A Black Woman On The Supreme Court Won’t Change Capitalist Oppression

This week, Justice Stephen Breyer announced that he is retiring from the Supreme Court and President Biden promptly reiterated his promise to fill the seat—for the first time ever—with a Black woman. Breyer, who has served 27 years on the Court, is one of the three remaining “liberal” justices. In that sense, this resignation isn’t a major earthquake: the makeup of the court will remain the same. Still, the announcement comes at an opportune time for the Biden administration.

A few months ago, Breyer himself said he was not ready to retire. The timing of his recent announcement to retire before the Court’s session ends in June and ahead of  the November midterm elections indicates that he is concerned about the future political makeup of the court.

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Supreme Court Leaves Workers Without COVID-19 Protection

The Supreme Court, in a predictable 6-3 decision, blocked OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that required employees in businesses with 100 or more employees to either be vaccinated or regularly tested and masked. Dissenting were the three Justices appointed by Democratic Presidents: Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan. The majority stated that the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHAct) “plainly” does not authorize the vaccine or masking requirements.  Calling the OSHA standard no “everyday exercise of federal power” they labeled it “instead a significant encroachment into the lives—and health—of a vast number of employees.”  The argued that in a situation where an agency is authorized to “exercise powers of vast economic and political significance,” Congress must “speak clearly.” 

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Tribes File Briefs Defending Indian Child Welfare Act

In the briefs, the tribes call on the court to reject the petitioners’ latest attempts to overturn the Indian Child Welfare Act, which fundamentally misrepresent the law and the facts on tribal sovereignty and congressional powers to allege “race discrimination” where it does not exist. The tribes demonstrate that the Indian Child Welfare Act’s placement preferences fall “well within Congress’s broad powers over Indian affairs and classify based on tribal political affiliation, not race,” and that both the Brackeens and the state of Texas lack standing to pursue their claims.

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Biden Tells Supreme Court Publicly Documented Torture Is A State Secret

When Abu Zubaydah was apprehended in Pakistan in 2002, the George W. Bush administration falsely characterized him as chief of operations for al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s number three man. For the next four years, the CIA sent Zubaydah to its “black sites” in Thailand and Poland where he was viciously tortured. In 2006, Zubaydah was taken to Guantánamo, where he remains to this day. He has never been charged with a crime.

The torture of Abu Zubaydah is thoroughly documented in the 2014 report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In fact, several of the justices at the October 6 Supreme Court oral argument in United States v. Zubaydah referred to his treatment as “torture.”

Zubaydah’s lawyers detailed the torture he suffered in their brief (which referenced the Senate torture report) as follows…

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Nations Petition Supreme Court To Protect Indian Child Welfare Act

Cetan Sa Winyan, director of the American Indian Movement’s Indian Territory Oklahoma chapter, said all tribes — not just the four already petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court — should stand together against potential changes to the Indian Child Welfare Act in a case the court has been asked to review.

“They closed the boarding schools and opened up CPS (Child Protective Services), but it’s the same thing — they’re still coming in and taking our children,” Winyan said.

The ICWA was enacted in 1978 to help keep Indigenous children in Indigenous homes. In ICWA cases, the first preference for placement is that the child go to an extended family member, even if the relative is non-Native. Second preference is someone within the child’s tribe; third preference is another tribe.

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Shadow Docket Supreme Court Decisions Could Affect Millions

Traditionally, the process of getting an opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court takes months and those rulings are often narrowly tailored. Emergency orders, especially during the court’s summer break, revolve around specific issues, like individual death penalty cases. Since Aug. 24, that truncated process known as the shadow docket has moved at astronomical speed, producing decisions related to immigration, COVID-19 and evictions and, most recently, abortion.

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After Supreme Court Ruling, A Tsunami Of Evictions Is Set Overwhelm US

Following a Supreme Court ruling that ended the moratorium, evictions are resuming in the United States.

Eugene Puryear talks about the impact of this judgement on millions who might face a housing crisis even as the pandemic continues to rage on

The Supreme Court of the United States has struck down the moratorium on evictions of tenants. Evictions are set to resume in many parts of the country from today. The ruling has left millions of Americans at risk of losing their shelter during the pandemic. Eugene Puryear of BreakThrough News talks about the judgment, its impact on the people, and the response of movements across the country.

