 

Read more at Newsmax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supreme Court Takes A Pass On Challenging Legality Of Government Surveillance Programs

 

 

 

 

” The Supreme Court has just given the government (and the NSA’s defenders) a little more breathing room on the issue of the legality of the agency’s surveillance programs.

  In a case very similar to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against warrantless surveillance made “legal” by the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) of 2008, which the Supreme Court declined to grant “standing” in February 2013, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) announced the Court had rejected their lawsuit against Bush-era warrantless surveillance. 

“ The Supreme Court’s refusal to review this case guarantees that the federal courts will never address a fundamental question: Was the warrantless surveillance program the NSA carried out on President Bush’s orders legal? The Court’s decision also guarantees that the Obama administration, which has for the last five years refused to take any position on that question, will now never have to answer either,” CCR declared.

  This refusal will give those who claim the programs are “legal” another notch on the rhetoric belt, as if not discussing the legality (or illegality) of the program was the equivalent to being found legal by the highest court in the land. If the courts are unwilling to entertain surveillance-related cases, either by refusal to grant standing or refusal to hear the case at all, the defenders can continue to claim the programs are legal. “

 

 

    Read the whole thing at TechDirt . It’s been a very sorry week for individual rights and the Constitution thanks to the “nine old swine” . Madison and Jay would be appalled . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supreme Court Expands Police Power To Seize Your Assets Before Conviction

 

 

 

” It’s been a banner week for law enforcement at the U.S. Supreme Court. On Tuesday, in the case of Fernandez v. California, the Court broadened the power of the police to conduct warrantless home searches. But it was a decision handed down on Monday that’s likely to have the greatest impact on our criminal justice system.

  At issue in Monday’s ruling in Kaley v. United States is an area of the law known as asset forfeiture. In essence, asset forfeiture is designed to help law enforcement officials seize the ill-gotten fruits of criminal activity, such as cash, cars, or homes. To that end, prosecutors are permitted to freeze the assets of criminal suspects during trial if there is probable cause to believe those assets constitute “proceeds” of the alleged criminal activity. Notice that this freezing occurs before the suspect has been duly convicted.”

 

   Statism continues it’s long march with the aid of the very self-same courts that are supposed to protect our rights . Does anyone doubt that the deck has come to be stacked against the private citizen when the highest court in the land continually comes down on the side of Leviathan ? There comes only one more method of recourse .

   The legislative branch has forsaken the people , the executive branch has forsaken the people and now the judicial branch has forsaken the people . Scalia , Thomas and Alito sided with the State on asset forfeiture and  Alito , Roberts , Thomas , Scalia all voted to broaden the warrantless search rules for the State … For Shame . What happened to their “strict construtionalism” ?   What to do , what to do ? 

   Perhaps the most surprising thing of all is that Sondra Sotomayer was the only justice to comer down on the side of liberty in both cases . Read more at Reason.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Justice Clarence Thomas: ‘Northern Liberal Elites’ Worse Than Segregated South

 

 

 

” Supreme CourtJustice Clarence Thomas, who was born and raised in Georgia at a time of high racial tension, said race relations are worse now than decades ago — and that he actually experienced more grief from elitists in the supposed anti-slavery North than in the South.

  Justice Thomas made the remarks to a group of students at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla., the Daily Mail reported.

“ The worst things that have been done to me, the worst things that have been said about me, [were] by northern liberal elites, not by the people of Savannah, Georgia,” he said, the Daily Mail reported.

“My sadness is that we are probably today more race and difference-conscious that I was in the 1960s when I went to school,” he said, the Daily Mail reported. “To my knowledge, I was the first black kid in Savannah, Georgia, to go to a white school. Rarely did the issue of race come up.” ”

Continued …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supreme Court Asked To Clarify What It Means To ‘Bear’ Arms

 

 

 

” You might think the question would be settled by now, but the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to opine on whether the Second Amendment right to “bear” arms for self-defense extends outside the home.

  We may soon get an answer. Lyle Denniston, writing for the Constitution Daily, reports about two gun rights cases that may get a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court. Both cases, dealing with restrictions on the ability of minors to possess weapons in public, hinge on the difference between the right to “keep” a gun and a right “bear” one. The National Rifle Association thinks the issue is ripe for Supreme Court review. The justices are expected to discuss the cases next week and may then decide whether to grant review.”

 

Read more at WSJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hobby Lobby Speaks Out

 

 

 

 

” The president of Hobby Lobby discussed his company’s ongoing lawsuit against the Obama administration regarding the contraceptive mandate, which goes before the Supreme Court March 25 for oral arguments.

  Steve Green’s arts-and-crafts chain is suing the administration over the requirement that the company provide its employees with abortifacient drugs or face fines of $1.3 million per day. Hobby Lobby objects because its owners, the Green family, believe that their faith prohibits abortion.

