Washington (CNN) — The Supreme Court on Monday let stand New York’s strict gun control law, rejecting an appeal from a group of gun owners.
At issue was whether the Constitution’s Second Amendment provided a broad individual right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense.
New York’s Penal Law 265.03(03) bans possession of a firearm in public, either openly or concealed, unless someone can show “proper cause” to secure a carry permit. Such proper cause has to be more than just a law-abiding citizen’s desire for self-defense.
Since the high court refused to intervene, the state law stays in place.
Arizona’s law aimed at preventing illegal immigrants from registering to vote — which critics say disadvantages the young, elderly, minorities and naturalized citizens — goes before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.
The case, which has wound through the courts for years, is the second election-law case recently before the high court that Arizona has a stake in. Alabama’s challenge last month to the landmark Voting Rights Act, which could free Arizona and other states from scrutiny by the Department of Justice over potential racial discrimination in elections procedures, drew more national attention.
But experts and parties to the lawsuit say the case over Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship requirement for voter registrations too could set precedent in how elections are conducted across the country.
The case spotlights the tension between protecting election integrity — which Arizona argues its law does by requiring citizenship documents to register to vote — and encouraging wider voter registration — which Congress sought to do with a simple, nationwide voter-registration form that requires only a signature under penalty of perjury to confirm citizenship.
“This is about a state imposing restrictions that make voter registration more difficult. Whether it’s justified or not, it puts an additional hurdle in the way of the process,” said Justin Levitt, an elections-law professor at Yale and Loyola law schools. “This case is about how smooth voter registration can be.”
Most of the challenges to Gay marriage amount to attempts to show some form of harm from it, and they fail. The ones outlined in this article rest on unproven assumptions or hypothetical future grievances, that could be litigated in future cases if or when they came up, which is how our body of law grows, and how we reach a happy ground that works for most if not everyone over time.
For that reason, the arguments raised by opponents in last week’s briefs could be critical. They break down into several categories:
Procreation and child-rearing: Groups defending Proposition 8, led by California’s ProtectMarriage.com, argue that marriage is intended largely for having children and raising them with a mother and father.
“Recognition of same-sex marriages would not promote either of the principal interests on the basis of which opposite-sex marriage is a protected institution,” says a brief submitted by the conservative Family Research Council.
Several briefs criticize the District Court’s original ruling for its emphasis on marriage as a commitment among adults. The Catholic bishops labeled that definition “incoherent” and “wildly over-inclusive.”
Special legal protections: Opponents will have a tough time winning if the justices decide that laws based on sexual orientation deserve heightened scrutiny, as have those dealing with race.
Although the high court declared bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional in its 1967 Loving v. Virginia decision, opponents of same-sex marriage such as the Coalition of African American Pastors say that doesn’t set a precedent.
Others argue that gays’ sexual orientation is a choice, rather than genetically immutable. One brief tells the stories of four “ex-gays” now in heterosexual relationships.
On Friday, the Supreme Court will convene privately to make a highly anticipated decision: Will it weigh in on gay marriage? There are currently seven cases in front of the court, covering issues from whether married gay veterans can be buried together in a military cemetery to whether same-sex couples can once again marry in California. The court can decide to hear all, some, or none of the cases. And merely deciding to take a case or not will have broad implications for the future of gay marriage in the United States.
Which cases are involved?
Hollingsworth v. Perry, a challenge to Califorinia’s Proposition 8, is the only case facing the high court that deals specifically with the right of same-sex couples to marry. After the California Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2008, anti-gay-marriage activists passed an amendment to the California constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman. A federal appeals court then declared the proposition unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment.
More at San Diego Gay News
Britain’s High Court has ruled that Abu Hamza al-Masri, who is accused of helping set up a “terrorist” training camp in the US state of Oregon, can be extradited to the US where he is wanted to face charges.
Judges Duncan Ouseley and John Thomas handed down the judgment on Friday in the case of al-Masri along with four other defendents who are accused of terrorist activities.
Five terror suspects including Abu Hamza al-Masri have left jail to begin extradition to the US after losing the last appeal in a long legal battle.
The High Court ruled Hamza, Babar Ahmad, Syed Talha Ahsan, Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled al-Fawwaz did not show “new and compelling” reasons to stay.
The men left Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire in a police convoy.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s extradition unit will hand them over US marshals at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk.
The BBC understands a US Department of Justice-owned civilian Gulfstream jet has been on the tarmac at the base since Tuesday, having flown in from Washington that day.
A second civilian plane, a Dassault Falcon 900, flew into the airbase in the early hours of this morning from Westchester County in New York state, but close to the border with Connecticut, where Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan are expected to be tried.
Three police 4x4s, two prisoner vans and a blacked-out police people carrier left the jail at 19:15 BST.
A Home Office spokesman welcomed the decision and said it was “working to extradite these men as quickly as possible”.
For advocates and foes of same-sex marriage, two names have suddenly taken center stage in the legal universe: Kennedy and Romer.
Kennedy — that would be Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Anthony Kennedy — is the court’s perennial swing vote. Romer — as in Romer v. Evans — is the 1996 decision penned by Kennedy that struck down a Colorado amendment barring the state from passing laws to protect homosexuals and bisexuals.
