April 23, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Victims of child pornography whose images of sexual abuse have circulated on the Internet may demand compensation from every person caught downloading and possessing the illegal images, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. But justices set aside a $3.4-million restitution order handed down against a Texas man on behalf of one victim, ruling that a single defendant who possesses the pornography may not be forced to pay the full amount of damages due the victim. The 5-4 decision upholds part of the Violence Against Women Act and opens a new chapter in compensating victims who say the online circulation of their images has forced them to relive the sexual abuse they experienced as children.
April 22, 2014 |
"Supreme Court rules against affirmative action. " That is likely to be a common shorthand description of Tuesday's decision upholding the constitutionality of Michigan's ban on the use of racial preferences in admission to state universities. But it's misleading. The 6-2 decision leaves undisturbed previous rulings in which the justices said that state universities may take race into account in admissions policies without violating the U.S. Constitution. But the court now has made it clear that although such preferences are permissible, voters may opt to prohibit them.
April 22, 2014 |
A divided Oklahoma Supreme Court has granted two death row inmates a reprieve, while throwing the state's legal system into a tizzy on how to administer the death penalty. In a 5-4 ruling, the state Supreme Court ordered a stay in Tuesday's planned execution of Clayton Lockett, convicted in the 1999 shooting of a 19-year-old woman. The court also ordered a stay in the April 29 scheduled execution of Charles Warner, convicted in the 1997 death of an 11-month-old girl. In both cases, the court acted after lawyers for the inmates said they needed more information on the drugs the state planned to use to execute the prisoners.
April 18, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - This spring marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in New York Times vs. Sullivan, its most important pronouncement on the freedom of the press, but the ruling has not won the acceptance of Justice Antonin Scalia. “It was wrong,” he said Thursday evening at the National Press Club in a joint appearance with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “I think the Framers would have been appalled. … It was revising the Constitution.” The 9-0 ruling handed down in March 1964 threw out a libel suit brought by police commissioner L.B. Sullivan from Montgomery, Ala. He claimed he had been defamed by a paid ad in the New York Times, even though it did not mention him by name.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 3, 2014 |
Knocking down one of the last hurdles for Los Angeles' long-awaited Westside subway extension, a judge ruled late Wednesday that transit officials followed environmental laws when they chose a route that would require tunneling under Beverly Hills High School. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's five-year, $13.8-million environmental review process was thorough and fair, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge John A. Torribio wrote in a 15-page decision.
April 3, 2014 |
Thank you, Supreme Court. Before your decision Wednesday in McCutcheon vs. FEC, Americans were confined to giving a measly total of $48,600 in campaign contributions to federal candidates (enough for about nine candidates) and a total of $74,600 to political action committees. That means individuals were subject to aggregate contributions limits totaling a mere $123,200. Of course, individuals could, and still can, give unlimited sums to independent groups, such as so-called super PACs and other nonprofit corporations.