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NEWS
June 17, 2005
IN TWO CASES this week, the U.S. Supreme Court has reinforced the importance of eliminating racial bias in jury selection, particularly in death penalty cases. The court's rulings make clear that prosecutors must help ensure that defendants are judged impartially by their peers. The cases involve two black defendants, one in Texas and one in California, who challenged the exclusion of blacks from their juries. In the Texas case, a 6-3 majority of the court chided the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for failing to recognize that Dallas County prosecutors had systematically excluded qualified blacks from the jury pool in the 1986 trial of Thomas Miller-El, who was charged with killing a hotel employee during a robbery.
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NEWS
June 17, 2005
IN TWO CASES this week, the U.S. Supreme Court has reinforced the importance of eliminating racial bias in jury selection, particularly in death penalty cases. The court's rulings make clear that prosecutors must help ensure that defendants are judged impartially by their peers. The cases involve two black defendants, one in Texas and one in California, who challenged the exclusion of blacks from their juries. In the Texas case, a 6-3 majority of the court chided the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for failing to recognize that Dallas County prosecutors had systematically excluded qualified blacks from the jury pool in the 1986 trial of Thomas Miller-El, who was charged with killing a hotel employee during a robbery.
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BUSINESS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | February 28, 1996
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court gave corporations yesterday the right to turn a narrow settlement in state court into a shield against serious and costly federal stock fraud claims.By a vote of 7-2, the court ruled that federal courts must generally throw out securities fraud claims that have been forfeited by stockholders in settling a state court "class action" case.Even though the state court in this case had no power to decide the federal securities issues, the court majority said, state courts do have authority to approve settlements of state cases that include agreements to give up federal claims.
NEWS
By Ken Ellingwood and Ken Ellingwood,LOS ANGELES TIMES | June 10, 2005
JERUSALEM - Israel's Supreme Court upheld a compensation law yesterday, erasing the main legal challenge to the government's plan to withdraw settlers from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank. In a 10-1 decision, the court rejected claims that the law, enacted this year to provide a legal framework for the pullout, would violate the rights of about 8,000 settlers who are to be removed from their homes this summer. The justices ruled on a dozen petitions covering various aspects of the compensation law. In the majority opinion, the justices said their decision was limited to legal questions.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,Washington Bureau of The SunWashington Bureau of The Sun M. Dion Thompson of The Sun's metropolitan staff contributed to this article | June 28, 1991
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court, ending its term in a bitter fight over its duty to respect its own past precedents, gave prosecutors broad freedom yesterday to seek death sentences by making direct, emotional appeals to jurors for sympathy for murder victims and their families.Overruling two recent precedents, one in a Maryland case four years ago, the other in a South Carolina case just two years ago, the court's conservative majority said the Constitution would no longer bar prosecutors in capital cases from spelling out in vivid detail "the human cost of the crime" to justify the death penalty.
NEWS
May 3, 1991
"Equal Justice Under Law" is carved in the architrave over the entrance to the Supreme Court. A majority of the court's justices have now changed that, in effect, to "Equal Justice Under Law for Those Who Can Afford Court Fees."The court changed its rules to forbid "frivolous" indigents from availing themselves of the traditional right to petition for review of a lower court order without paying a docketing fee. "Frivolous filings . . . calculated to disrupt the orderly consideration of cases" will not be accepted by the clerk of the court, the court said in an unsigned order by its six conservative members.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | November 25, 1997
WASHINGTON -- Ruling that the military has a broad right to control the message it sends the troops about morals, a federal appeals court has upheld a law that bans the sale or rental of sexually explicit magazines, films and tapes at military bases.In a 2-1 decision that appears headed for the Supreme Court, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in New York City revived a year-old law that a federal judge had struck down early this year.By throwing out a constitutional challenge to the law, the appeals court ruled Friday that the armed forces could begin enforcing restrictions on sales or rentals of sexually explicit material.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | November 14, 1996
WASHINGTON -- Baltimore city ordinances restricting cigarette and liquor billboards that may be seen by minors survived a new constitutional challenge in a split decision by a federal appeals court yesterday.In upholding the city's limits on cigarette advertising, the xTC appeals court also gave the Clinton administration a victory in its effort to stop the marketing of tobacco to minors. The administration had supported the Baltimore anti-tobacco measure, seeing the case as a broad test of such restrictions.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,Washington Bureau of The Sun | January 8, 1991
WASHINGTON -- A Silver Spring man with a passion for taking his grievances to court, including 27 challenges of a speeding ticket, became yesterday only the second person in history to have part of his appeal rights taken away by the Supreme Court.In a ruling that split the court 6-3, the justices punished Michael Sindram by denying him at least part of his right, as a "pauper," to file appeals without paying the filing fee, and by threatening him with loss of other appeal rights.Mr. Sindram, who swears he has no job, no money and no car, was put under strict new restraints that the justices had imposed only once before, in 1989.
NEWS
July 2, 1995
The Supreme Court has weakened the First Amendment rights and Fourth Amendment rights of two groups of citizens. In one case, we believe the court was wrong, though the citizens who won are not popular and the right they exercise isn't, either. In the other case, we believe the court was correct, though the right the court weakened -- and the group exercising it -- is widely treasured.By a 5-4 vote, the court upheld the Florida bar's 30-day ban on personal-injury lawyers from making direct-mail solicitations of injury victims after an accident.
