Politics How Amy Coney Barrett has changed the Supreme Court in ways Kavanaugh hasn't
Supreme Court to debate whether nonprofits must reveal donors despite threat of violence
Some fear the Supreme Court case could apply a new standard with sweeping implications for the disclosure of campaign donors and dark money groups.At issue is a California mandate that nonprofits disclose their top contributors to state regulators. Two conservative groups, including one tied to Republican megadonor Charles Koch, say the state's requirement violates the Constitution by subjecting the donors to threats of violence from political opponents.
Supreme Court Justicehas aligned most often with Clarence Thomas and in her first months on the bench. Yet as the court enters the final weeks of its annual session, Barrett is also separating herself from brethren on the right with a lower key, attention-deflecting manner.
As she has adopted the legal method of her mentor, the late, Barrett has avoided the flamethrower rhetoric that defined him and some followers on the bench today.
Lawmakers spar in Supreme Court case on nonprofit donor disclosure
The Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a pair of cases that members of Congress say could influence political discourse in the United States, warning that the justices either could stymie debates on controversial policies or bolster the influence of big money anonymous donors. The cases center on California’s requirement that nonprofits disclose a list […] The post Lawmakers spar in Supreme Court case on nonprofit donor disclosure appeared first on Roll Call.
Of the cases heard in oral arguments and resolved already this term, she has voted 100% of the time with Thomas and Gorsuch. But many more cases are to be decided and she has not so perfectly aligned with those two justices on emergency requests decided without full briefing or arguments. In one death penalty case, Barrett broke from her colleagues on the right, as she signed an opinion by liberal Justice Elena Kagan that prevented Alabama from executing a condemned man without his pastor present.
For decades, the high court was ideologically split 5-4, conservative-liberal, and the most pronounced conflicts came down to differences between those two camps.
Supreme Court agrees to decide case of Guantanamo detainee seeking details on CIA 'black sites'
A lower court ruled the government can segregate secret information about the former CIA "black sites" from other material that should be released.The court will likely hear arguments this fall.
Now that Barrett has succeeded the late liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the court is divided 6-3, such tensions certainly remain, but an intriguing subplot is emerging as the six justices on the right, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, navigate among themselves.
So far, Barrett's votes with Thomas and Gorsuch have revealed loyalty to the textualist method of interpretation more than to a particular result. That was seen, for example, in a case last week that found the conservative trio in sync with the court's three remaining liberal justices to favor a Guatemalan immigrant fighting deportation.
Barrett's pattern so far contrasts with that of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who in the conservative bloc has sided mainly with Roberts on the center-right. Differences between the newest appointees of former President Donald Trump could play out in major cases to be decided in the next two months, over the Affordable Care Act, voting rights, and religious liberties when tested against LGBTQ interests, as well as next session in a Second Amendment gun rights case already on the calendar.
Second Amendment: The Supreme Court's conservatives may have the votes to expand gun rights
As Americans have been shaken by recent mass shootings and national leaders have renewed calls for firearms reform, the Supreme Court on Monday announced it would take up a New York case that could give gun owners more freedom. © TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images A display of guns for sale is seen at Coliseum Gun Traders Ltd. in Uniondale, New York on September 25, 2020. - The court said it would decide when states may prevent people from carrying a concealed weapon outside the home for self-defense. This would be the first major Second Amendment ruling in more than a decade.
The justices are also considering an abortion rights case for the 2021-22 term that would further illuminate Barrett's brand of conservatism.
During her confirmation hearings last October, then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, emphasized Barrett's Catholicism and position on reproductive rights: "This is the first time in American history that we've nominated a woman who's unashamedly pro-life and embraces her faith without apology." She told senators she would rule based on facts and law, not her personal preferences.
The Senate's confirmation of Barrett, on a 52-48 vote, has significantly enhanced the gravitational pull of the right wing.
The 49-year-old former US appellate judge and University of Notre Dame law professor cast the deciding vote in disputes over challenges to Covid-19 restrictions that affect churches and synagogues -- rejecting the restrictions -- and her presence likely led the court to announce last week that it would hear anafter declining for more than a decade to resolve a major gun-regulation challenge.
Wary Supreme Court weighs student's Snapchat profanity case
WASHINGTON (AP) — A wary Supreme Court on Wednesday weighed whether public schools can discipline students for things they say off campus, worrying about overly restricting speech on the one hand and leaving educators powerless to deal with bullying on the other. The justices, hearing arguments in the case of a 14-year-old high school freshman's Snapchat F-bombs, struggled to fit the need to protect students' political and religious expression with the ability of schools to get at disruptive, even potentially dangerous, speech that occurs outside the school setting.
Kavanaugh has sidled since his 2018 appointment toward Roberts. The chief and Kavanaugh have shared among the highest voting alignments for the past three years, according to statistics compiled by SCOTUSblog.
Yet patterns of statistical togetherness go only so far.