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Revealing The Pentagon Papers In Congress: Going To The Supreme Court

My gut was tight as a knot. The oral arguments began before the Supreme Court on April 19, 1972. I fidgeted in my seat in the audience in the first row with my wife and two young kids. I could see our legal team sitting in front of me: Robert Reinstein and Chuck Fishman. A young Alan Dershowitz sat next to them, representing Beacon. Twenty-four Ionic columns of Italian marble surrounded us below white friezes encircling the chamber. I gazed up at the Justices arrayed in black high before me on their imposing, mahogany bench, under a 44-foot ceiling. Behind them were red satin curtains and four marble columns. A huge black and white clock hung from above.

Two new Justices had joined the Court since the New York Times ruling: Hugo Black and John Harlan left in September 1971.

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Don’t Open The Door Further To Dark Money

On April 26, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that could unmoor decades of transparency laws, even as dark money spending by special interests continues to rise. 

The court’s new majority is being asked by billionaire Charles Koch’s nonprofits to expand on the notion that “money is speech” by ruling that the First Amendment bars disclosure laws that may chill large donors from giving more money to nonprofits.

On the surface, the case, known as Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta, is about whether a state can require a nonprofit group to reveal a list of its donors who give $5,000 or more. That data is not public, but a glitch in California’s electronic filing system inadvertently made it searchable to other filers for a short period, which Koch’s Americans for Prosperity Foundation discovered. 

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Social Movements Can Win Even With A Hostile Supreme Court

With the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, how will the Supreme Court decide future cases? Most people will probably think of it as a “6-3 Court” and expect decisions based on the number of justices nominated by each of the two ruling parties. Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act, was a perfect 5-4 split between the justices nominated by Democrats and Republicans at the time.

The justices, of course, disagree. They admit the nominations are political but the justice is not, “once that black robe goes on.”

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Federal Judges Block Efforts To Ease Rules For Mail-In Ballots

In the final weeks of the 2020 election, Republican-appointed appellate judges have overturned rulings that required states to make mail-in voting easier during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tens of millions of ballots have already been cast, even as federal judges kept changing the rules.
These decisions could be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which will include a 6-3 conservative majority if nominee Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed by the U.S. Senate next week as planned. So far, the court has ruled against voters in nearly every case it has reviewed.

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Scheer Intelligence: Justice Ginsburg’s Life And Legacy

The documentary filmmakers discuss their film “RBG” on the life and career of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. While Justice Ginsburg did not grant access to filmmakers Betsy West and Julie Cohen right away, eventually she allowed them an intimate look at her life and her career-long fight for equal rights. West and Cohen tell host Robert Scheer that Ginsburg has embraced her recent emergence as a pop culture icon because she believes it is an opportunity to reach a younger generation.

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Protest At Mitch McConnell’s House Over Supreme Court Vacancy

A crowd of protesters swarmed outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky home after the Republican leader said he would move to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death.

About 100 protesters gathered outside McConnell’s Louisville home on Saturday after he said he would push for a Senate vote on filling the seat with the presidential election is less than seven weeks away, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.

The demonstrators called out “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Mitch McConnell has got to go,” “vote him out” and ditch Mitch.”

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The Supreme Court Dropped The Ball On The Right To Protest

In recent months, US cities have seen widespread protests denouncing police brutality against unarmed Black people. Local and national law enforcement agencies, responding to crowds of unprecedented size and scale, relied on methods that were equally unprecedented. For more than 30 years, the Supreme Court has failed to take up a freedom-of-assembly case. As a result, this fundamental constitutional right is in sore need of an update, such as a ruling that would protect protesters from the unduly harsh police response that has become all too common as a response to demonstrations in recent years.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution explicitly describes the right of the people to peaceably assemble. This right is recognized separately from the right to freedom of speech because the founders believed that the act of organizing a large crowd for a demonstration, parade or protest could be more powerful than individual speech, and was therefore even more susceptible to government encroachment. Like the right to religious expression, the founders gave the right to protest its own listing intending for the courts to give it special treatment and fashion unique legal standards that would ensure its protection.

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Supreme Court Rejects Effort To Greenlight Keystone XL Construction

The Supreme Court late Monday upheld a federal judge’s rejection of a crucial permit for Keystone XL and blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to greenlight construction of the 1,200-mile crude oil project, the third such blow to the fossil fuel industry in a day—coming just hours after the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the court-ordered shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

While the ruling was not a total victory for the climate—the high court said other pipeline projects can proceed as environmental reviews are conducted—green groups applauded the delay of Keystone XL construction as further confirmation of their view that the Canada-owned pipeline will never be built thanks to legal obstacles and fierce grassroots opposition.

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