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June 25th at the Supreme Court

Today at the Supreme Court, there were a lot of gay pride flags on display in anticipation of the gay marriage decisions being announced. However, Alito announced the first decision- a Takings Clause case. The vote was 5-4 along ideological lines reasoning that land use permit denials are a form of taking and, under certain circumstances, may require compensation. It is a HUGE victory for property rights and property owners.

Alito also had the opinion in the Adoptive Girl case involving parental rights and the Indian Child Welfare Act. They ruled that assuming the biological father is a “parent” under that law, neither section of that Act terminate his parental rights. However, the specifics of the case necessitate that the adoptive parents have greater say as “parents” and the biological father loses in the practical sense. Scalia joined Kagan, Sotomayor and Ginsburg in dissent.

And SHELBY COUNTY, ALABAMA WINS!!!! Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional and the formula used for determining covered areas can NO LONGER BE USED!!! The vote was 5-4 along ideological lines with Roberts the author. They ruled that the coverage formula is based on decades old data and outdated practices. Roberts let it be known that other sections of that law stand as well as nationwide bans on voting discrimination laws and said Congress can, if they choose, rewrite the formulas to reflect today’s reality. Thomas, in his concurrence, said in light of the majority decision, he would also strike Section 5- the pre-clearance requirements. In dissent, Ginsburg said that Section 5 was successful in eradicating voter discrimination and disenfranchisement and that ironically, in the Court’s view, that success doomed it.

That is it for decisions today. The gay pride flags will have to unfurled another day. They have three decisions to go, two of which are the gay marriage cases. Just a heads up: expect the liberal talking head pundits to predict the African-American/Hispanic voting apocalypse soon as a result of the Shelby decision. They’ve been gearing up for it and now they have it in writing- not as if the handwriting was not on the wall. I will have a more detailed look at these cases later in the day, especially the Shelby County case. In short, of the three decisions announced today, the Obama Administration’s view lost all three cases with the VRA case being the most important.

Note: based on the distribution of opinions, it would appear that Roberts, Kennedy and Scalia will have the three remaining cases. The Sekhar case is convoluted, but if I had to guess: Kennedy will strike down DOMA under the Equal Protection Clause and Roberts will uphold Proposition 8 using a federalism/ state’s rights argument.

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