Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 34 n° 316

Posts Tagged ‘supreme court’

The Senate voted to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 11 aprile 2022

Washington. As a Black boy growing up in Orangeburg, South Carolina, I never saw enough government leaders who looked like me. So today, I’m thinking of everyone who didn’t get to see this incredible day, more than 200 years in the making, come: My grandfather, who was born at a time when Black people were often denied the right to vote. Constance Baker Motley, our country’s first African American woman to serve as a federal judge, who broke barrier after barrier. So many ancestors who fought for equal justice under the law.

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The Supreme Court stamps on freedom of information

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 27 giugno 2019

By Jon Allsop. In 2011, the Argus Leader, a newspaper in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was at work on a project about access to food and potential fraud in the food stamp program, which retailers administer in cooperation with the government. Jonathan Ellis, a reporter at the paper, requested data from the Department of Agriculture, which runs the program at the federal level, under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. The department said no; the data Ellis requested, it argued, pertained to businesses, and was confidential. In response, the Argus Leader sued; it won, and the government decided not to appeal the verdict. But Ellis still did not get the data. The Food Marketing Institute, an industry group representing retailers, picked up the case and took it to an appeals court; when that court, too, upheld the Argus Leader’s request, the group—backed by the US Chamber of Commerce—escalated its secrecy fight all the way to the Supreme Court.The court, which heard arguments in the case in April, issued a ruling yesterday against the Argus Leader. The Freedom of Information Act has always allowed private government contractors to claim an exemption on confidentiality grounds, but—under a precedent set in 1974—contractors have had to show that disclosing the requested information would cause them competitive harm. Yesterday, in a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court ruled to make that test substantially less strict: going forward, contractors will be able to keep any “commercial and financial information” they give to the government secret at their discretion, as long as the government gave them an “assurance” that it will remain private.” As Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissent, the ruling establishes certain information as “confidential” not because it is legitimately sensitive, but because those who possess it want to keep it that way. The ruling, Breyer fears, “will deprive the public of information for reasons no better than convenience, skittishness, or bureaucratic inertia.”The Argus Leader—and press-freedom advocates—expressed similar concerns. Cory Myers, the paper’s editorial director, called the verdict “a massive blow to the public’s right to know how its tax dollars are being spent, and who is benefiting.” Ellis, who filed the initial FOIA (and co-wrote yesterday’s Argus Leader piece on the ruling), tweeted that while the Department of Agriculture’s denial of his request was never legitimate, “today, six members of the US Supreme Court used it as a vehicle to wipe out more than 40 years of established FOIA precedent.” Later, Ellis said he was “truly sorry to my colleagues who work to hold government accountable that my FOIA request was used to undermine our work. If I could go back in a time machine and change this I would.”
Clearly, none of this is Ellis’s fault. But experts fear that the court’s ruling will make journalists’ lives more difficult. “Businesses in regulated industries will be the main beneficiaries of this decision, while the press and public will have a harder time using the FOIA to investigate such businesses and their interactions with government agencies,” Jonathan Peters, a media law professor at the University of Georgia and CJR’s press freedom correspondent, tells me in an email. Michael Morisy, founder of MuckRock, a collaborative news site focused on FOIA and transparency, adds that the ruling will be particularly damaging in a climate of increasing privatization of government services. “Already, at the state level, we see contractors push the meaning of confidential trade data to include everything from how much they charge agencies (and therefore, the public) to the header columns of spreadsheets that summarize public data,” he tells me in an email.While this is a federal ruling on a federal law, local reporters will not be spared the impact. State governments have their own freedom of information laws which will not directly be affected by the Supreme Court’s decision. But reporters such as those at the Argus Leader commonly look at the local footprint of federal programs. And, as Avi Asher-Schapiro, of the Committee to Protect Journalists, reported ahead of the Argus Leader hearing in April, some states lack significant case law around access to information, and thus often use comparable federal laws as guidance.Ultimately, the Supreme Court’s decision only adds to the mounting impediments American journalists face at work. Trump’s anti-press attacks grab the headlines, but subtler trends like the weakening of transparency laws may have a deeper impact. “This decision is of a piece with government efforts nationwide to shield information and events from public view,” Peters says. “It’s offensive to the basic idea that our democratic system is based on the will of the people… The Argus Leader case does even more damage to that idea.” (font: CJR Editors)

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US Supreme Court rules in favor of Colorado cake artist