  Green sat down with reporters on Wednesday morning for his first on-the-record interview to discuss the lawsuit. The following is a transcript of the interview, edited for clarity and length.”

 

More at The Free Beacon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nine Years After Kelo, The Seized Land Is Empty

 

 

 

” Nine years after the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision gutted the right of American property owners to resist eminent-domain seizures, the neighborhood at the center of the case remains a wasteland.”

 

 

 

 

    Meet American hero Suzette Kelo , a woman who , though she ultimately lost her case and her home , fought the good fight for all Americans and our property rights . This is her story .

 

 

   The Supreme Court ruling 5-4 in favor of the New London Development Corp was intended to provide land , waterfront mind you , for Pfizer pharmaceuticals to build new offices with the hopes of bringing many new jobs to the City of New London . It didn’t work out that way as Pfizer backed out and a few years later actually left New London altogether .

 

” Fort Trumbull in New London, Conn., was bulldozed to fulfill the vision of politicians and developers eager to create a New Urbanist mixed-use “hub” for upscale living in the depressed town near the mouth of Long Island Sound.”

   

 

 

” But after nearly a decade, the land is nothing but vacant urban prairie. After homeowners were forced off their property for the sake of “economic development,” the city’s original development deal fell apart, and the urban-renewal corporation that ordered the destruction has not found a developer to use the land.”

 

 

 

 

   The turning of the corner in the battle for individual property rights , this ruling allowed the State to force private landholders to sell for the benefit of other , better connected , private citizens . A truly disgraceful ruling that the Supreme Court should be ashamed of .

 

 

” Traditionally, these transfers of property, or eminent domain, had only allowed governments to acquire private lands in order to build a public structure like a school or highway. The Constitution permits seizures for such instances of “public use,” but the Supreme Court decision expanded that power to allow governments to acquire people’s land with “just compensation” for a “public purpose,” which in Kelo meant the government’s belief that a different owner might bring in more tax revenue.”

 

 

The opinion of the Court was decided thusly :

 

 

Majority and concurring

” On June 23, 2005, the Supreme Court, in a 5–4 decision, ruled in favor of the City of New London. Justice Stevens wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Anthony KennedyDavid SouterRuth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Justice Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion setting out a more detailed standard for judicial review of economic development takings than that found in Stevens’s majority opinion. In so doing, Justice Kennedy contributed to the Court’s trend of turning minimum scrutiny—the idea that government policy need only bear a rational relation to a legitimate government purpose—into a fact-based test.

  In Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff, 467 US 229 (1984), the Court had said that the government purpose under minimum scrutiny need only be “conceivable which, practically speaking, is no standard at all because, as demonstrated by countless science fiction writers, anything is conceivable.” In two 1996 cases the Court clarified that concept. InRomer v. Evans, 517 US 620, the Court said that the government purpose must be “independent and legitimate.” And in United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515, the Court said the government purpose “must be genuine, not hypothesized or invented post hoc in response to litigation.” Thus, the Court made it clear that, in the scrutiny regime established in West Coast Hotel v. Parrish, 300 US 379 (1937), government purpose is a question of fact for the trier of fact.

  Kennedy fleshed out this doctrine in his Kelo concurring opinion; he sets out a program of civil discovery in the context of a challenge to an assertion of government purpose. However, he does not explicitly limit these criteria to eminent domain, nor to minimum scrutiny, suggesting that they may be generalized to all health and welfare regulation in the scrutiny regime. Because Kennedy signed on to the Court’s majority opinion, his concurrence is not binding on lower courts. He wrote:

  A court confronted with a plausible accusation of impermissible favoritism to private parties should [conduct]… a careful and extensive inquiry into ‘whether, in fact, the development plan [chronology]

[1.] is of primary benefit to… the developer… and private businesses which may eventually locate in the plan area…

[2.] and in that regard, only of incidental benefit to the city…'”

Kennedy is also interested in facts of the chronology which show, with respect to government,

[3.] awareness of… depressed economic condition and evidence corroborating the validity of this concern…

[4.] the substantial commitment of public funds… before most of the private beneficiaries were know…

[5.] evidence that [government] reviewed a variety of development plan…

[6.] [government] chose a private developer from a group of applicants rather than picking out a particular transferee beforehand and…

[7.] other private beneficiaries of the project [were]… unknown [to government] because the… space proposed to be built [had] not yet been rented…

  Kelo v. City of New London did not establish entirely new law concerning eminent domain. Although the decision was controversial, it was not the first time “public use” had been interpreted by the Supreme Court as “public purpose”. In the majority opinion, Justice Stevens wrote the “Court long ago rejected any literal requirement that condemned property be put into use for the general public” (545 U.S. 469). Thus precedent played an important role in the 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court. The Fifth Amendment was interpreted the same way as in Midkiff (467 U.S. 229) and other earlier eminent domain cases. However in those earlier cases the court justified the use of eminent domain on the basis of elimination of social harms such as barriers to efficient exploitation of agricultural and mineral-bearing land, elimination of slums, or large-scale title misallocation. None of these factors were present in Kelo; it was a case in which the city merely wanted to increase its tax revenues, and attract a wealthier population in place of the lower middle class home owners in the redevelopment project area.”

