Tag Archives: scotus

Justice Thomas Ravages SCOTUS’s Refusal to Hear Challenge to CA 10-Day Waiting Period

Washington, D.C.— The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a Second Amendment challenge to California’s 10-day waiting period on gun sales, continuing a nearly decade-long pattern of refusing to wade into the contentious debate on gun control. The court’s refusal to hear the case leaves the waiting period in California and other jurisdictions in place unfettered. Justice Clarence Thomas issued a dissent over the Court’s refusal to hear the case.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition from plaintiffs Jeff Silvester and Brandon Combs to hear the case. Second Amendment proponents argued that California’s 10-day waiting period, especially for individuals who have already passed a background check and legally own firearms, amounted to a violation of the right to keep and bear arms.

The last major precedent-setting firearms rulings came in 2008 and 2010, when ordinances in Washington, D.C. and Chicago that prohibited the private possession of handguns as violations of 2nd Amendment were struck down, and ruled that Americans have a right to have guns at home for self-defense.

Justice Thomas said the court’s record of failing to intervene in gun cases amounted to treating the Second Amendment as a “disfavored” constitutional right, noting that his fellow justices regularly hear cases involving unreasonable search and seizure, abortion and free speech rights, but haven’t reviewed an important gun rights case in eight-plus years.

In his dissent, Thomas wrote that the reversal by 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is “symptomatic of the lower courts’ general failure to afford the Second Amendment the respect due an enumerated constitutional right.”

“If a lower court treated another right so cavalierly,” Thomas wrote, “I have little doubt that this Court would intervene. But as evidenced by our continued inaction in this area, the Second Amendment is a disfavored right in this Court.”

“The Court would take these cases because abortion, speech, and the Fourth Amendment are three of its favored rights,” Thomas wrote. “The right to keep and bear arms is apparently this Court’s constitutional orphan. And the lower courts seem to have gotten the message.”

The Washington Examiner reported that a California district court initially ruled in favor of Silvester and Combs, two lawful California gun owners who, along with two nonprofits, challenged the law. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s ruling, which effectively kept the waiting period in place. In upholding the restrictions, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said “the 2nd Amendment does not preserve or protect a right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.”

“In the Ninth Circuit, it seems, rights that have no basis in the Constitution receive greater protection than the Second Amendment, which is enumerated in our text,” Thomas surmised.

Cruz: ‘The Second Amendment Will Be Written Out of the Constitution’ if Trump is President

As previously reported by Truth In Media, Senior Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead of apparent natural causes at a ranch in West Texas Saturday morning.

The passing of Scalia sparked different reactions from presidential candidates and political organizations. Both the National Rifle Association and Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) are emphasizing the importance of replacing Scalia’s seat with a pro-2nd Amendment Justice.

According to Washington Examiner, the NRA will spend $20 million during the election to push for gun rights and will lobby for pro 2nd Amendment justices.

The NRA tweeted Senator Ted Cruz’s statement at the news of Scalia’s passing.

Senator Cruz told This Week‘s George Stephanopoulos the importance of the next election and how it will affect the SCOTUS’ decision on important issues like the 2nd Amendment. Cruz also told Stephanopoulos that he intends to filibuster any Supreme Court nominee brought forward by President Obama.

“I don’t think the American people want a court that will write the 2nd Amendment out of the Constitution,” said Cruz.

But Cruz went a step further by attacking his opponent Donald Trump.

Cruz said, “And if Donald Trump becomes president, the Second Amendment will be written out of the Constitution because it is abundantly clear that Donald Trump is not a conservative. He will not invest the capital to confirm a conservative.”

[RELATED: Reality Check: What Trump’s Love of Eminent Domain Tells You About His Values]

Cruz added, “whether it’s Hillary, Bernie or Donald Trump. The Second Amendment will go away.”

“He says you’re wrong. He says he will and he says your judgment should be questioned because you supported John Roberts,” said Stephanopoulos.


Cruz said, “Listen, number one, I did not appoint John Roberts. George W. Bush did. Now once the president made the appointment, I supported that nomination. That was a mistake.”

SCOTUS: Kentucky Clerk Must Issue Same Sex Marriage Licenses Despite Religious Beliefs

The United States Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a Kentucky county clerk must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The decision followed her request for an emergency order against issuing such licenses, stating that it violated her religious beliefs.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states in June. Two gay couples and two straight couples filed a lawsuit against Davis, challenging her policy.

