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USSC Roundup 4-26-06 - unusual lineups, pro-and anti-civil rights, libs and Roberts join to protect property rights
I don’t often comment on particular Supreme Court cases. But this time the voting lineups struck me as interesting in a handful of cases, and I thought I’d pass them along to you. …. Liberals voting with conservatives to diminish civil rights, a conservative voting with liberals to protect property rights ……. coalitions that cross the philosophical spectrum.
The presentation below assumes you have a working knowledge of who the USSC justices are, and their philosophical reputations.
In a Takings Case, Roberts joins liberals in making it a tiny bit tougher to take away our homes for back taxes
ISSUE: The State of Arkansas sold a man’s home for back taxes. The man sued, saying he lacked notice that his home was delinquent and about to be sold. Arkansas said it sent registered letters to the home, but the letters were never pickup up, and the post office returned the letters to the State. So the homeowner DID NOT get Actual Notice that his home would be taken. The USSC decided that the taking of the man’s home was unconstitutional, because the State had not done enough to see that the man had Actual Notice of the taking. Without dictating HOW a State can make sure a takings victim gets Actual Notice, the USSC said that registered letters are NOT enough, if those letters don’t reach the homeowner. This decision will be viewed favorably by EVERYONE except the hard-core pro-government types.
Losers: Thomas, Scalia and Kennedy
In a civil rights loss, Libs join Roberts and Alito in denying a prisoner relief
ISSUE: Whether a Federal Court has authority to dismiss a Habeas petition as untimely, when the State thinks the petition was timely and didn’t challenge timeliness. The USSC ruled that the Court has the authority to dismiss, even if the State didn’t challenge timeliness, under the circumstances of the case.
In a civil rights loss, Libs join conservatives to make it tougher to win your Bivens tort case against the Federal Government
ISSUE: (A highly technical issue of “pleading” a Bivens case, where the resolution of the technicality has a deep impact on the ability of plaintiff’s to prosecute these cases) Assume a Federal Official wants to retaliate against you for exercising your freedom of speech, and his method of retaliation is to try to get a prosecutor to prosecute you for alleged crime, but the evidence is very weak and you beat the case. When you sue, can your case be dismissed if your Petition fails to plead “absence of probable cause” underlying the failed prosecution? The USSC ruled YES your case can be dismissed. This will be viewed as an anti-civil rights decision, because it makes it a bit more difficult for Plaintiffs.
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USSC Roundup 4-26-06 - unusual lineups on civil rights, libs and Roberts join to protect property rights
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US Supreme Court philosophical lineup summarized
The RM is a "Libertarian Democrat"
A Libertarian Democrat is vigorously pro-personal liberty, and believes government can play a constructive role in regulating our economy and providing a social safety net.