 

 

The dissenting Justices had this to say :

 

” The principal dissent was issued on 25 June 2005 by Justice O’Connor, joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas. The dissenting opinion suggested that the use of this taking power in a reverse Robin Hood fashion— take from the poor, give to the rich— would become the norm, not the exception:

Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms.

  O’Connor argued that the decision eliminates “any distinction between private and public use of property — and thereby effectively delete[s] the words ‘for public use’ from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.” 125 S.Ct. 2655, 2671.

  Thomas also issued a separate originalist dissent, in which he argued that the precedents the court’s decision relied upon were flawed. He accuses the majority of replacing the Fifth Amendment’s “Public Use” clause with a very different “public purpose” test:

This deferential shift in phraseology enables the Court to hold, against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a ‘public use.’

  Thomas additionally observed:

Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. Though citizens are safe from the government in their homes, the homes themselves are not.545 U.S. 469, 518 (2005)

  Thomas also made use of the argument presented in the NAACP/AARP/SCLC/SJLS amicus brief on behalf of three low-income residents’ groups fighting redevelopment in New Jersey, noting:

Allowing the government to take property solely for public purposes is bad enough, but extending the concept of public purpose to encompass any economically beneficial goal guarantees that these losses will fall disproportionately on poor communities. Those communities are not only systematically less likely to put their lands to the highest and best social use, but are also the least politically powerful.”

 

 

    This video from 2007 offers a discussion of the on-going affects of the Kelo decision from Duke university and a panel of property law experts …

 

 

 

 

 

 

    For further reading on the travesty of justice that is the Kelo decision and the continuing abuse of eminent domain by the State and the courts check out the Institute for Justice , which represented Ms Kelo and Ms Dery , the Cato Institute , Civil Liberty , Cornell University Law , Harvard Law , &  The Bill Of Rights Institute . 

    Here is the transcript of oral arguments presented by Scott G Bullock Esq. on behalf of the plaintiffs and here is a history of recent  eminent domain abuse for commercial gain from the Law Review at UC Davis .

 

   The Founders recognized private property rights as equally important to the liberty of citizens as freedom of speech and the right to bear arms  , for without the legal assurance of the natural right to keep and benefit from the fruits of one’s own labors the citizenry become nothing more than serfs .

   With that in mind we will close this post with some words of wisdom from the Founders that demonstrate just how far from their ideals this nation has fallen …

 

 

John Adams had this to say :

” The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”

 

James Madison on the legitimate role of government :

” Government is instituted to protect property of every sort. … This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.”

We’ll let Thomas Jefferson have the last word on the subject of private property and takings :

“Nothing is ours, which another may deprive us of.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supreme Court Ruling On Abramski Could Limit Obama’s Radical, Gun-Control Aims

 

” The Supreme Court rarely takes up Second Amendment cases, so when it does, gun owners know their rights are in the cross hairs.

  The Abramski ruling will be key to determining how far President Obama can push his gun-control agenda. Mr. Obama wants to expand background checks to include private transactions so that the government would know exactly who has a gun. That is not what the Founding Fathers intended.

  On Wednesday, the high court heard oral arguments in Bruce J. Abramski v. United States. The justices will decide whether to overturn an appeals court decision that said Mr. Abramski broke federal straw purchasing laws when he bought a gun with the intent to resell it to his elderly uncle, even though neither man is prohibited from ownership.

  The court will have to reconcile conflicting rulings in lower appeals courts on whether a gun purchaser’s intent to ever transfer a gun in the future to a legal person is relevant in the background check at the time of purchase.

  Mr. Abramski, a former police officer, bought the firearm in his home state of Virginia in 2009 because he could get a good price as former law enforcement.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet The Liberals Backing Obama’s Executive Power Play In Labor Board Case

 

 

 

” On Monday January 13, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a major case testing the scope of presidential power.

  What is surprising, however, is that Obama has also received strong support from a leading liberal organization, the Constitutional Accountability Center, a Washington think tank and law firm “dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of our Constitution’s text and history.”

  According to a friend of the court brief submitted by the Constitutional Accountability Center on behalf of the federal government in Noel Canning, “crabbed and erroneous interpretations of the Recess Appointments Clause would undermine the scope of a presidential power that is fundamental to the proper operation of the federal government: the President’s ability to make temporary appointments to Executive and Judicial Branch offices when the Senate is unavailable to provide its advice and consent.”