NEWS
By David G. Savage and David G. Savage,LOS ANGELES TIMES | May 18, 2004
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court narrowly held yesterday that states are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act, ruling that they can be sued for excluding disabled people from courthouses or voting booths or denying them crucial public services. The 5-4 decision - rejecting a claim of states' rights - turned on the Constitution's demand that states not deny people "the equal protection of the laws." It came on the 50th anniversary of the court's decision in Brown vs. Board of Education, which used the same constitutional provision to overturn state-sanctioned racial segregation.
NEWS
By Jules Witcover | July 20, 2001
WASHINGTON - When former Mayor Marion Barry regained his old job in spite of having served time for a drug bust, his memorably conciliatory observation to unhappy D.C. residents was: "Get over it!" That, essentially, continues to be the attitude of the Bush White House and supporters toward the recurring re-examinations of the Florida voting fiasco and the Supreme Court anointing that put George W. Bush in the Oval Office. As Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer said, "This election was decided by the voters of Florida a long time ago, and the nation, the president and all but the most partisan Americans have moved on."
NEWS
March 24, 2001
MORE THAN distasteful, a South Carolina hospital's policy of drug testing pregnant women and then -- without the women's consent -- sending results to police was unconstitutional. So said the Supreme Court this week, mounting an important victory for privacy protections. The Medical University of South Carolina had contended that the ultimate goal of its policy was to reduce drug use among pregnant women amid a rising number of "crack-babies." Maybe a good intention, but so what. By not informing the women that the test results would be forwarded to police, the hospital trampled all over the Fourth Amendment.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | December 9, 2000
WASHINGTON - Florida's Supreme Court majority - in control by the thinnest margin - staked out a broad claim of state judicial power yesterday and daringly ran the risk that the U.S. Supreme Court would take it away. It never addressed the nation's highest court by name. And, keeping up its mood of civility within its own ranks, the majority chose not to engage in a debate with its chief justice, who in dissent warned darkly of a "constitutional crisis." But the four-justice majority nonetheless sent a clear signal that it was standing firmly on a constitutional principle that runs back to the nation's founding: that the states are sovereign in dealing with their own residents and their own laws, and they will resist affronts to that sovereignty.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | June 26, 1999
WASHINGTON -- A conservative Supreme Court majority that seems increasingly eager to question long-standing assumptions about what the Constitution means is flexing its power regularly and without apology.The notion that the court is becoming more of an active, not a restrained, user of its sometimes awesome constitutional authority seems to be widely held in the wake of the court term just ended.The most visible single result of that term: a sharp reduction of the federal government's power, offset by a significant enhancement of the power and independence of the 50 states' governments.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | November 25, 1997
WASHINGTON -- Ruling that the military has a broad right to control the message it sends the troops about morals, a federal appeals court has upheld a law that bans the sale or rental of sexually explicit magazines, films and tapes at military bases.In a 2-1 decision that appears headed for the Supreme Court, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in New York City revived a year-old law that a federal judge had struck down early this year.By throwing out a constitutional challenge to the law, the appeals court ruled Friday that the armed forces could begin enforcing restrictions on sales or rentals of sexually explicit material.
NEWS
By Jules Witcover | July 20, 2001
WASHINGTON - When former Mayor Marion Barry regained his old job in spite of having served time for a drug bust, his memorably conciliatory observation to unhappy D.C. residents was: "Get over it!" That, essentially, continues to be the attitude of the Bush White House and supporters toward the recurring re-examinations of the Florida voting fiasco and the Supreme Court anointing that put George W. Bush in the Oval Office. As Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer said, "This election was decided by the voters of Florida a long time ago, and the nation, the president and all but the most partisan Americans have moved on."
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | December 9, 2000
WASHINGTON - Florida's Supreme Court majority - in control by the thinnest margin - staked out a broad claim of state judicial power yesterday and daringly ran the risk that the U.S. Supreme Court would take it away. It never addressed the nation's highest court by name. And, keeping up its mood of civility within its own ranks, the majority chose not to engage in a debate with its chief justice, who in dissent warned darkly of a "constitutional crisis." But the four-justice majority nonetheless sent a clear signal that it was standing firmly on a constitutional principle that runs back to the nation's founding: that the states are sovereign in dealing with their own residents and their own laws, and they will resist affronts to that sovereignty.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | November 14, 1996
WASHINGTON -- Baltimore city ordinances restricting cigarette and liquor billboards that may be seen by minors survived a new constitutional challenge in a split decision by a federal appeals court yesterday.In upholding the city's limits on cigarette advertising, the xTC appeals court also gave the Clinton administration a victory in its effort to stop the marketing of tobacco to minors. The administration had supported the Baltimore anti-tobacco measure, seeing the case as a broad test of such restrictions.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | June 29, 1996
WASHINGTON -- A splintered Supreme Court yesterday upheld Congress' power to take strong action to keep children from seeing "indecent" programs on cable television.At the same time, the court refused to write new constitutional rules to govern the Information Revolution, with several justices conceding that they were still trying to understand the legal implications of the fast-changing electronic media.By a vote of 7-2, the court found no First Amendment problem with a section of an anti-indecency law enacted four years ago. That section uses cable-TV operators to carry out Congress' desire to block sexually explicit programs.
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