Obama administration defends government-sponsored Christian prayers

The Supreme Court is hearing a case that will decide whether or not it is constitutional for a city council to begin with an explicitly Christian prayer.  Surprisingly to both sides, the Obama administration has filed a brief defending the city council being sued and arguing that the government should not determine the content of someone’s prayer. [Read more...]

Other consequences of the gay marriage rulings

The Supreme Court rulings supporting gay marriage have other consequences.  According to Thomas Peters, “these decisions today constitute a huge threat to our democratic process.” [Read more...]

Supreme Court rules in favor of gay marriage

The Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage for the purposes of the federal government as being between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional.  The court also let stand, on what seem to be narrow grounds, a lower court ruling that threw out as unconstitutional the California referendum in which voters rejected gay marriage.

The court said that those who appealed the ruling lacked standing to file the suit, saying nothing about the general validity of state gay marriage bans.  But if opposition to gay marriage is unconstitutional both for the federal government and for state government, then it looks like same-sex marriage is going to be the law of the land. [Read more...]

Human genes can’t be patented

In a rare unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that human genes cannot be patented.  As we blogged about earlier, some companies have patented human genetic material, but the judges ruled that only inventions and not products of nature can be patented. [Read more...]

Supreme Court begins hearing on gay marriage

Today the Supreme Court will hear arguments on  California’s Proposition 8, in which the people of the state voted not to allow gay marriage.  On Wednesday, the court will hear a related case on whether the Defense of Marriage Act, in which Congress defined marriage as being between one man and one woman, is Constitutional.

I can envision the progressives on the court voting against the Defense of Marriage Act on equality grounds and the conservatives voting against it on federalism grounds, that Congress infringed on the right of states to make laws against marriage.  Then again, if the court throws out Proposition 8, that would prevent states from having the option to not have gay marriage.  That ruling would have consequences for every state in the union.

How do you think the court will rule on this?  (The decision won’t be announced for several months.) [Read more...]

Did the Supremes cripple Obamacare after all?

George Will reports on an article by Thomas A. Lambert, a University of Missouri law professor, who argues that the Supreme Court decision to approve Obamacare by defining its penalty for not having insurance as a “tax” may, in fact, ensure its failure:

[Chief Justice John] Roberts invoked what Lambert calls “a longstanding interpretive canon that calls for the court, if possible, to interpret statutes in a way that preserves their constitutionality.” Roberts did this by ruling that what Congress called a “penalty” for not obeying the mandate was really a tax on noncompliance.

This must, Lambert thinks, have momentous — and deleterious — implications for the functioning of the ACA. The problems arise from the interplay of two ACA provisions — “guaranteed issue” and “community rating.” [Read more...]


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