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OPINION
March 31, 2012
After a three-day marathon of oral arguments, the nine members of the Supreme Court met in conference Friday to cast preliminary votes on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. "Obamacare. " Some commentators regard the outcome as a foregone conclusion based on the skeptical questions posed to the government's lawyers by the two Republican-appointed justices considered most likely to uphold the law - Chief JusticeJohn G. Roberts Jr.and JusticeAnthony M. Kennedy - and on the supposedly lackluster advocacy of Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. At the risk of being accused of wishful thinking, we believe reports of the death of the law may be greatly exaggerated.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NATIONAL
March 6, 2014 | By Michael Muskal
Massachusetts lawmakers Thursday approved legislation making it a crime to take secret photos of private body parts, a quick response to a state supreme court ruling that dismissed charges against a man who took “upskirt” photos of female trolley passengers.  Under the new law, anyone who attempts to take such photos without consent would face a maximum penalty of more than two years in jail and a $5,000 fine, the Associated Press reported....
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WORLD
April 25, 2013 | By Richard Fausset
MEXICO CITY -- Guatemala's highest court issued a ruling late Thursday that appears to have broken the complicated legal logjam in the case of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt, who is facing genocide charges in the slaughter of ethnic Maya during the country's civil war. The decision by the Constitutional Court appears to avert the possibility that prosecutors might have to start the trial from scratch, re-creating a case in which more than 100...
NATIONAL
March 6, 2014 | By Michael Muskal
The top court of Massachusetts, founded in the 17th century by Puritans, has ruled in the 21st century that state law does not protect a woman's privacy from a man with a cellphone who wants to snap an "upskirt" photo of her as she rides on a Boston trolley. Michael Robertson was arrested in August 2010 by transit police who set up a sting after getting reports that he was using his cellphone to take photos and video up female riders' skirts and dresses, a process known as “upskirting.” On Wednesday, the Supreme Judicial Court overruled a lower court and dismissed the charges.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 12, 2000
It's the Supreme Court, stupid! ROBERT LEES Los Angeles
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 4, 2013 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO -- The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that a 2008 law reducing the frequency of state parole hearings applies even to inmates who were already serving life sentences when voters approved the constitutional amendment. Marsy's Law, named after the slain sister of a California businessman who helped fund the ballot measure, extends the time between parole hearings. The law arguably spares crime victims and their families the trauma of confronting their attackers in parole hearings that took place as frequently as once a year.
NATIONAL
October 3, 2011 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
The Supreme Court justices opened their new term Monday by hearing a major healthcare case that tests whether judges can stop California and other cash-strapped states from cutting their payments to doctors and hospitals who serve low-income patients. The case heard Monday will probably affect how much money is available to pay for medical care for more than 50 million Americans, about half of them children, who depend on Medicaid. Since its creation in 1965, Medicaid has been a cooperative effort and jointly funded by the federal government and the states.
OPINION
December 9, 2012 | By Michael Klarman
On Nov. 6, for the first time in American history, a majority of voters in a state - indeed, in three states - approved same-sex marriage. On Friday, the Supreme Court decided to weigh in on the issue, granting review in cases challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and in a case contesting the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, which barred same-sex marriage. DOMA is likely to prove the easier issue for the court, assuming the justices rule on the merits of either or both cases (there are procedural issues that, depending on how the justices are inclined, could block them from considering the merits)
BUSINESS
March 28, 2012 | By David Lazarus
The U.S. Supreme Court is tackling the question of whether an expansion of Medicaid under the healthcare law violates states' rights. More specifically, does it violate Republican-led states' rights? That's the crux of the case, seeing as 26 Republican-led states are the main ones challenging the law . But when it comes to Medicaid, you have to wonder what their beef really is. The United States has about 50 million people without health insurance -- a shameful and costly statistic.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 4, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Supreme Court appeared inclined during a hearing Tuesday to favor a ruling that the public has the right to know the names of police officers involved in shootings. During oral arguments, most members of the state high court seemed skeptical of contentions by police agencies that officer names must be kept secret because disclosure could jeopardize officer safety and involve protected police personnel matters. Chief Justice Tani Cantil - Sakauye , whose husband is a retired police lieutenant, suggested that the California Public Records Act contains a presumption in favor of disclosure and does not provide for blanket exemptions.
NEWS
March 6, 2014 | By Paul Whitefield, This post has been updated. See below for details.
OK, listen up, all you dumb users of smartphones: In spite of what Massachusetts ' high court decided, no, it isn't OK to take “upskirt” pictures of unsuspecting women. On Wednesday, in the land of the Puritans and the home of “Banned in Boston,” all hell broke loose after the state Supreme Judicial Court overruled a lower court in a case involving one Michael Robertson, who seemed to think it was clever to use his cellphone in ways Apple or Samsung never intended. But Robertson got away with it because the state's Peeping Tom laws don't apply to such behavior, the court found.
