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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 7:16 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-3 that police may use evidence found in illegal stops

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court sided with the state of Utah on a Fourth Amendment search case, ruling that police can use evidence of a crime in court from an unconstitutional search if they find the suspect has one or more outstanding arrest warrants.

But it's the dissenting opinion in the case that has the Internet talking.

he Court voted 5-to-3 in Utah v. Strieff to reverse a decision of the Utah Supreme Court on an earlier case.

In December 2006, an anonymous source called the South Salt Lake police drug-tip line to report "narcotics activity" at a home. A detective who was watching the home, Douglas Fackrell, was observing visitors when he saw Edward Strieff Jr. exit the house. Fackrell detained Strieff, identified himself, and questioned Strieff before realizing Strieff had an outstanding arrest warrant for a traffic violation. While Fackrell searched Strieff for the arrest, he discovered methamphetamine and a drug pipe.

Strieff challenged his arrest and moved to suppress the evidence found, arguing that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion and that the drugs were derived from an unlawful investigatory stop. The district court denied the motion, allowing the evidence to be used in court, and the Utah Court of Appeals upheld their decision. In 2015, however, the Utah Supreme Court reversed and ordered the evidence suppressed.

“While Officer Fackrell’s decision to initiate the stop was mistaken, his conduct thereafter was lawful,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority. “The officer’s decision to run the warrant check was a 'negligibly burdensome precautio[n]' for officer safety.”

Thomas continues: “Evidence is admissible when the connection between unconstitutional police conduct and the evidence is remote or has been interrupted by some intervening circumstance.”

This decision prompted dissents from three of the court’s liberals: Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Many have also said that this ruling is controversial because it allows police to stop anyone who they think may have an outstanding arrest warrant.

“This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants—even if you are doing nothing wrong,” Sotomayor wrote in a dissent with Justice Ginsburg that has become the focus of attention online. “If the officer discovers a warrant for a fine you forgot to pay, courts will now excuse his illegal stop and will admit into evidence anything he happens to find by searching you after arresting you on the warrant.”

Sotomayor adds: “By legitimizing the conduct that produces this double consciousness, this case tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal status at any time. It says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights. It implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a cartel state, just waiting to be cataloged.”

Sotomayor notes that people of color are frequently subjects of racial profiling and that Strieff being white proves that anyone can be violated.

“It is no secret that people of color are disproportionate victims of this type of scrutiny. For generations, black and brown parents have given their children the ‘talk’— instructing them never to run down the street; always keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even think of talking back to a stranger—all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react to them,” she wrote, echoing James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and W. E. B. Du Bois.

Justice Kagan also expressed her worry that Strieff could lead to unconstitutional searches by police.

“... So long as the target is one of the many millions of people in this country with an outstanding arrest warrant, anything the officer finds in a search is fair game for use in a criminal prosecution,” Kagan wrote. “The officer’s incentive to violate the Constitution thus increases: From here on, he sees potential advantage in stopping individuals without reasonable suspicion—exactly the temptation the exclusionary rule is supposed to remove.”

Both Kagan and Sotomayor referred to the town of Ferguson, Missouri, where unarmed, black teen Michael Brown was shot and killed in 2014. In their population of 21,000 citizens, 16,000 people had outstanding warrants against them.

In his majority opinion, Thomas disagrees with claims that Strieff will lead to racial profiling by police.

“Strieff argues that, because of the prevalence of outstanding arrest warrants in many jurisdictions, police will engage in dragnet searches if the exclusionary rule is not applied. We think that this outcome is unlikely,” Thomas writes.

Strieff's attorney, Joan Watt, did not immediately return our request for comment.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Supreme Court Upholds Texas College’s Affirmative Action Plan

The Supreme Court today voted to uphold a component of the University of Texas’ admissions policy that takes race into account.

In a 5-3 vote, the justices upheld the judgment of the court of appeals, which ruled in favor of the state’s considering race in its admissions process.

This case is the second trip to the Supreme Court for Abigail Fisher, a white woman who was denied admission to the University of Texas and then filed a lawsuit challenging the university’s consideration of race in admissions.

