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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

USSC Orders

 And More:  Checking Twitter, which is getting a bit too addictive, I see that at least for the time being, Texas' anti-abortion law -- in part -- was too much for Kennedy (three justices dissented from a partial stay, but surely his vote was key here). One is wary hoping too much here, but it's something, especially for the thirteen clinics that can re-open though given it once had forty-one (per Scotusblog) suggests only so much.

The biggest news this USSC term was the decision not to hear any SSM cases, which sneaked under the radar via the Order List that provides a list of cases they have decided not to hear. If we go to the link and check out today's orders, there is nothing quite as exciting, but a few of some interest. 

 A major change -- at least in form (the actual effect on sentencing results is debatable) -- in recent years is the requirement that juries determine facts used in sentencing.  The "Blakely/Booker" line of cases.  The result was a bit confused since the USSC split on the question (Breyer/Kennedy was no big fan of the change while Ginsburg supported it, but joined in a somewhat confusing split the baby solution) and Stevens/Souter leaving the Court matters since they were on the "pro" side.  As with other matters, the conservatives are split and Sotomayor/Kagan might not be as supportive.  Thus, this denial is not surprising, nor the Scalia/Thomas/Ginsburg dissent. More here with a note on another significant criminal rights denial.

There is a SSM related denial today.  Yes.  A guy with past history in this sort of stuff tried to intervene in the Utah case because he wants to marry a machine. The last link provides the actual brief -- one hopes this guy, a lawyer, is not serious with this crackpot type stuff.  It would be a lot less fun if this guy was just some sort of unhinged person though this Duck Dynasty defender also has been charged with harassment, so maybe so.

The USSC also rejected a challenge to a California law against the sale of foie gras, the sort of food like veal that even meat eaters probably often are strongly against. The strongest federal question was that it somehow interfered with interstate commerce in part since in burdened out of state producers. This and other challenges were denied with no "liberty" interest in consuming the stuff raised, going by the opinion.  As noted by Justice Blackmun, who supported the RFRA friendly approach to free exercise, animal welfare laws can stand even in the face of such claims.  His clerk that flagged that issue?  Sherry Colb, who later wrote this

And, there are other footnotes, but those might be highlights. And, now to scintillating orals involving border disputes and this:
Whether, for purposes of the state-action exemption from federal antitrust law, an official state regulatory board created by state law may properly be treated as a “private” actor simply because, pursuant to state law, a majority of the board’s members are also market participants who are elected to their official positions by other market participants
Oh, the 6CA still hasn't handed down their SSM rulings. 

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