WASHINGTON — In a victory for pregnant women in the workplace, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in favor of a worker who sued shipping giant UPS for pregnancy discrimination, sending her lawsuit back to a lower court where she had previously lost.
The case, Young v. United Parcel Service, hinged on whether or not UPS was justified in putting Peggy Young on unpaid leave after she became pregnant, even though other workers were commonly offered “light duty” for on-the-job injuries or to satisfy requirements under the American with Disabilities Act. The justices ruled 6-3 in favor of keeping Young’s lawsuit alive, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito joining the traditionally liberal members of the court.
DENVER - State lawmakers unveiled a package of ten bills aimed at reforming police work in Colorado, dealing with everything from recording video of officers to investigating officer-involved shootings.
Supporters are billing the package as a way to “rebuild trust” in the wake of unrest over cases of perceived police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri and within Colorado.
Police chiefs and sheriffs are watching closely, hoping to guard against any changes they see as going too far.
“The heart of most of the issues facing law enforcement and communities of color, or communities who feel disenfranchised, comes down to relationship and trust. Despite all the well intentioned efforts, you cannot legislate either,” Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said in a written statement. “More rules and more training painted with a broad, ‘one size fits all’ brush will not solve the problems that exist in some of our communities and will be onerous for communities that do not require it.”
Blow off Snowden all you like, but what was revealed to be true is still true. The NSA lacks oversight with power. FISA is already too much and now they casually exceed even that generous provision.
The world first learned of the existence of upstream surveillance from whistleblower Edward Snowden’s spying revelations in June 2013. Since then, official disclosures and media reports have shown that the NSA is routinely seizing and copying the communications of millions of ordinary Americans while they are traveling over the Internet. The NSA conducts this surveillance by tapping directly into the Internet backbone inside the United States - the network of high-capacity cables and switches that carry vast numbers of Americans’ communications with each other and with the rest of the world. Once the NSA copies the communications, it searches the contents of almost all international text-based communications - and many domestic ones as well - for search terms relating to its “targets.”
In short, the NSA has cast a massive dragnet over Americans’ international communications.
Inside the United States, upstream surveillance is conducted under a controversial spying law called the FISA Amendments Act, which allows the NSA to target the communications of foreigners abroad and to intercept Americans’ communications with those foreign targets. The main problem with the law is that it doesn’t limit which foreigners can be targeted. The NSA’s targets may include journalists, academics, government officials, tech workers, scientists, and other innocent people who are not connected even remotely with terrorism or suspected of any wrongdoing. The agency sweeps up Americans’ communications with all of those targets.
And, as our lawsuit explains, the NSA is exceeding even the authority granted by the FISA Amendments Act. Rather than limit itself to monitoring Americans’ communications with the foreign targets, the NSA is spying on everyone, trying to find out who might be talking or reading about those targets.
“Surveillance like this has a chilling effect on free speech and dissent, especially when considered in light of the history of illegal political surveillance by the Chicago Police Department and misconduct that has led to far too many false convictions,” Topic said. “People are less willing to speak out against government corruption and wrongdoing when they fear that government is monitoring their location, their associations and their speech.
“Theoretically, there could be legitimate uses for this equipment, but there are serious constitutional concerns if warrants aren’t being obtained and if the equipment also takes cellphone information from the hundreds or thousands of other people in the vicinity of purportedly legitimate targets.”
So far, the city has provided Martinez with records disclosing that the Chicago Police Department paid Harris Corp. more than $340,000 between 2005 and 2010 for StingRay, KingFish and Superdog devices, as well as software upgrades and training.
The police department also obtained a quote from Harris last year to refurbish cellphone tracking systems, upgrade software and provide training for $252,000, but it’s unclear whether the city went ahead with that purchase.
Overwhelming victory for women’s rights & Planned Parenthood.
A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled as unconstitutional on Friday a state law requiring any doctor performing an abortion to have privileges to admit patients to a nearby hospital.