BUSINESS
March 4, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - Outside accountants and lawyers who reveal fraud and wrongdoing at publicly traded companies are protected as whistle-blowers just as employees are, the Supreme Court ruled, expanding the reach of an anti-fraud law passed in the wake of the collapse of companies such as Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc. The 6-3 decision Tuesday will affect the mutual fund and financial services industries in particular because they rely heavily on outside contractors and advisors. Denying whistle-blower protection to all outside employees of such companies would leave a "huge hole" in the 2002 law, said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, noting that most mutual fund companies hire independent investment advisors and contractors rather than employees.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 4, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Supreme Court appeared inclined during a hearing Tuesday to favor a ruling that the public has the right to know the names of police officers involved in shootings. During oral arguments, most members of the state high court seemed skeptical of contentions by police agencies that officer names must be kept secret because disclosure could jeopardize officer safety and involve protected police personnel matters. Chief Justice Tani Cantil - Sakauye , whose husband is a retired police lieutenant, suggested that the California Public Records Act contains a presumption in favor of disclosure and does not provide for blanket exemptions.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 24, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO - Party hosts who ask guests to pay a cover charge to defray costs may be held legally responsible if an underage drinker becomes intoxicated and hurts himself or others, the California Supreme Court decided Monday. In a unanimous ruling, the high court said a cover charge amounts to a sale of alcohol, and state law creates liability for those who sell alcohol to obviously intoxicated minors. The decision, which overturned two lower court rulings, is most likely to affect student parties, where underage drinking and cover charges are common.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 16, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO - Jessica Manosa was 20 when she decided to throw a party at an unoccupied rental home her parents owned - without their permission. Word of the bash in Diamond Bar spread by text message, and many who showed up did not even know Manosa, according to court records. They drank liquor, danced and got drunk. One of the partygoers was asked to leave after he began dropping his pants while dancing. As he drove away, he ran over another inebriated guest, a 19-year-old student, killing him. Now the grieving family wants to hold Manosa - via her parents and their homeowners insurance - liable for his death.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 11, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO - Justice Joyce L. Kennard, a Republican appointee who forged a largely liberal path on the California Supreme Court, announced Tuesday she will retire April 5, giving Gov. Jerry Brown another chance to put his mark on the state's highest court. Kennard, 72, is the court's longest-serving justice, with a 25-year tenure. She has been regarded as a highly independent judge, often siding with the underdog. Though she owed her place on the top court to former Gov. George Deukmejian, a law-and-order conservative, she bucked expectations and sided so often with the late liberal Justice Stanley Mosk that the pair was dubbed "the odd couple.
BUSINESS
June 9, 2009 | David G. Savage and Jim Puzzanghera
The U.S. Supreme Court in a surprise move ordered a temporary delay Monday in the bankruptcy sale of Chrysler to Italian automaker Fiat, saying it needed more time to decide on complaints that the government-engineered deal was unfair to some bondholders. The one-line order from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg raised the possibility that the court could halt the sale and force the Chrysler deal to be renegotiated. Such a move could also complicate the much larger General Motors bankruptcy.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 2, 2011 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
Supreme Court justices are people too, and they make mistakes like any other mortals. That was the conclusion of a high-powered gathering of legal scholars who on Friday examined the high court's "Supreme Mistakes" — five decisions widely considered the worst in the court's history. The high court Hall of Shame has taken its toll on American society but also provided cautionary tales about trading principle for society's fickle approval, the experts said. "One of the worst aspects of American history is that at times of crisis we compromise our most basic constitutional rights, and only in hindsight do we recognize that it didn't make us safer," Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Irvine's law school, said of Korematsu vs. United States, the 1944 high court ruling upholding the evacuation order against Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
WORLD
January 30, 2014 | By Tom Hundley
MANILA - The Philippines, no stranger to the culture wars over contraception and abortion, will soon learn whether a controversial new law that requires the government to subsidize birth control for the poor is constitutional. The Filipino Supreme Court's decision is expected in March, but could come earlier. The new law makes no mention of abortion, which remains forbidden under almost all circumstances, but the Roman Catholic bishops of the Philippines have sought to frame it as such by arguing that any form of contraception other than church-approved “natural” methods or abstinence is tantamount to abortion.
NATIONAL
December 26, 2013 | By David Lauter
Utah officials plan to ask the U.S. Supreme Court as early as Thursday to stop same-sex marriages in their state, a last-ditch effort to halt the parade of weddings since a federal judge struck down the state's ban on such unions. The state's petition would go to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who has jurisdiction over cases coming from Utah and neighboring states. She could either decide the issue herself or refer it to her colleagues. If she denies the state's request, Utah officials could ask the full court to consider it. There's no deadline for the justices to make a decision, but they typically act quickly on such requests.
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