WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court reversed a Montana ruling on Monday that blocked corporations from spending unlimited amounts of money to influence state and municipal elections there, disappointing Massachusetts officials and watchdog groups who fear the decision would lead to local corruption across the country.
Didn't I call it a corporate court?
Related: Under the Massachusetts Dome
Can't really get more corrupt or corporate controlled over there, but the $tench coming from that place is about to get even ranker.
Massachusetts was one of 22 states that supported Montana’s challenge to the court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, which unleashed independent political spending by corporations. More than $158 million has been spent by super PACs and other independent groups on this year’s elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and analysts say $1 billion could be used — much of it from a few wealthy, and at times undisclosed, backers.
“As corrosive as the experience has been so far in the presidential election, the potential impact will be worse at the local level where corporate money is even more powerful,” said William Galvin, secretary of the Commonwealth, citing the potential for casinos, developers, and banks to influence elections. “This is just a troubling decision and we’re going to see that as time goes on.”
The Supreme Court’s majority disagreed. In a 5-to-4 ruling, made without briefing or oral argument, the justices reaffirmed that “political speech does not lose First Amendment protection simply because its source is a corporation.”
On the question of whether Citizens United applies to the Montana law, the majority opinion deemed that “there can be no serious doubt that it does.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority in the Citizens United case, had said that independent political spending by corporations does not contribute to corruption.
Justice Stephen Breyer and his liberal colleagues — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — dissented....
Related: Supreme Court refuses to undo damage from Citizens United
They just do more damage whatever they do:
"Justices back key part of Arizona immigration law" by Matt Viser and Maria Sacchetti | Globe Staff, June 26, 2012
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Monday struck down significant portions of the controversial Arizona immigration law, but allowed to stand a hot-button provision that requires police officers to review the immigration status of any detainees they suspect of being in the United States illegally.
The high court, reviewing four portions of the law, struck down three, saying that the state had overstepped its authority by making it a state crime for immigrants not to register with the federal government, or for illegal immigrants to seek work or hold a job. It also threw out a provision that would allow police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without a warrant.
Although the justices were divided 5 to 3 on the three provisions, on the most controversial ruling they were united: They unanimously upheld the centerpiece of the legislation, the “show me your papers” provision, which requires police officers to check the immigration status of anyone stopped or arrested who they suspect is an illegal immigrant.
Critics, including President Obama, say the provision will encourage racial profiling, because officers will check the status only of those who look as if they are illegal immigrants.
The justices suggested the provision could be subject to more challenges, depending on how it is implemented....
Keeping the issue in the forefront as the looting, lies, and wars continue.
Essentially, the Supreme Court ruled it was up to Congress – not individual states — to solve some of the persistent immigration problems the country faces....
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the five-member majority on the three provisions that were struck down. The others voting in the majority were Chief Justice John Roberts and justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor.
Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas cast dissenting votes, while Justice Elena Kagan, who was solicitor general when the Obama administration sued Arizona, recused herself.
Interesting mix on that one, huh?
Scalia was particularly pointed in his dissent, at one point taking Obama to task for a shift in policy earlier this month to halt deportations for certain young immigrants who came to the United States illegally with their parents.
“The president said at a news conference that the new program is ‘the right thing to do’ in light of Congress’s failure to pass the administration’s proposed revision of the immigration act,” Scalia wrote. “Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so. But to say, as the court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of federal immigration act that the president declines to enforce boggles the mind.”
The decision further injects the volatile topic of immigration into the presidential race, with both candidates trying to appeal to the Hispanic voters who are making up a larger slice of the electorate, particularly in swing states such as Florida, Colorado, and Nevada, as well as Arizona....
Yeah, that thing is going to be steered away from the empire and its economy at all costs.
