Today the Supreme Court begins the last week of its term, and it may have saved some of its most controversial decisions for last. The court will announce decisions on four remaining cases, two of which involve First Amendment disputes.
The Supreme Court unanimously agreed yesterday to reject a lawsuit brought on by six states, New York City, and several land trusts, seeking to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from major power plants. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that under the Clean Air Act, the case must be addressed by the Environmental Protection Agency, rather than by the courts. The Supreme Court maintains their 2007 ruling that only the EPA can dictate regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, but meanwhile Congress is trying to strip the EPA of its very ability to regulate these emissions.
For the past 11 years, 1.5 million women have been taking on the world’s largest corporation, Wal-Mart, for what they claim is a corporate practice of gender discrimination. The case would be the largest employment discrimination suit in U.S. history, damages could be in the billions, and the whole process has already dragged on over a decade. But whether that suit will ever be heard in court still has to be decided. Today the United States Supreme Court will hear argument in Wal-Mart vs. Dukes. Their task is to decide whether such a large and diverse group of people — working for shops across the country — can even be considered a “class” and therefore capable of raising a claim.
A year ago, the Supreme Court decided on one of the most controversial campaign finance cases in recent history: Citizens United. The Court ruled 5-4 in favor of lifting a ban on corporate spending on political campaigns. Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas were two of the judges who concurred with the opinion of the court. Now, a liberal group, Common Cause, has filed a petition arguing that Scalia and Thomas should be taken off campaign finance cases.
You've got something you want taken offline: a drunken Facebook photo, an ill-advised blog post about your flirtation with Satanism, a frustrated tweet you wish you could take back. As Facebook passes its 500 millionth user, we take a look at new proposals to reduce the threat that we users of the internet pose to ourselves.
A former nurse appears in court in Minnesota this morning charged with two counts of aiding suicide. His weapon? Words. For years, William Melchert-Dinkel, 47, allegedly spent hours in online chat rooms with suicide themes, posing as a young female nurse and befriending vulnerable people contemplating suicide. He encouraged them to end their own lives, gave them tips on how to do it, and entered into suicide pacts with some - pacts police say he never intended to keep. At least two of the people he advised took their own lives – a 32-year-old British man in 2005, and an 18-year-old college student in Canada in 2008. Now Melchert-Dinkel is being charged with their deaths.
Later this morning, President Obama will nominate Solicitor General Elena Kagan to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. The Senate confirmed her appointment to her current position last year, 61-39. Justice Stevens has long been a reliably liberal voice on the court and Kagan would likely continue that philosophy. If confirmed, she would be the third woman on the court and the first justice in nearly forty years who has not already served as a judge.
Last month Google said enough is enough and moved its search operations out of mainland China, causing noticeable diplomatic waves. Yesterday, the company took another step, revealing some of the extent of its foreign policy. It published this explanation of censorship requests from all the governments with whom they deal.
A jury in Italy has ruled that three Google executives are guilty of invasion of privacy after a user uploaded a video depicting four Italian teenagers bullying a boy with Down syndrome to the company's video service. The prosecutors' argument as to why the executives are responsible says that "a company's rights cannot prevail over a person's dignity." But the ruling has many legal and tech experts wondering: should a hosting platform be held responsible for what people post while using the service? And when do attempts to uphold personal dignity impede on free speech?
Yesterday, the Supreme Court effectively overturned The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, the campaign finance reform passed in 2002. Senators John Mcain (R-Ariz.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) designed the law to limit the influence of big business and labor unions on elections.