In several important cases when Roberts joined the liberal side, Kavanaugh remained with the right wing, as was seen in disputes over the Trump administration attempt to add a citizenship question to the census form, its effort to roll back protections for young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children and a Louisiana abortion rights controversy.
Roberts provided a fifth vote with liberals to seal the outcome, rejecting Trump administration positions, while Kavanagh dissented.
Watching Barrett's next two months
Barrett's votes and opinions in upcoming weeks will add dimension to her record as she finishes out her first term.
During the weeks of oral arguments that wrapped up on Tuesday, Barrett's approach has been exacting. She asked probing questions of both sides.
Last week, when the justices heard a First Amendment dispute over when schools -- which are permitted to discipline students for disruptive speech on campus -- may punish troublesome speech off-campus, Barrett focused on beyond-school scenarios involving bullying and cheating.
Supreme Court sides with undocumented immigrant fighting deportation
The Supreme Court on Thursday sided with an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant seeking to challenge his removal from the US by immigration authorities. In a 6-3 decision authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the court said the Justice Department was violating federal law by not providing immigrants it seeks to deport with a single, comprehensive "notice to appear" with details on the charges and scheduled court appearance.
She also expressed concern about excessive discipline, including in the case at hand, involving awho, after failing to make the varsity squad, expressed her frustration in a profanity-filled Snapchat post.
"I think harassment, bullying and I think threats of violence against the school and cheating are all things that would be of concern," Barrett said but also observed that schools have been known to abuse their authority and "punish things that don't cause substantial disruption or political speech or religious speech that they shouldn't."
Taking over Ginsburg's chambers
Immediately after her confirmation in late October, Barrett took over the spacious chambers that had been occupied by Ginsburg. The new justice has divided her time between Washington and South Bend, Indiana, but recently sold the family home there in anticipation of a move to the Washington region, according to the.
She has declined interview requests and made no public appearances since her investiture.
The newest justice has, however, signed a major book contract with Sentinel, a conservative imprint of Penguin Random House that has published US Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah.reported Barrett had received a $2 million advance, but neither she nor court officials have commented on the matter and CNN has not confirmed the details of the deal.
Barrett has voted so far in only a dozen cases that have been argued. That's where she has consistently been with Thomas and Gorsuch.
Hillsong Church Calls Former Pastor Darnell Barrett’s Revealing Photo Sharing 'Unacceptable'
“Hillsong accepted his resignation and agreed that he could not continue as part of our team,” the megachurch said in a statementBarrett, 32, who was the creative director of Hillsong's Montclair, New Jersey, chapter, posted photos of himself shirtless after a workout wearing Nike Pro Compression Tights that were very revealing.
None of the decisions have been blockbusters. They dissented, along with Justice Samuel Alito, in an early controversy over the Railroad Retirement Act. The majority, which consisted of Roberts, Kavanaugh and the three remaining liberals, permitted judicial review of adverse actions by the US Railroad Retirement Board in disability-benefits disputes.
Last week, Thomas, Gorsuch and Barrett were in the majority with the three liberals for a textualist interpretation of a government requirement for notice of deportation hearings. Roberts, Kavanaugh and Alito dissented.
Barrett and Kavanaugh joined one opinion together, as the high court responded to an emergency request from the South Bay United Pentecostal Church. The church objected to California Covid-19 capacity limits on indoor worship services.
The conservative majority largelyin February. Thomas and Gorsuch fully sided with the church. But Barrett, joined by Kavanaugh, favored keeping in place a prohibition on singing and chanting during indoor services.
"As the case comes to us," Barrett wrote, "it remains unclear whether the singing ban applies across the board (and thus constitutes a neutral and generally applicable law) or else favors certain sectors (and thus triggers more searching review). Of course, if a chorister can sing in a Hollywood studio but not in her church, California's regulations cannot be viewed as neutral."
Barrett has penned two opinions for the court so far, one in a water dispute between Florida and Georgia () and the other testing an for documents tied to the "deliberative process" that leads up to the development of a policy.
The Sierra Club had sought documents related to consultations the Environmental Protection Agency undertook with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service as the EPA proposed a new regulation for structures used to cool industrial equipment. (Such intake structures can trap and kill aquatic wildlife.)
A lower court had ruled that draft biological opinions arising from the consultation fell outside the exemption and had to be made public.
In the decision written by Barrett reversing the lower court, the justices by a 7-2 vote broadly construed the exemption and allowed agencies more latitude to withhold documents determined to be "predecisional and deliberative."
"What matters," she wrote, "is not whether a document is last in line, but whether it communicates a policy on which the agency has settled."
Supreme Court skeptical of applying Trump-era criminal justice law retroactively for small drug offenses .
In its final argument of the term, the Supreme Court wrestled with squaring the goal of the First Step Act with the language Congress used in the law.The appeal stirred a debate at the nation's highest court about Congress' intent when the First Step Act permitted some offenders to seek shorter sentences but not others. The landmark law was intended to ease tough-on-crime policies that swelled prison populations and had a disproportionate impact on African-American communities.