Washington (CNN) - A predictably divided Supreme Court appeared ready to strike down – at least in part – the key enforcement provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, with many conservative justices on Wednesday suggesting it was a constitutionally unnecessary vestige of the civil rights era.
Known as Section 5, it gives the federal government open-ended oversight of states and localities mostly in the South with a history of voter discrimination.
Washington (CNN) – The congressional ban on direct campaign contributions to federal candidates by corporations will stay in place after the Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from a campaign supporter of Hillary Clinton.
The justices last week accepted for a review a separate appeal over individual donation limits. That case will be argued in the fall, with an expected ruling some months later.
The case denied Monday is Danielczyk v. United States (12-579).
Washington (CNN) – Two members of the Supreme Court took the unusual step of speaking out over racially insensitive remarks by a federal prosecutor in a drug case, when rejecting review of the defendant's appeal.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a strongly worded statement Monday, saying the prosecutor's remarks about an African-American suspect were "an affront to the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection of the laws."
Washington (CNN) - In a preview of a major constitutional showdown at the Supreme Court over same-sex marriage, the Obama administration said on Friday that a federal law denying financial benefits to legally wed gay and lesbian couples is unconstitutional.
The Justice Department filed the first of a series of briefs in a pair of cases dealing with the multi-layered issue, outlining the executive branch's positionsFULL STORY
Columbiana, Alabama (CNN) – Shelby County is booming. The Birmingham suburb is lined with strip malls, subdivisions, and small factories, in what was once sleepy farmland. The population has grown fivefold since 1970 to about 200,000. Change in this bedroom community is afoot, at least on the surface.
But the federal government thinks an underlying threat of discrimination remains throughout Alabama and other parts of the country in perhaps the most hard-fought franchise in the Constitution: The right to vote.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) – The Supreme Court will wade once again into the politically tricky issue of campaign finance laws, agreeing to hear a challenge to individual donation limits in federal election campaigns.
At issue is whether strict limits on direct campaign contributions by individuals– in the Federal Election Campaign Act– violate the First Amendment. Oral arguments will be held in the fall.
Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court has been asked to take emergency action over the validity of President Barack Obama's appointments to an independent agency, which were struck down by a lower court as an unconstitutional use of executive power.
The case sets up a potential high-stakes fight between the executive and legislative branches over so-called recess appointments, a common tactic used by Democratic and Republican administrations to temporarily put people in jobs without Senate confirmation.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - President Obama's recess appointments to a federal agency– made without Senate confirmation– have been struck down by a federal appeals court as an unconstitutional use of executive power.
The three-judge panel unanimously concluded Friday three people named to the National Labor Relations Board lacked authority, because the presidential appointments were made while the Senate was technically in a "pro forma" session during the winter holiday break.
Washington (CNN) - Justice Sonia Sotomayor has managed a whirlwind few days, and it promises to get even busier. In fact, a traditional inaugural ceremony was moved up to accommodate her busy schedule.
She has a new book released last week, a memoir called "My Beloved World" (Knopf/Random House). To promote it, the 58-year-old justice had arranged several media interviews and book signings. Then came the invitation last month from Vice President Biden to have Sotomayor do his swearing in, for separate ceremonies Sunday and Monday.
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Washington (CNN) – It was just a few words and a joke at that. But Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas broke his seven-year long silence on Monday when he spoke at oral arguments.
He made fun of lawyers from Yale, his law school alma mater.FULL STORY