U.S. District Judge William Conley temporarily blocked the law in August 2013, which requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital located within 30 miles (50 km) of his or her practice, shortly after Republican Governor Scott Walker signed it into law.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services, the state’s two abortion providers, challenged the measure in court, saying it could force abortion clinics in Appleton and Milwaukee to close.
On Friday, Conley ordered a permanent injunction against the law, saying in his 91-page order and opinion that the law violated women’s 14th amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution.
I’ve written of simple minimum standards that we simply must have as a civil democracy. One of those is the ability toi arrest unarmed suspects without killing them. Especially large uncooperative ones. But that is way past the more fundamental issue here. One can easily presume police departments in need of reform. That reform must be implemented, if not quite embraced. Resistance to court orders apart from appeals must not be tolerated. Added thought-At what point in this can he be removed from his duties? One might have thought this was it.
Lawyers for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and top aide Jerry Sheridan said in papers filed late Tuesday that their clients agree they have committed civil contempt of court.
They asked a judge to call off hearings next month to examine the violations. The judge would decide whether to cancel the hearings.
Among the violations was a court order that barred Arpaio’s deputies from detaining people based solely on the suspicion that they’re in the country illegally.
The judge has expressed concerns about whether fines from a civil contempt finding would adequately address the violations.
In this country you have the right to be a bigot, and everyone else has the right to criticize you for it.
University of Oklahoma President David Boren has expelled two students, members of SAE fraternity, for participating in a racist rant on a bus. The rant included the following:
There will never be a nigger at SAE
There will never be a nigger at SAE
You can hang him from a tree
But he’ll never sign with me
There will never be a nigger at SAE
Needless to say, such language is abhorrent. But the University of Oklahoma cannot constitutionally expel the students for this expression.
The Supreme Court has made it quite clear that public universities cannot constitutionally discipline their students for speech merely because it offends the university’s sense of decency.
In Healy v. James, for example, a state college in 1969 refused recognition to a proposed student chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The college argued that its denial of recognition was justified because SDS adhered to “a philosophy of violence and disruption.” This was especially worrisome, the college explained, at a time of widespread disruption on college campuses, often accompanied by trespass, vandalism, and arson.
I have always assumed that it was very likely the conservative majority on the Supreme Court would take the easy way out and rule against the federal exchange subsidies by simply saying that the law is unclear so they are ruling for the plaintiffs but it’s no biggie because the congress will “fix it.” Those of us who don’t live in Bizarroworld know this is ridiculous, but it’s entirely possible that the conservative justices will pretend naivete and just say all the congress has to do it a little tweak and all will be ok, no harm no foul. And except for the dozens of votes to scale back or repeal Obamacare, that might even make sense. And, as Greg Sargent points out here, the fact that the Republicans have failed to produce their promised alternative for 50 months now can’t possibly mean that they have no flipping idea how to “fix” it without making millions of people lose their health insurance.
On the other hand, many people think that John Roberts has a little more regard for the reputation of the court that to do something so patently absurd, which this interesting video from a few months back would seem to validate. He seems to be very concerned that the public not see the court as partisan and protests that it’s just plain wrong. (I’m sorry to inform him that that ship sailed with Bush vs Gore — and Roberts was among those GOP lawyers who descended on Florida to )
The Supreme Court on Wednesday took up the Affordable Care Act in one of the most anticipated arguments of the term, and it seemed closely divided over the fate of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement.
The court’s four liberal members voiced strong support for the administration’s position. But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who cast the decisive vote to save the law in 2012, said almost nothing on Wednesday, and did not indicate his position.
In a pleasant surprise for the administration, however, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who was in dissent in 2012, made several comments indicating that his vote was in play.
“Perhaps you will prevail in the plain words of the statute,” he told a lawyer for the challengers. But, he continued, “there’s a serious constitutional problem if we adopt your argument.”