[RELATED: Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Same Sex Marriage In All 50 States]

U.S. District Judge David Bunning issued a preliminary injunction requiring Davis to issue marriage licenses in July, noting that she had to “live up to her responsibilities as the county clerk despite her religious convictions.”

Davis issued an appeal asking the Supreme Court to block a lower court that was directing her to issue the licenses, and stating that she “holds an undisputed sincerely held religious belief that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, only.”

Davis’ lawyers also noted that if forced to approve marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples, Davis saw it as a “searing act of validation would forever echo in her conscience.”

The SCOTUS ruling did not include a dissent, and consisted of only one sentence: “The application for stay presented to Justice Kagan and by her referred to the Court is denied.”

The SCOTUS Blog’s Lyle Denniston noted that the Supreme Court’s order was “not a final ruling on Davis’s argument that her right to freedom of conscience should give her an exemption from having any part in the licensing process that would lead to same-sex marriages,” and that she still have “an appeal on that question now pending at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.”

While many questioned whether Davis would begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday morning that Davis is continuing to deny issuing licenses, despite the Supreme Court ruling.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to at least two couples Tuesday morning. David Ermold reportedly told Davis Tuesday that he and his partner, David Moore, would not “leave until we have a license.” Davis reportedly responded, “Then you’re going to have a long day.”

SCOTUScare: Texas Rep Introduces Bill To Force Supreme Court To Enroll In Obamacare

Following the Supreme Court decision on Thursday to uphold Obamacare subsidies, Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) introduced the “SCOTUScare Act of 2015,” a bill that would force each of the Supreme Court justices and their aides to sign up for Obamacare.

In the case of King v. Burwell, the Supreme Court ruled, 6-3, that federal subsidies can be paid to customers throughout the United States, not just in the states that have established their own insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Babin said that he created the “SCOTUScare Act” as a way to make the Supreme Court justices and their employees “see firsthand what the American people are forced to live with,” by removing their exemptions and making them join the national healthcare law’s exchanges.

[pull_quote_center]As the Supreme Court continues to ignore the letter of the law, it’s important that these six individuals understand the full impact of their decisions on the American people. That’s why I introduced the SCOTUScare Act to require the Supreme Court and all of its employees to sign up for Obamacare. By eliminating their exemption from Obamacare, they will see firsthand what the American people are forced to live with![/pull_quote_center]

The term “SCOTUScare” was used by Justice Antonin Scalia on Thursday, in reference to the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare.

In his dissent, Scalia said that while the Act that Congress passed makes tax credits available on an “Exchange established by the State,” this Court “concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped.”

“So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere,” Scalia wrote. “We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”

Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Same Sex Marriage In All 50 States

In a historic decision, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Friday that same-sex marriage is legal across the United States.

The decision’s summary stated that “The fundamental liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices defining personal identity and beliefs.”

“The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.

Massachusetts became the first state to recognize same-sex marriage in 2003, and since then states have shifted in a similar direction. So far, 37 states and the District of Columbia have allowed same-sex marriage.

The case of Obergefell v. Hodges was brought by lead plaintiff Jim Obergefell, who sought to be listed as the surviving spouse on his husband’s death certificate but discovered legal challenges regarding his home recognizing marriage performed in an outside state.

The ruling in its entirety can be read here.

SCOTUS: Police Violated Fourth Amendment By Using Drug Dog To Prolong Traffic Stop

On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that a Nebraska police officer violated the Fourth Amendment in the case of Rodriguez v. United States, when he made a driver wait an extra eight minutes during a traffic stop while a drug dog sniffed the outside of his car. 

We hold that a police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the matter for which the stop was made violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures,” wrote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on behalf of the Court.

The ruling states that without reasonable suspicion, “police extension of a traffic stop in order to conduct a dog sniff” violates the Fourth Amendment.

The incident surrounding the case occurred in 2012 when Dennys Rodriguez was pulled over for driving on the shoulder of a Nebraska highway by Officer Struble and issued a warning. The traffic stop was then prolonged when Struble asked to let a drug dog sniff around the car. Rodriguez refused, and Struble called for back up.

The Hill reported that while the entire traffic stop lasted less than 30 minutes, the dog did detect drugs in Rodriguez’ vehicle, and he was indicted for possessing methamphetamine.