And the big decision 'round h're (according to the Globe, anyway; page one, above-the-fold lead; Citizens United on page seven):
"High court rules out life without parole for youths; Finding may spur flurry of appeals" by Peter Schworm and John R. Ellement | Globe Staff, June 25, 2012
A divided US Supreme Court struck down mandatory life-without-parole sentences Monday for juveniles convicted of murder, ruling the widespread practice violated the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
The ruling will nullify Massachusetts law, legal specialists said, and throw into question the sentences of 61 prisoners who over the past four decades were ordered to spend the rest of their lives in jail. Nationally, about 2,500 prisoners are serving life sentences without parole for murders they committed before turning 18.
In a 5-4 vote, the high court ruled that juvenile offenders younger than 18 have “diminished culpability and greater prospects for reform” and that judges should be able to consider the “mitigating qualities of youth” in sentencing, even when juveniles commit heinous crimes.
The decision does not prohibit life-without-parole sentences for juveniles, but it prohibits states from making them automatic, as the court noted that 28 states have done.
The far-reaching decision, which extended previous court decisions that barred harsh sentences for juveniles under the Eighth Amendment, will strike down the Massachusetts law requiring that juveniles convicted of first-degree murder be imprisoned for life without hope for parole, legal experts said....
In the high court’s ruling, Kagan was joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor. Chief Justice John Roberts filed a dissenting opinion that was joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.
“Perhaps science and policy suggest society should show greater mercy to young killers, giving them a greater chance to reform themselves at the risk that they will kill again,” Roberts wrote in dissent. “But that is not our decision to make.”
I agree. It sounds horrible, but in being true to my philosophy it's a state's rights issue.
The court did not specify whether the ruling was retroactive or how states should comply, and the legal ramifications remain unclear....
Isn't it their job to clear up things?
Related: With ruling, up to 60 Mass. cases now face scrutiny
While they are looking them over:
"Supreme Court health care ruling expected Thursday" Associated Press, June 26, 2012
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will issue its last opinions of the session on Thursday, with its decision on President Obama’s health care overhaul expected to come down that day.
The court will begin its summer recess after announcing its decisions, with health care topping the list of undecided cases. The court also has to decide cases on lying about military medals and real estate kickbacks.
After Thursday, the justices will not meet publicly again in the court until the first Monday in October.
In other action Monday:
■ The high court said it will hear an appeal of a federal court ruling that declared mud washing off logging roads is pollution. The federal appeals court in San Francisco ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to write regulations to reduce the amount of runoff from logging roads that reaches salmon streams.
Oregon and the timber industry filed separate appeals challenging the court ruling. The Obama administration agreed with the challengers that the appeals court erred in its ruling. But it urged the high court to stay out of the case because Congress and the EPA already are taking steps to address the appeals court ruling.
■ The justices said they will not intervene in a dispute among three states over how Atlanta’s water use affects areas downstream. The decision is bound to frustrate authorities in Florida, Alabama, and even southern Georgia who say withdrawals from a federal reservoir in north Georgia harm wildlife, fisheries, and drinking water supplies downstream on the Chattahoochee River.
The legal battle had threatened to severely restrict Atlanta’s water supply. In 2009, a federal judge ruled against the city and found that it needed to lower its withdrawals from Lake Lanier. But last year a federal appeals court overturned that ruling and found Atlanta has a right to water from the reservoir.
■ The court said it will not get involved in a fight over whether a 29-foot war memorial cross can remain on public land overlooking the Pacific Ocean in San Diego. The justices refused Monday to review an appeals court ruling that deemed the Mount Soledad cross an unconstitutional mixing of government and religion.
This decision came despite the fact that the court recently plunged into the dispute over the use of religious symbols to honor fallen troops two times . The court has recently signaled a greater willingness to allow religious symbols on public land.
■ The court said it will not hear a complaint against Maryland’s congressional redistricting by voters unhappy with the new maps. The justices affirmed Maryland judges’ decision to throw the lawsuit out. Some voters had complained that the new maps passed by the state Legislature last year discriminated against African-Americans by failing to create a third majority-black congressional district in the state. The lower court judges also said the lawsuit did not meet the burden of proof that the map is a partisan gerrymander.