Opinion This article first appeared on the Hoover Institution site. On Monday February 26, the Supreme Court will hear the watershed case of Janus v. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), which raises the question of whether the First Amendment’s protection for freedom of speech proscribes “agency shop” arrangements in public sector unions. Under agency shop, non-union employees are required to pay dues to a union whose political views they oppose to cover the expense of negotiating collective bargaining agreements because, the argument goes, those agreements benefit union and non-union employees alike. Mark Janus worked as a child-support specialist for the Illinois Department of Health Care and Family services. He protested the $45 per month that AFSCME took out of his paycheck for just those purposes. His controverted claim is that he should not be forced to pay to support activities that he regards as inherently political, … [Read more...] about Is the Supreme Court About to Hobble Labor Unions?
U.S. Planned Parenthood Center for Medical Progress Supreme CourtUpdated | The Supreme Court just dealt a blow to the Center for Medical Progress, a California-based anti-abortion group that released a series of videos in which Planned Parenthood employees appear to discuss the sale of fetal tissue.David Daleiden, the pro-life auteur behind the videos, asked Justice Anthony Kennedy to block an order from a district judge to hand over the names of his organization’s supporters and donors. Kennedy denied the request, and Daleiden will have to provide the information to a California district court.The National Abortion Federation has sued the Center for Medical Progress on the grounds that Daleiden’s allies infiltrated its meetings by lying about their identities; in the videos, CMP members posed as tissue donation experts. Although the content of the videos shocked and offended many politicians, prompting a national outcry, the countercharge that the whole … [Read more...] about Supreme Court Weighing In on Planned Parenthood Videos
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments in a dispute between the Trump administration and Microsoft Corp. over a warrant for emails stored in the internet cloud outside the United States. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sought the emails as part of a drug trafficking investigation and obtained a warrant under a 1986 law. But Microsoft refused to turn over the emails because they are stored on a company server in Dublin, Ireland, and the warrant does not apply abroad. The federal appeals court in New York agreed with the company that the 1986 Stored Communications Act does not apply outside the United States. CBS News' legal analyst Rikki Klieman said on CBSN that the Microsoft was willing to hand over information stored in the U.S., but not emails stored overseas. "Yahoo, Google, others, store their communications all over the world. When you get to the level of Google, they often separate them as they store them, so an email may be in one country and … [Read more...] about Supreme Court hears arguments in Microsoft data privacy fight
Donald Trump's effort to end a scheme protecting young illegal immigrants from deportation suffered a setback after the US Supreme Court declined to hear the case. The White House had moved to end the living and working rights of 800,000 people brought to the United States as children, but that measure had been blocked by the lower courts. The administration attempted to bypass further debate in the lower courts by urging the Supreme Court to step in and end the deadlock over the status of the so-called "Dreamers". But the highest court declined, further throwing into confusion an already complex debate over reforms to the US immigration system. The Dreamers are currently protected from deportation by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme. The latest legal decision means the case will now have to work its way fully through the lower courts before any eventual Supreme Court ruling is possible. White House officials re-iterated their position that … [Read more...] about Supreme Court rejects Donald Trump over ‘Dreamers’ immigrants
A unanimous Virginia Supreme Court on Thursday issued a writ of actual innocence for Roy L. Watford III, convicted of the 1977 rape of a 12-year-old girl in Portsmouth.Watford, 58, then 18 years old, pleaded guilty to the rape on the advice of his grandfather after he was offered a plea deal that called for him to not serve any jail time.DNA testing in recent years strongly supported his innocence claim and his lawyer, Jon Sheldon of Fairfax, filed a writ of actual innocence in the Virginia Supreme Court on his behalf. The writ was opposed by the Virginia Attorney General's office.But in a 16-page ruling Thursday, Justice Cleo E. Powell wrote, "When all of this evidence is considered, we find that it is highly unlikely that any rational fact-finder would have found Watford guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Indeed, the Commonwealth cannot point to any evidence that establishes that Watford was at the vacant house on the day of the attack, much less that he was one of the perpetrators of … [Read more...] about Unanimous Va. Supreme Court exonerates Chesapeake man in rape of girl 31 years ago