According to the Supreme Court’s ruling, an officer’s mission during a traffic stop should include deciding whether or not to issue a traffic ticket, checking the driver’s license, determining whether there are outstanding warrants against the driver, and inspecting the automobile’s registration and proof of insurance, and because it does not have the same “close connection to roadway safety as the ordinary inquiries,” letting a drug dog sniff the vehicle “is not fairly characterized as part of the officer’s traffic mission.”

Justice Clarence Thomas was one of the three who disagreed with the ruling, and in his dissenting opinion, he said that the ruling takes a view on the Fourth Amendment that “makes little sense,” because it states that Struble “committed a constitutional violation” when he “made Rodriguez wait for seven or eight extra minutes until a dog arrived.”

Had Officer Struble arrested, handcuffed, and taken Rodriguez to the police station for his traffic violation, he would have complied with the Fourth Amendment,” Thomas wrote.

Reason.com noted that Justice Sonia Sotomayor “previewed the Court’s skepticism towards the police officer’s approach” during an oral argument in the case in Jan. 2015.

We can’t keep bending the Fourth Amendment to the resources of law enforcement,” Sotomayor said. “Particularly when this stop is not incidental to the purpose of the stop. It’s purely to help the police get more criminals, yes. But then the Fourth Amendment becomes a useless piece of paper.”



Libertarians and Objectivists respond to Hobby Lobby ruling


There are a lot of differing opinions regarding the Hobby Lobby ruling this week.

The right praises the ruling as a victory for religious freedom and Big government Republicans like Rick Santorum is planning on making a movie about the decision. The left is promoting the overused phrase “War on Women,” a contrived Democrat talking point designed to raise more money for the Party.

Now the United Nations is siding with Sandra Fluke and said, “access to contraception is a universal human right” and you the tax payer must pay for it.


So in a world of lunatic arguments, it’s refreshing to hear some common sense regarding the Hobby Lobby decision.

One of them is from the Objective Standard that highlights the inconsistent logic from the SCOTUS’ ruling Monday.

Here is an excerpt from the Objective Standard:

“The Court failed to protect the rights of those who may not want to offer the type of insurance in question for rational reasons—such as that insuring such things as birth control is economically senseless or that individuals and businesses have a reason-based right to decide for themselves how they will or will not spend their money.”

Very good point. Why should Christian corporations be the only ones exempt from some of the provisions of Obamacare? Why can’t corporations be exempt based on reason alone?

Here is the statement from the Libertarian Party:

“It’s strange that liberals and conservatives are making this ruling out to be a huge deal. All the ruling does is remove a very narrow coverage requirement, in very specific cases; 99.9 percent of Obamacare is upheld.

It’s true that closely held corporate entities should not be forced to pay for this particular contraceptive coverage. But focusing on that narrow issue misses the bigger point: No employer should be forced to provide any health coverage at all.

This ruling just draws the line between freedom and regulation arbitrarily. If these employers are free to ignore this particular mandate, why aren’t other employers free to ignore other Obamacare regulations? They should be.

Obamacare is unjust and unconstitutional from top to bottom. No employer should be forced to provide health coverage to its employees, or penalized by government if it doesn’t.

Religion is not the issue. The fact that these employers have religious motives doesn’t matter. Employers have the right to associate freely with their employees, and to come up with any mutually agreeable employment terms, whether their motives are religious, secular, generous, greedy, or whatever.

This ruling is a tiny island in a huge sea of Supreme Court rulings that have supported the federal government’s desire to regulate and control.”



SCOTUS Ruling on Unions could mark the “End Of The Democratic Party”


The United States Supreme Court ruled Monday that workers cannot be forced to pay fees to public sector unions to cover the cost of collective bargaining.

In Harris v. Quinn, an Illinois in-home health care worker sued the state over compulsory union dues. Because she is paid with Medicaid funds, the state considers her a public employee — therefore a member of the Service Employees International Union.

Saying that the dues were forced association and forced speech (prohibited by the First Amendment), Pamela Harris sued Illinois and the SEIU.

In a 5-4 ruling along ideological lines,  the court ruled that “partial public employees” like Harris cannot be forced to pay union dues.

The ruling does not extend to all public employees or all unions, but it could.

The DailyKOS, a left-wing political blog, wrote last week, “If, as expected, Judge Alito (arguably the most anti-labor of the five ideologues that currently comprise what pundits blithely characterize as the Supreme Court’s “conservative majority”) issues the opinion in the case of Harris v Quinn on Monday, public sector unions such as the SEIU and AFSCME may very well be wiped out and with them, one of the Democratic Party’s primary sources of financial support and GOTV (Get out the vote) efforts.”

