2.01.2013

Supreme Court Cases: Its Dramas and Its Significance


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usdailyreview.com
             One of the most significant current discussions in Supreme Court’s cases is the Fisher v. University of Texas (2012). This case is concerning the positive discrimination admission policy of the University of Texas. The case, brought by undergraduate Abigail Fisher in 2008, challenged University of Texas’s use of race in its admission policies as a violation of their Fourteenth Amendment rights (McNearney 1).


            Moncrieffe v. Holder (2012) is a case concerning an “aggravated Felony”. Angel Arias and Pamela Karla describe the question presented in this case as “whether the a conviction under a state law that includes but is not limited to possession of a small amount of marijuana … would be a felony under federal law”.

            Chaidez v. U.S. (2012), is a case in which Ms. Chaidez, a lawful permanent resident in U.S. who played a minor rule in a scheme involving insurance fraud. The question raised in this case is whether the protections against constitutionally deficient assistance of counsel applied in the Supreme Court’s Padilla v. Kentucky ruling apply retroactively. 

            Bailey v. U.S. (2012), this case, brought by Chunon L. Bailey concerning his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure, raises the question of whether police officer may detain individual incident to the execution of a search warrant when the individual has left the immediate vicinity of the premises before the warrant is executed. 

            Florida v. Jardines (2012) is an interesting as well as an important legal case. The constitutional question raises in this case is whether a police officer violated the Fourth Amendment by taking a dog that had been trained to smell drugs to the door of a house.

            Johnson v. Williams (2012, this case raises a question of whether removal of the trial court’s juror violated her Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial. 

            American Bar Association emphasizes that there are two important constitution questions in Tibbals v. Carter (2012). First is the question of whether capital prisoners possess a “right to competence” in federal habeas proceedings under Rees v. Veyton, 384 U.S. 312 (1966). And also the question of whether a federal district court can order an indefinite stay of a federal habeas proceeding under Rees. 

            Ryan v. Gonzales (2012) basically has a similar, if not the same, issue with Tibbals v. Carter (2012). The case raises a constitutional question of whether death row inmates who have been found incompetent are entitled to a stay of their federal habeas corpus proceedings. 

            Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons (2012), is a case on copyright infringement.. The legal question raises from this case is whether copyrighted works made and purchased abroad then be bought and sold within the U.S. without the copyright owner’s permission is constitutional.

            Vance v. Ball State University (2012), the case, involves a former substitute server at the Ball State University’s Dining Services. This case, later make its way to the Supreme Court, raises a question of whether the “supervisor” liability rule established by Faragher v. City of Boca Raton and Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth applies to harassment by those whom the employer vests with authority to direct and oversee their victim’s daily work.

            Dorsey v. U.S. and Hill v. U.S. (2012) was a case about the retroactivity of Fair Sentencing Act’s new enactment. In this case, the Supreme Court Justices confronted the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision in which held that the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) does not apply when the underlying criminal conduct occurred before enactment, even if the sentencing occurred after enactment. 

            In Dept. of Health and Human Services v. Florida (2012)¸ the issue was mainly about health care law. In this case, the Supreme Court Justices confronted the Eight Court of Appeal’s decision in which held that the individual mandate in health care in unconstitutional. However, the court also held that even if the individual mandate was unconstitutional, the rest of the health care law could still go into effect, a legal concept known as “severability.”

            Florence v. Bd. of Chosen Freeholders of Burlington (2012) was a case concerning the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. In this case, the Supreme Court confronted the Third Circuit Court of Appeal’s holding in which held that jail’s interest in safety and security outweighed the privacy interests of detainees – even those accused of minor crimes.

            Douglas v. Independent Living Center (2012), in this case Supreme Court Justices confronted the Ninth Circuit’s holding in which held that Independent Living had shown that it was likely to succeed on its Supremacy Clause claim, and that Assembly Bill 5 was likely to harm access to health care (Law Cornell 2).

            In U.S. v. Jones (2012), the Supreme Court confronted the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s holding in which overturned defendant’s conviction, holding that the police action was a search because it violated defendant’s reasonable expectation of privacy (Wikipedia).

            U.S. v. Alvarez (2012), in this case the Supreme Court Justices confronted the Ninth Circuit decision which held that the Stolen Valor Act was unconstitutional (Wikipedia).