The two names are in the spotlight because last Thursday a federal appeals court panel in Boston found that a central provision of the Defense of Marriage Act — which defines marriage as between a man and a woman — is unconstitutional. The ruling propels the DOMA case toward the high court, where Kennedy’s interpretation of Romer, a case that turned on the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, will be pivotal.
The clause prohibits the states from denying citizens equal protection under the law. Over time the Supreme Court has carved out more rigorous protection for groups that have faced discrimination over such fixed characteristics as race, religion and gender. In the jargon of the court, these factors deserve a higher level of scrutiny than other claims of discrimination — claims based on, say, weight or economic status.
The notable development in Romer was that the court appeared to open the door to including sexual orientation as one of those special categories. “From the time Romer came out, a lot of people believed the court was applying a higher level of scrutiny … but just not saying so,” said Steve Sanders, who teaches constitutional law at the University of Michigan Law School.
In the DOMA case, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, while relying on Romer, was explicit about the fact that it was applying a more searching level of scrutiny. According to Yale Law School Professor William Eskridge, attention will now turn to the author of Romer. “I’m tempted to say everything will hinge on whether Justice Kennedy reads Romer as broadly,” said Eskridge.
What might happen, Leno asked Tuesday, if the Supreme Court rules President Obama’s health care overhaul is unconstitutional? How will people - including children - with preexisting medical problems cope?
The lack of a clear answer to that question, and many others raised by the prospect that the law could be overturned, may force candidates to rewrite their political scripts. If the high court in June rules the law invalid, Republicans will no longer have the luxury of addressing Obama’s health care plan with a simple “I am against it” and move on to the next issue.
Already, that possibility is giving rise to “what if” questions being posed everywhere from the couches of late-night comedians to the hallowed halls of Congress.
For Romney, the GOP presidential front-runner whose health care law in Massachusetts contains elements at the heart of the Supreme Court case, the election was supposed to be almost exclusively about Obama’s handling of the economy. On the trail, he dismisses the health care law as destructive.
The Supreme Court gave an Idaho couple another chance Wednesday to challenge a government ruling barring construction of their “dream house,” an important property rights defeat for the Obama administration.
The justices unanimously ruled Chantell and Mike Sackett can appeal a compliance order that said wetlands on their residential lot were improperly filled with rocks and dirt. A building permit was then revoked.
“Since the agency’s decision was final and since the Sacketts have no other adequate remedy in a court, they may bring their suit” under federal law, said Justice Antonin Scalia.
The couple’s supporters had billed this as “David vs. Goliath” fight against the Environmental Protection Agency.
“We’re here to stand up for the property rights and the constitutional rights of all Americans,” Mike Sackett told CNN in January, when the case was argued at the high court. “We felt blindsided by the EPA, and we remain determined to fight.”
The high court had displayed wide support for the Sacketts during oral arguments 10 weeks ago.
“If you related the facts of this case — as they come to us — to an ordinary homeowner,” Justice Samuel Alito asked the government’s attorney, “don’t you think most ordinary homeowners would say this kind of thing can’t happen in the United States?”
What happened has become a six-year fight pitting business and property rights groups against the federal government and many in the environmental community. The effect could be huge for the longstanding tension over the balance between commercial and private development, and maintaining clean air, water, and soil.
The Sacketts bought a small parcel of about two-thirds of an acre in the Idaho Panhandle in 2005, near the shores of the resort community of Priest Lake. They hoped to build a three-bedroom home, surrounded by neighbor’s houses, and had obtained a county permit. Gravel had already been laid for the foundation when EPA officials told them their land was a wetland. That barred any development.
They were ordered to immediately “restore” the land to its natural state or risk fines of up to $37,500 a day.
Ron Paul trying for an unconstitutional end run around our court system - this legislation is in conflict with several court rulings and the 14th amendment. Time and again we see these wingnuts who stump on anti government sentiment asking for more government control and tyranny of the masses to overide individual rights — they just want the government to control your life locally.
Last year, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul introduced a bill in Congress that would allow states to ban contraception if they choose.
Paul’s “We the People Act,” which he introduced in 2004, 2005, 2009, and 2011, explicitly forbids federal courts and the Supreme Court of the United States from ruling on the constitutionality of a variety of state and local laws. That includes, among other things, “any claim based upon the right of privacy, including any such claim related to any issue of sexual practices, orientation, or reproduction.” The bill would let states write laws forbidding abortion, the use of contraceptives, or consensual gay sex, for example.
If passed, Paul’s bill could undermine the most important Supreme Court case dealing with contraception—1965’s Griswold v. Connecticut. In that case, the high court found that a Connecticut law prohibiting the use of contraception was unconstitutional based on a “right to marital privacy” afforded by the Bill of Rights. In other words, the court declared that states cannot interfere with what happens between the sheets when it comes to reproduction.
Paul’s bill would also keep the federal courts out of cases like Roe v. Wade and 2003’s Lawrence v. Texas, in which the justices found that privacy is a guaranteed right concerning sexual practices and struck down Texas’ anti-sodomy law as unconstitutional.