According to the DailyKOS, the court’s ruling would result in a “death spiral” and would dry up financial resources that Democrats rely on. What’s worse, according to the blog, Democrats would have to rely more on Wall Street for financial funding.

Before the ruling Monday, the left were freaking out. Here is an excerpt from DailyKOS:

“Agency fees in principle are important to public employee unions because they’re required by law to bargain for all workers in a unionized setting. If agency fees for non-members are ruled to be a violation of free speech, unions fear they would lose funding, become less effective at bargaining for benefits and, in turn, lose members.”

“A death spiral.”

“One labor official said such a result would bring about “the possible final destruction of the American labor movement.” The official added, “It would cause the death not only of public sector unions and what’s left of private sector unions, but also the Democratic Party,” suggesting that the demise of unions would make Democrats more reliant on Wall Street money.”


So did the SCOTUS give a death blow to the Democrats? No. The Court created an obstacle for unions to expand, but it has not gutted their very existence nor has it cut off funding for the Democrat Party.

But according to Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSBlog: “It remains possible that in a later case the Court will overturn its prior precedent and forbid requiring public employees to contribute to union bargaining. But today it has refused to go that far. The unions have lost a tool to expand their reach. But they have dodged a major challenge to their very existence.”


SCOTUS ruling: Corporations are people too and they have religious rights!

JOSHUA COOK | OPINION| It was big news today. As Benswann.com reported today, “the Obama administration had provided exemptions for religious non-profits, but this case marks the first time that a for-profit company has cited The Religious Freedom Restoration Act to argue against being required to provide birth control.”

Well the SCOTUS ruled in Hobby Lobby’s favor. Hobby Lobby will no longer be forced by the government to pay for “The Morning After Pill” for their employees which they view as an abortion-inducing drug and morally offensive.

In today’s ruling, Justice Alito wrote, “Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them.”

Alito added, “Any suggestion that for-profit corporations are incapable of exercising religion because their purpose is simply to make money flies in the face of modern corporate law.”

So there you have it. According to the SCOTUS, not only are for-profit corporations people too, but they have religious rights as well.

One of the most interesting reactions today came from Julie Borowski’s Twitter feed replying to a tweet made by Sandra Fluke.

sandra fluke v julie

Just in case you forgot, Sandra Fluke was the Georgetown law student who testified before Congress to lobby for free contraceptives for women. Now she is saying that the “Hobby Lobby ruling is an attack on women.”

Uh, Okaaayyy.

On Julie’s Facebook she wrote:



…Not exactly getting your boss out of your health care decisions.

In my view, the SCOTUS decision doesn’t go far enough. For me the entire Obamacare Tax is immoral and should be stopped!

What’s your opinion on today’s ruling? Do you believe corporations should have religious rights? Please comment below.

Follow Joshua Cook On Facebook & Twitter.

Supreme Court Authorizes Warrantless Stops & Searches Based on Anonymous Tips

Washington, D.C., April 24, 2014- On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling that allows police to stop and search a driver based exclusively on an anonymous tip.

In a 5-4 split decision, the court ruled that the reliance on an anonymous call is reasonable due to the fact that “a 911 call has some features that allow for identifying and tracking callers.” The justices atypically didn’t split along standard ideological lines as two of the most conservative justices, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Antonin Scalia, respectively wrote the majority opinion and dissent.

The Supreme Court has previously given the police the authority to act on anonymous tips, but requires sufficient detail so that law enforcement has a basis of reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

 Justice Scalia decried this ruling as “A freedom-destroying cocktail.”

In the case, Prado Navarette v. California, an anonymous tip of reckless driving was called in to 911. Officers responded but didn’t see any evidence of the alleged reckless driving, which was interpreted as implying drunken driving, after following the truck for a number of miles. The subsequent stop and search resulted in officers finding marijuana.

Justice Thomas claimed in the majority opinion that the 911 tip, that a pickup truck ran the caller off the road, was reliable enough for a traffic stop to be allowed without violating the constitutional rights of the driver.

In Justice Scalia’s scathing dissent he asserts:

“The Court’s opinion serves up a freedom-destroying cocktail consisting of two parts patent falsity: (1) that anonymous 911 reports of traffic violations are reliable so long as they correctly identify a car and its location, and (2) that a single instance of careless or reckless driving necessarily supports a reasonable suspicion of drunkenness.”