            FCC v. Fox Television (2012), this case was mainly about the obscene language that used by Fox presenter on its program. The Supreme Court confronted the Second Circuit holding that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) cannot punish broadcast station for such incidents. 

            Messerschmidt v. Millender (2012) was a case in which involved a 73 old woman, Ms. Millender, whose home was searched by officers of the Los Angele County Sheriff’s. The Supreme Court was confronted the Ninth Circuit holding that the search warrant was invalid under the Fourth Amendment because it was over broaden (Borger 1).  

            Magner v. Gallagher (2012, in this case, the Supreme Court Justices was confronted the Eighth Circuit decision held that Gallagher stated a valid Fair Housing Act (FHA) claim under the disparate impact theory (Law Cornell University).

            In National Federation of Independent Business, et. al. v. Sebelius, The Supreme Court held that individual mandate was found constitutional, the Medicaid expansion penalties, however, on states was rule unconstitutional. The ACA basically penalizes any state, which does not participate in the expansion program by cutting their Medicaid funding. Chief Justice Robert found, through equally strained legal logic, that allowing Congress to do this would be to allow the federal government to twist state arms in a rather draconian manner (Davis 1).

            Chief Justice Roberts graduated from Harvard Law School. He went on to serve the Reagan Administration and the George H. W. Bush Administration in the Department of Justice and the Office of the White House Counsel, before spending 14 years in private law practice. 

            One began to see Chief Justice Roberts as an “activist” largely after he single-handedly upheld the Obama’s administration Healthcare Plan. However, as the Chief Justice himself said in, referring to Brown v. Board, the decision overturning school segregation, “I don’t think that constitutes judicial activism because obviously if the decision is wrong, it should be overruled. That is not activism. That’s applying the law correctly.”

            The Chief Justice’s opinion to uphold the Obama’s administration healthcare plan was considered historical. This was not only because the 5-4 opinion was, as described by Wikipedia, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in which the Court upheld Congress’s power to enact most provisions of the Patient Protections and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (HCERA), but also upheld a requirement for most Americans to have health insurance by 2014. 

            In the recent discussion of the Chief Justice’s opinion in this case, a controversial issue has been whether the Chief Justice has done the right thing. Some criticized his opinion in upholding Obama’s administration healthcare plan.. My own view is that the opinion made by Chief Justice’s was right. Though I concede that he tend to be more conservative in most of his opinion, I still maintain that some changes need to be done. Although some might object that the Obama’s healthcare plan was not the problem solver, I would reply that it certainly will not fix everything that is wrong with the system, but it will move the nation in the right direction.                                                                         
                  
            The Supreme Court held, in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2010),  as explained by Wikipedia, the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. 

                        In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, President Obama criticized the ruling largely because he believe that this ruling strikes at the democracy itself, as President Obama himself says “to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporation – to spend without limit in our election”. 

                        Marziani explains that “Super PACs” is the most prominent post-Citizens United development. Regular PACs have been around for a long time, but could only accept contributions up to $5.000 from human being. Super PACs, however, are mutant PACs that can raise, and then spend, unlimited amount of money from corporations, unions, and individuals. 

                        I would argue that the Supreme Court’s decision in overturning at least twenty years of its own precedent portrayed the Court’s ignorance of the truth. The Supreme Court should have realized that by annihilating the statutes of twenty-two states that previously prohibited elections spending from corporate general-treasury funds would hurt the democracy itself.
Works Cited

McNearney, Kathleen. “Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin: The Fifth Circuit Questions       Judicial Deference to Race-Conscious Admissions Policies in Higher Education.” Tulane Law Review, 2012. Web. 19 November 2012.

Arias, Angel, and Karlan, Pamela. “Argument Preview: The “War on Drugs” Meets Immigration Law (Again) in Moncrieffe v. Holder.”  UCDAVIS, 2012. Web. 19 November 2012.

Borger P., John. “Supreme Court Decides Messerschmidt v. Millender.” Faegrebd Law Firms, 2012. Web. 19 November 2012.

Marziani, Mimi. “Money in Politics After Citizens United: Troubling Trends & Possible Solutions” NYU School of Law, 2012. Web. 19 November 2012.

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