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 9 giugno 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 Monday in favor of Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case involved Jack Phillips, who in 2012 declined to bake a cake for a gay couple’s same-sex wedding, because of his religious objections to same-sex marriage.The Civil Rights Commission ruled that he had discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation, although Phillips stressed repeatedly that he would happily create other products – such as birthday cakes or graduation cakes – for gay clients, but reiterated his opposition to gay marriage. A devout Christian, he also refuses to bake cakes for bachelor parties or Halloween.
“Jack serves all customers; he simply declines to express messages or celebrate events that violate his deeply held beliefs,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner, who argued before the high court on behalf of Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop.
“Government hostility toward people of faith has no place in our society, yet the state of Colorado was openly antagonistic toward Jack’s religious beliefs about marriage,” Waggoner added. “The court was right to condemn that. Tolerance and respect for good-faith differences of opinion are essential in a society like ours. This decision makes clear that the government must respect Jack’s beliefs about marriage.” On behalf of the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote “the record here demonstrates that the Commission’s consideration of Phillips’ case was neither tolerant nor respectful of his religious beliefs.” The Commission “showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection.” As such, the Commission’s actions against Mr. Phillips were a violation of his constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.
“Today’s decision confirms that people of faith should not suffer discrimination on account of their deeply held religious beliefs, but instead should be respected by government officials,” said leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.Not a definitive ruling on free speech and conscience issues:Some commentators have called the ruling “narrow” because much of the Court’s majority decision rested on the behavior of the Commission, rather than deciding whether Jack Phillip’s rights to freedom of speech and conscience had been violated. The Court came to this decision for two main reasons. First, several statements made by Commission members during public hearings “endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, implying that religious beliefs and persons are less than fully welcome in Colorado’s business community.”Because of this, the Supreme Court found that the Commission showed clear hostility toward Phillip’s religious beliefs. Second, the Court noted inconsistent treatment by the Commission because there had been three other cases where bakeries declined to make cakes with anti-gay marriage messages, and the Commission did not punish those bakers.Princeton law professor Robert P. George warned that the reasoning behind the majority’s ruling could be used to oppose religious freedom in the future. “As it stands, there is a danger that state officials will interpret the decision as licensing discrimination against Christians and other religious people so long as those officials don’t reveal their anti-Christian or anti-religious animus in public statements,” he cautioned.

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Pharmaceutical Companies Brace for Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 29 marzo 2012

London, UK (GlobalData) This week the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare. The question at the heart of the dispute is whether or not the federal government, exercising its power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, can compel individuals to purchase health insurance.The case in question was brought by 26 states in conjunction with the National Federation of Independent Business. Cases regarding the constitutionality of Obamacare have divided lower courts, with different rulings going both ways. Due to the fractious nature of the lawsuits and the importance of the issue, the Supreme Court quickly took on these cases and has devoted an unusually large amount of time to oral arguments over three days this week. The outcome of the case is vitally important to the pharmaceutical industry, which may lose out on $115 billion in additional revenue over the next decade if the law is overturned.The Court’s decision, which is expected to be released in June, will have a major impact on pharmaceutical manufacturers. Drug companies worked with the Obama administration to craft the legislation, and, despite some concerns, the law offers a potentially huge windfall for the industry. Due to pricing pressure and energetic generic competition, pharmaceutical companies have seen very little expansion in the world’s largest drug market. Instead, these companies have been forced to look to emerging markets, especially China and other Asian nations, but also Eastern Europe, for growth. According to the US Census Bureau, there are currently more than 50 million Americans who have no health insurance. If Obamacare is deemed constitutional and the individual mandate is implemented in 2014, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that about 30 million of these people will gain health insurance. While the relative merits of implementing Obamacare will be hotly debated, 30 million newly insured potential customers will be a certain boon the pharmaceutical industry.The Supreme Court will be hearing arguments for distinct legal issues on each day of oral arguments. The first day, the question on the table will be whether or not the Court can hear the case at all. This issue stems from a provision of the Tax Anti-Injunction Act, a law dating to 1867 that makes it illegal for a court to rule on a tax before it is assessed. Neither the Obama administration nor the parties of the lawsuit would argue in favor of this, so the Court appointed a third-party to make the argument. The Court is widely expected to dismiss this question and rule on the rest of the act, in part because doing so would put states in the unsavory position of spending money to prepare for a law that may not be fully enacted. On the second day of oral arguments, the sides will argue the constitutionality of the individual mandate. On the third day, the Court will hear arguments about the severability of the law; in other words, if the individual mandate is deemed unconstitutional, to what extent does this affect the rest of the law? The Obama administration will argue that most of the rest of the law should stand regardless of the mandate, but opponents will argue that the whole law should fall.The key argument against the individual mandate is that it is unconstitutional for the government to compel an individual to purchase a good or service. A commonly cited example is that the individual mandate is akin to forcing people to eat broccoli because it is healthy or buy a new car to help the auto industry. The argument is that the Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to regulate economic activity. However, a decision not to purchase health insurance is ‘economic inactivity’ and therefore can’t be regulated under this Clause. Proponents of the law argue that unlike most goods and services, which people can choose to purchase or not, everyone is part of the healthcare system. If a person without health insurance goes to the emergency room, someone still has to pay for that visit. The effect of America’s huge uninsured population engaging services such as ERs is increasing insurance premiums for those who do have coverage and costs for the government. The administration will argue that choosing to go without insurance has a significant effect on interstate commerce and is therefore justifiably regulated under the Commerce Clause.It is likely that the momentum against Obamacare is driven mostly by politics rather than the underlying legal issues. When the strong emotions on both sides of the argument are stripped away, it appears that legal precedent supports the Obama administration’s position that the mandate is constitutional. Moreover, considering recent controversial decisions, the Supreme Court may not want to overturn the President’s signature law in a politically charged environment. Of course, no one can know what is on the Justices’ minds until the decisions are handed down. From the perspective of the pharmaceutical industry, however, the health of future profits depends on Mr. Obama’s success.
The US pharmaceutical market was worth $329 billion in 2010 and GlobalData anticipates that the market will grow to $505 billion by 2020, representing a CAGR of 4.4%. We predict that the overall effect of the legislation will be to add $115 billion dollars in revenue over 10 years. However, overturning the individual mandate would lead to more than just a loss of new customers. As mentioned, the pharmaceutical industry worked with the Obama administration to craft portions of the healthcare law. Key cost-saving initiatives in the law include programs to increase the use of generics and discounts for expensive branded drugs, which the industry agreed to in exchange for the promise of new patients. If the mandate is ruled unconstitutional, it is likely that these provisions will stay in place, but without the infusion of new customers to offset lost revenue. The closing of the so-called ‘donut hole’ in Medicare prescription drug coverage, another provision of the law that is helpful to the industry, could possibly be overturned, further harming companies’ profits. Regardless of individuals’ personal political preferences, those in the pharmaceutical industry should be hopeful that the Supreme Court does not overturn Obamacare.