He goes on to state that:

“Law enforcement agencies follow closely our judgments on matters such as this, and they will identify at once our new rule: So long as the caller identifies where the car is, anonymous claims of a single instance of possibly careless or reckless driving, called in to 911, will support a traffic stop. This is not my concept, and I am sure would not be the Framers’, of a people secure from unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Justice Scalia was joined in his dissent by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Elana Kagan, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Here are a few of the other key points from the dissent:

“Drunken driving is a serious matter, but so is the loss of our freedom to come and go as we please without police interference. To prevent and detect murder we do not allow searches without probable cause or targeted Terry stops without reasonable suspicion. We should not do so for drunken driving either. After today’s opinion all of us on the road, and not just drug dealers, are at risk of having our freedom of movement curtailed on suspicion of drunkenness, based upon a phone tip, true or false, of a single instance of careless driving.”

“All the malevolent 911 caller need do is assert a traffic violation, and the targeted car will be stopped, forcibly if necessary, by the police. If the driver turns out not to be drunk (which will almost always be the case), the caller need fear no consequences even if 911 knows his identity.”

The implications of this ruling will most likely be far reaching. With the current ruling in effect, someone with a vendetta can simply make an anonymous call to 911 and that will be sufficient to pull a person over and search. This ruling is a serious blow to liberty and what was left of the 4th Amendment.


Follow Jay on Facebook and on Twitter @SirMetropolis

Cronyism At Its Finest, U.S. Government Arguing Against Aereo Before SCOTUS

“The question is, do they want to be broadcasters? If you want to be a broadcaster, you are required to program in public interest in convenience free to air.”

The United States Supreme has begun hearing arguments over whether or not streaming company Aereo can continue to share broadcast content with customers without paying a fee to broadcasters. The case is American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc..

The nation’s highest court has now heard oral arguments over whether the online TV streaming service infringes on the copyrights of broadcasters. If you are not familiar with Aereo, it is an ingenious company backed by billionaire Barry Diller. Aereo allows subscribers in 11 different U.S. cities to pay a monthly fee of $8 to stream and record broadcast television shows directly to mobile devices. How this happens is very important to the case. Aereo only grabs over-the-air the signals which are already free to the public. When a subscriber logs onto Aereo’s website to pick out a program to watch or record, Aereo assigns them a specific, dime-sized antenna. The subscriber has their own specific antenna and is renting that exclusive antenna as long as they are a subscriber. Why is that important? Because if you live in any city in the United States with broadcast programming, you can do the very same thing yourself with a digital antenna connected to your TV.

Over the past few months, a group of American broadcasters have insisted that Aereo is stealing their content and must pay a fee in order to rebroadcast their content. Already, lower courts have agreed with Aereo’s case that the company is taking free over the air content and providing access to it to the public.

The big question before SCOTUS: Whether Aereo “publicly performs” a copyrighted television program when it retransmits a broadcast of that program to thousands of paid subscribers over the Internet.

Aereo insists that it does not “publicly” perfom copyrighted shows, but gives private access to each individual subscriber through their unique antenna.

What should be an argument between private companies however, has not stayed that way, as the U.S. Government has been granted permission to argue on behalf of broadcasters.

According to Deadline the Supreme Court has granted a request from the Deputy Solicitor General’s to appear during Aereo hearing in support of the broadcasters,

“Motion of the Deputy Solicitor General for leave to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae and for divided argument GRANTED,” said the SCOTUS yesterday. The granting of the motion comes more than a month and a half after the federal government’s top legal office filed a brief supporting the broadcasters in their showdown with the Barry Diller-backed streaming service.

Already, Justices of the high court seem to want to rule against Aereo. To do so, could harm streaming and cloud services such as Google Inc, Microsoft Corp, DropBox Inc and Box Inc. Which could be why Justice Sonya Sotomayor is claiming that Aereo should simply be classified as a cable company.

“I read it and say why aren’t they a cable company?”
says Sotomayor.

The reason… Aereo is NOT a cable company. Aereo is a subscription antenna. If the company were forced to be considered a cable company, it would also be forced to pay re-transmission fees.

Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia makes the case to CNN’s Brian Stelter, saying do broadcasters want to broadcast or not?

“The question is, do they want to be broadcasters? If you want to be a broadcaster, you are required to program in public interest in convenience free to air. Anybody with an antenna can pick it up. I don’t understand why the location of the antenna changes that equation in any which way, shape or form.”