In Fisher I, the Supreme Court ruled that the lower courts were too deferential to school administrators, requiring the courts to look more closely at evidence rather than accept school administrators’ assurances of their good intentions when considering race. A lower court took another look and stood by its earlier decision, and the case ended up back before the justices, who heard oral arguments Dec. 9, 2015.

Texas has a unique admissions program, which first takes approximately the top 10 percent of graduating seniors from each high school in the state. To fill the remaining spots, the system examines students’ applications in what it calls a holistic analysis, considering areas such as race, community service, leadership and family circumstances.

Fisher’s attorneys argued that the implementation of the top 10 percent program is sufficient to increase minority enrollment, so there is no need to take race into account when filling the remaining spots.

Fisher attorney Bert Rein argued in December before the Supreme Court that U.T. needed to prove that the use of race in its admissions process was a “necessary last resort” in pursuing diversity, taking into account reasonably available nonracial alternatives.

On behalf of U.T., former U.S. Solicitor General Gregory Garre argued before the Supreme Court in December that the Texas holistic plan is necessary to complement its other admissions process and that it has a “meaningful impact on diversity.”

He concluded by saying, “Now is not the time, and this is not the case to roll back student diversity in America.”

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli also argued in support of U.T.

At the time of oral arguments, Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February, spawned the hashtag #StayMadAbby and was criticized when he suggested that it might not be a “good thing” for U.T. to admit as “many blacks as possible” and that perhaps black students should attend a “slower track school.”
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Supreme Court partly strikes down state drunken driving test refusal laws

June 23, 2016

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that states cannot make it a crime for a drunken driving suspect to refuse to take a blood test but can criminalize the refusal to take breath tests to determine alcohol levels.

The ruling will affect laws in 11 states.

The court ruled in cases involving three defendants challenging their convictions for refusing to take such tests in two states, North Dakota and Minnesota. Lower courts had upheld the laws, which criminalize a motorist's refusal to take a test gauging alcohol levels in situations in which police do not have a warrant for such a test.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Divided Supreme Court rejects family pharmacy's religious claim

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday turned away an appeal by a family-owned pharmacy that cited Christian beliefs in objecting to providing emergency contraceptives to women under a Washington state rule, prompting a searing dissent by conservative Justice Samuel Alito.

The justices left in place a July 2015 ruling by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld a state regulation that requires pharmacies to deliver all prescribed drugs, including contraceptives, in a timely manner.

Three conservatives among the eight justices argued that the court should have agreed to hear the appeal by the Stormans family, which owns Ralph's Thriftway grocery story and pharmacy in Olympia.

Alito, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas, said the court's decision not to hear it is "an ominous sign" for the future of religious liberty claims.

"If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern," Alito added.

The court may be less likely to rule in favor of people making such claims following February's death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, especially if he is replaced by a liberal appointee.

The American Civil Liberties Union praised the court's action.

"When a woman walks into a pharmacy, she should not fear being turned away because of the religious beliefs of the owner or the person behind the counter," said Louise Melling, the group's deputy legal director.

Evolving American social attitudes and changes in the law relating to issues such as gay marriage and birth control coverage in health insurance have spurred numerous court challenges by individuals, businesses and nonprofit employers who say their religious liberty has been violated. The U.S. Constitution's First Amendment protects freedom of religion.

Washington state permits a religiously objecting individual pharmacist to deny medicine, as long as another pharmacist working at the location provides timely delivery. The rules require a pharmacy to deliver all medicine, even if the owner objects.

The Supreme Court in 2014 allowed certain businesses to object on religious grounds to the Obamacare law's requirement that companies provide employees with insurance that pays for women's contraceptives. The court in May sent a similar dispute brought by nonprofit Christian employers back to lower courts without resolving the main legal issue.

The Stormans family is made up of devout Christians who associate "morning after" emergency contraceptives with abortion. Two individual pharmacists who worked elsewhere also joined the lawsuit.

"The dilemma this creates for the Stormans family and others like them is plain: Violate your sincerely held religious beliefs or get out of the pharmacy business," Alito said.

Thirty-eight state and national pharmacy associations had urged the court to take up the case, saying pharmacies generally get to choose what products they stock.

Alito said there is evidence the state's regulation was adopted because of "hostility to pharmacists whose religious beliefs regarding abortion and contraception are out of step with prevailing opinion in the state" and designed "to stamp out religious objectors."