  That view is surprising because it stands in such marked contrast to previous progressive interpretations of the Recess Appointments Clause, most notably that of Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. In 2003, Kennedy filed his own friend of the court brief when the federal courts heard a similar case dealing with President Bush’s purported recess appointment of William H. Pryor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, an appointment which Bush made while the Senate was on an intra-session break, not while it was in recess.”

 

Story continues 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York’s Fact-Free Gun Ruling 

 

 

 

” New York’s new gun-control law, the so-called SAFE Act, largely survived its first federal-court challenge on this past Tuesday. The more than 1,140 New Yorkers it’s made felons will remain so. But even the testimony of the state’s own expert witness failed to show that the law will cut crime.

  The decision relied heavily on testimony by George Mason University criminology professor Chris Koper, who argued “that the criminal use of assault weapons declined after the federal assault-weapons ban was enacted in 1994, independently of trends in gun crime.” Judge Skretny wrote in his opinion: “Because New York’s regulations are tighter than those in the federal ban, [Koper] believes, quite reasonably, that the affect [sic] will be greater.”

 

 

Continued …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet The Humble Nuns Who Just Shook Up The Obama Administration

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Who takes care of poor people when they get old—when they are on their deathbeds? For thousands of people, the answer is Little Sisters of the Poor.

“ The elderly are at risk, with no one to speak up for them, no one to stand up and to express to the world and show the world that these people are still valuable,” explains Sister Mary Bernard.

  The Little Sisters take care of more than 13,000 poor men and women around the world who are elderly. They dedicate their lives to running homes for these most vulnerable.”

 

Read on at the Foundry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Federal Judge Upholds Majority Of SAFE Act

 

 

 

” Gun control advocates won a major victory Tuesday, but the fight over New York’s SAFE Act is far from over.

  An appeal of Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny’s decision upholding most of the new law is all but guaranteed.

  And that appeal may come from supporters of the law, as well.

“ I think there’s going to be appeals on both sides,” said Brian T. Stapleton, a lawyer for the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, one of the groups fighting the law.

  Stapleton’s prediction is based on Skretny’s decision to uphold two key elements of the law, the state’s ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and his rejection of a third component, the seven-round limit for magazines.

  The judge called the seven-round limit “tenuous, strained and unsupported.” “

 

 

See this related article on compliance and enforcement

 

 

” “People know that registration leads to confiscation,” said Jacob Rieper, a spokesman for the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, referring to the portion of the law that requires anyone possessing a military-style assault rifle on Jan. 15 register it by April 15. 

  Failure to do so is a misdemeanor. But Rieper and other gun-rights advocates predict many owners will run the risk, which may not be much of a gamble if their belief that local police, sheriffs and the state police will not go out of their way to aggressively enforce the law holds true.

“ The rank-and-file troopers don’t want anything to do with it,” state Assemblyman Bill Nojay, a Republican from suburban Rochester, said on Monday. “I don’t know of a single sheriff upstate who is going to enforce it.

“ If you don’t have the troopers and you don’t have the sheriffs, who have you got? You’ve got (Gov.) Andrew Cuomo pounding on the table in Albany,” Nojay said.”

 

Do Not Comply …

 

“If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.”

 

Thomas Jefferson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judge Napolitano On NSA Ruling: ‘NSA Couldn’t Even Prove Its Phone Surveillance Stopped An Attack’

 

 

Published on Dec 17, 2013

” A federal judge ruled that the NSA’s mass collection of Americans’ phone records is likely unconstitutional. Appeals Court Judge Richard Leon called the NSA surveillance “almost Orwellian,” saying that Founding Father James Madison would be “aghast” at the NSA’s “indiscriminate” invasion of Americans’ privacy.

  The surveillance will continue for now, since the ruling was immediately stayed pending further appeals.

  Judge Andrew Napolitano, a vocal critic of the NSA, weighed in this morning on Fox and Friends, telling Elisabeth Hasselbeck that judges on the FISA court have overstepped in granting permission to the NSA to collect these vast amounts of data.

  The NSA also could not or chose not to demonstrate that these collections helped keep the country safe, he explained.

” Not only is this unconstitutional because it violates the Fourth Amendment. Not only is this wrong because it permits the government to listen to all phone calls and keep copies of them forever, but there isn’t even any evidence that it works,” said Napolitano.

  He called it “startling” that the NSA wasn’t able to show Leon instances where phone surveillance stopped a suspected terror plot.

” It’s mystifying as to why they wouldn’t have told them about one,” said Napolitano, adding that up to this point the government’s main argument is that the NSA surveillance helps keep Americans safe.

  The NSA will not have to change its tactics unless a higher court upholds Leon’s ruling. Napolitano believes the case will eventually be decided by the Supreme Court.”