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Elena Kagan to serve on the Supreme Court

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 16 Maggio 2010

Washington d.c. This week, when the President first told me he’d chosen Elena Kagan to serve on the Supreme Court, I couldn’t help but smile. I had a chance to interview many great candidates, but Elena stood out. I met her nearly 20 years ago, when she took a break from teaching to join my staff in the Senate. She helped us confirm Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and even then, it wasn’t hard to picture a day when we’d be helping Elena prepare for confirmation hearings of her own.Since that time, I’ve followed her career, and today, I believe Elena Kagan is an inspired choice for the Supreme Court. ì Throughout her career, she’s been a trailblazer, breaking glass ceilings in both academia and government. She’s been a consensus-builder, earning praise for her work with Republicans in the Clinton White House and her support for the free exchange of ideas as the dean of Harvard Law. She’s flat-out brilliant, easily one of the best legal minds I’ve ever met. But most importantly, she’s also someone who understands that the application of the law holds real consequences for Americans in all walks of life. Now her nomination goes to the Senate. I’ve been through this process more than once, and I’ve learned that the success of any nomination is strongly influenced by the public response in the first few days.Writing a letter to the editor of your local paper is one of the best ways you can help us show that the American people stand with Elena Kagan. As a young attorney, Elena clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall. She often calls him her hero. Now, she’s following in his footsteps as the Solicitor General of the United States, the chief legal advocate for our government. If Justice Marshall were with us today, I’m sure he’d be proud of the clerk he used to call “Shorty.” To see why, look no further than her role in the Citizens United case. It was a legal battle that most experts agreed would be impossible for the government to win. But as Solicitor General, Elena chose this as her first case. She recognized that rolling back bipartisan election law would allow special interests to dominate campaigns across the country and drown out the voice of the American people. Though she knew she’d probably lose, she chose to make it her fight all the same. That’s character. That kind of decision defines Elena’s career. With her resume, she’s had no shortage of lucrative opportunities. But her parents were both public servants — her mother a school teacher and her father a housing lawyer who fought for tenants’ rights — and she has always followed their example. Like her dad, she’s used her legal knowledge to serve others, and like her mom, she’s been an educator, working to pass her knowledge on to another generation. Now, it’s time to bring that heartfelt, principled commitment to the Supreme Court. In these crucial early days, help us show that public support for this extraordinary nominee is overwhelming.(Vice President Joe Biden)

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The USA Supreme Court: Judge Sonia Sotomayor

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 27 Maggio 2009

soniaI am proud to announce my nominee for the next Justice of the United States Supreme Court: Judge Sonia Sotomayor. This decision affects us all — and so it must involve us all. I’ve recorded a special message to personally introduce Judge Sotomayor and explain why I’m so confident she will make an excellent Justice.  Judge Sotomayor has lived the America Dream. Born and raised in a South Bronx housing project, she distinguished herself in academia and then as a hard-charging New York District Attorney. Judge Sotomayor has gone on to earn bipartisan acclaim as one of America’s finest legal minds. As a Supreme Court Justice, she would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any Justice in 100 years. Judge Sotomayor would show fidelity to our Constitution and draw on a common-sense understanding of how the law affects our day-to-day lives.A nomination for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land is one of the most important decisions a President can make. And the discussions that follow will be among the most important we have as a nation. (Barrack Obama) (photo Sonia)

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