The appeals court said the rules rationally further the state's interest in patient safety. Speed is particularly important considering the time-sensitive nature of emergency contraception, that court said.

"Americans should be free to peacefully live and work consistent with their faith without fear of unjust punishment, and no one should be forced to participate in the taking of human life," said Kristen Waggoner, a lawyer with the Alliance Defending Freedom, the conservative Christian legal group representing the Stormans.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Supreme Court Says Pharmacists Must Dispense Abortifacients

If the Supreme Court were ever going to defend the Free Exercise Clause, this was the case to do it.

The Supreme Court refused to hear a case in which the State of Washington changed its pharmacy referral rules for the sole purpose of forcing a handful of pharmacists to carry the “morning after” pill in violation of their religious and moral (and scientific) belief that life begins at conception.

Pharmacist referral on the basis of conscience is legal in all 49 other states, and supported by the American Pharmacists Association and more than 30 other medical and pharmacy associations. In addition, the trial court record contained voluminous evidence that the state’s specific intent was to target “religiously-motivated conduct.” If the Supreme Court were ever going to defend the Free Exercise Clause, this was the case to do it. Consider the following facts.

It was undisputed that there were no less than 30 pharmacies within a five-mile radius of the pharmacy at issue that did offer these pills, and that there was not one instance of a customer in Washington being denied timely access to these drugs.

The same regulations contain numerous referral provisions for virtually any business or convenience reason, but specifically disallow them for a religious or moral purpose.

The court of appeals ruling directly contradicted Supreme Court precedent, which has consistently held that laws and regulations must be neutrally applied and cannot, in rule or practice, treat those with religious motivations any differently than those who operate on a secular basis.

Rights We Made Up Trump Rights the Law Promises You

With decisions like this, along with recent rulings on abortion and marriage, the Supreme Court has effectively created a hierarchy of rights, valuing judicially created liberties for some over the enumerated rights of others.

Abortion and same-sex marriage have become the court’s most sacred rights (with transgender rights quickly ascending) and are afforded the strongest protections, while express constitutional rights like the free exercise of religion are less important than a “State’s interest in patient safety” despite zero evidence of anyone actually being harmed by a pharmacy referral. The message the court has sent is clear: religious liberty is just not that important anymore.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ginsburg under fire - from both sides
July 14, 2016  -  Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
(a walkin walkin corpse) faced a growing and bipartisan backlash for her criticism of Donald J. Trump, calling him a “faker” who is unqualified to be president.  Even political figures and newspaper editorial writers swiftly said they were out of line for a high court justice.  Ginsburg is queer on top of her Satanic thinking.

June 27, 2016  -  Supreme Court strikes down Texas restrictions on abortions.  Babies have NO RIGHT TO LIFE, said inJustices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.  The U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas regulation of abortion clinics.
The justices voted 5-3 in favor of Texas clinics killing babies.

Murdering Supremes - SHAME SHAME SHAME -
may you be accursed!

Last edited by CJ on Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Supreme Court may be converting on religion

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court's defense of religious freedom may be on the decline.

Still reeling from the death of its most devout justice, Antonin Scalia, the high court has put preventing discrimination above protecting religion in a series of cases over the past year, from same-sex marriage to abortion and contraception.

It took an obscure order issued on the last day of the recent term for Justice Samuel Alito to drive home the point. By refusing to consider a family-owned pharmacy's objection to a Washington state regulation forcing it to stock and sell emergency contraceptives, he warned, the court was sending an "ominous sign."

"If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern." Alito said.

Indeed, to some groups that work at the intersection of law and religion, the court appears to be taking a left turn on issues where it has steered right in the past — a trend that, if it continues, could affect an upcoming case involving a Missouri church's effort to qualify for state playground funds and potentially another challenge to the pharmacy rule.

Under Chief Justices William Rehnquist and John Roberts, the court generally has carved out protections for religious groups and individuals. In recent years, it ruled that a Missouri church could sidestep employment discrimination laws, private corporations could avoid federal health regulations regarding contraceptives, and a New York town could open meetings with Christian prayers.

Last year, it ruled in favor of a Muslim prisoner who sought to wear a beard, a Muslim woman denied a job because she wore a headscarf, and a tiny Arizona church that protested municipal restrictions on street signs.

