5 Supreme Court Cases That Might Soon Affect Your Life

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Near the heart of downtown Washington DC sits an imposing building wrought of huge marble blocks and framed by Corinthian colonnade. It is one of many buildings so constructed in our nation’s fine, neo-classically appointed capital. The building in question is the Supreme Court of the United States of America, also known as SCOTUS, an acronym which, we have to admit, sounds vaguely profane. In the halls of the SCOTUS the fate the many hang in the hands of the few: the nine justices make rulings which have influence over the very laws that govern the entire country and its people. So let’s check in on them, shall we? Here are a few of the issues J. Roberts and Supremes have on their plates.

5 Rock the Vote… ing Rights Act

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The case of Shelby County, AL v. Eric Holder, AG, et al could have far-reaching ramifications for Americans of diverse social, economic, and ethnic. It is a case ruling whether various provisions of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act are indeed constitutional, or whether that watershed civil rights legislation was an overreach in certain constitutional capacities. The Voting Rights Act was intended to prohibit plural measures used to prevent people of minority (mostly black) backgrounds from casting ballots; it was essentially to stop Jim Crow-type activity. We have moved well past the Jim Crow era, but not all the way past the sentiments behind it, so let’s hang onto this one, ey SCOTUS? Keep the power in the hands of the voters, and not just those voters that weren’t cheated out of their ballot.

4 Another Proposition for You

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California’s 2008 Proposition 8 banned same-sex marriage in the state. It was sponsored largely by out-of-state influencers, and its supporters were influenced by material funded by out-of-state dollars. We propose that, in a state where more than half of the voters support marriage equality, out-of-state folks stay out of state legal affairs, and that the Supreme Court rights this wrong and strikes down the hated Prop by any means necessary.

3 What You Don’t Know

The case Rahim v. FBI, et al is yet another Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit in which private citizens are trying to force the release of documents the government wants kept sealed and secret. In this case, the plaintiffs are trying to get information about ostensibly illegal surveillance and tracking of their activities while involved in protest activity in 2008. The frustrating thing about FOIA cases, and the reason it is crucial they keep being brought, is that the information sought should in most cases be readily proffered, not fought for via a years-long legal battle!

2 How is that a Defense, Exactly?

The moronically named Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, was passed in 1996 with the tacit goal of keeping gay people from getting married. Its explicit stipulations related to limiting interstate recognition of marriage to opposite-sex couples, but of course it was not designed to let men and women marry, it was designed to keep men and men and women and women from marrying. How limiting marriage along outdated “traditional” and religious standards, by which we are explicitly not supposed to govern, strengthens/defends marriage, we remain unclear. Hopefully the folks of the SCOTUS will be unclear as well, and will strike DOMA down.

1 One of Many

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The case of Ba Odah v. Obama is but one of many similar suits pending in the Supreme Court that pertains to prisoner detention at Guantanamo Bay. Tariq Ba Odah is a 34 year old Yemeni man who has been held at our Cuban prison facility for over a decade now. Mr. Ba Odah’s lawyers filed a habeas corpus petition in 2006 with a district court, and it is this seven-year-old petition that may finally be considered by the court. To make that a bit clearer, what this individual is asking for is nothing more than a trial: not to release, not to compensation, but simply to have his day in court. Regardless of his past activities and future intentions, he, like all people, deserves that.

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