But after ruling for the craft giant Hobby Lobby in the 2014 contraceptives case, the court did not side with religious non-profits or the government this year in similar cases, instead sending them back for further appellate review. It struck down Texas restrictions on abortion clinics and, on the final day of the term, refused to hear the pharmacy's petition.

Seeing 'red flags'

That case was brought by the Stormans family, which operates Ralph's Thriftway in Olympia, Wash. The family had what conservatives considered a slam-dunk case against a unusual state regulation that pharmacies must fill prescriptions for contraceptives, including morning-after pills that prevent a fertilized egg from reaching the uterus.

"Ralph’s has made a strong case ... that the regulations here are improperly designed to stamp out religious objectors," Alito wrote in his dissent, joined by Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas. In his final footnote, Alito invited another legal challenge.

​Kristen Waggoner, who represented the pharmacy through a federal district court victory and an appeals court defeat, says it's too soon to assume the court has shifted on religious freedom cases. But she says the refusal to hear the Stormans case "does cause you to wonder."

"We're seeing the red flags," Waggoner says. “The risk is Americans will no longer have the right to live consistent with their faith without punishment from the government.”

Some defenders of religious freedom don't share Alito's fear for the future.

"The court has been responsive to religious liberty claims in most of the cases in recent years," Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, says. “I don’t see a reason to think that the court is going to become deaf to religious claims.”

Douglas Laycock, a religious liberty expert at the University of Virginia School of Law, says the risk arises when core issues important to liberals are at stake, such as women's access to all methods of birth control.

"The liberal justices are willing to protect religious liberty when their more favored issues are not at stake, or perhaps when the case is clear enough," Laycock says.

Advancing equality

But when other interests such as preventing discrimination against women, gays and lesbians, or minorities are involved, the court's latest responses please liberal groups.

"Religious liberty doesn’t give you a right to impose your views on others," Louise Melling, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union, says. She sees the court's recent actions as "part of a broader move to advance equality."

Many conservatives are wary that the court — stripped of Scalia's influence and vote, and often controlled by the more mercurial Justice Anthony Kennedy — increasingly may favor government regulators over religious believers.

"What we’re seeing is a sort of shift around social norms” concerning sexuality, says Jay Richards, assistant research professor at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.  “Kennedy is the best Geiger counter. He’s a very good instrument for measuring that.”

The next test will come in the fall, when the justices consider a Missouri church's challenge to being denied state funds for playground resurfacing. A second case involving the pharmacy regulations also could be headed their way in the future, along with lawsuits from merchants who refuse to participate in same-sex weddings.

"There's more and more of these cases coming up," Waggoner says. "This is not over."
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

U.S. Supreme Court Begins Term
Oct 11, 2016
 -  Supreme Court began its term Oct. 4 still short one justice. The court remains divided 4-4 between liberals and conservatives.  GOD FORBID Demon HELLary Clinton wins in November!  Donald Trump has a list of about 20 potential nominees who will help bring America back.

The court will busy itself with low-profile cases, insider trading and property disputes to copyright laws. The court also will hear perennial cases over the death penalty and redistricting.  Clement said the justices are reluctant to grant cases that might divide them 4-4.

The court does have one hugely significant case that will affect Christians: Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley. Missouri has a scrap tire recycling program, under which groups can apply to the state for ground-up tires to put on their playground surfaces. Trinity Lutheran applied for scrap tire for the playground at its day care. The state received 44 applications for 14 grants. Trinity Lutheran’s application ranked 5th.  But the state rejected Trinity Lutheran’s application on the grounds that the state constitution prohibits any funding of churches.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We are destroying our institutions
Oct 27, 2016  -  U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
had strong words for the current state of American government.  He acknowledged that the Court might also partially be at fault.

Justice Clarence Thomas had strong words for the current state of American government.  Thomas called Washington, D.C. broken and suggested that public trust in the federal government had declined.

The Supreme Court has become one of the central issues in the 2016 presidential election since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this year left a seat vacant on the nine-member court. The court is currently evenly split, 4-4, between liberal and conservative justices.

Justice Thomas reflected on his friendship with Scalia and how they agreed ideologically on major issues, despite their very different upbringings.

Justice Clarence Thomas


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