The Supreme Court ruled Monday against an Arizona ballot measure requiring new voters to present proof of citizenship before being added to the voting rolls — but the justices dodged the question of whether states could ever impose such a requirement without federal approval.
The justices ruled, 7-2, that Arizona’s effort to establish proof-of-citizenship requirements for new voters ran afoul of the so-called “motor voter” law Congress passed in 1993. That law, the National Voter Registration Act, allows for mail-in voter registration on a federal form that allows applicants simply to swear that they are U.S. citizens eligible to vote.
Arizona voters created the proof-of-citizenship requirement as part of Proposition 200, a ballot measure passed in 2004, 56 percent to 44 percent.
It’s important to note that this isn’t necessarily the end of discussion on the matter, as today’s Supreme Court ruling essentially offers Arizona another route through which the state could attempt to implement the new regulation. Still, future passage seems unlikely given that the state of Arizona would need approval from the federal government to implement the proof-of-citizenship requirement.
15:21 // 5 months ago
The Supreme Court agreed with Monsanto on Monday that an Indiana farmer’s unorthodox planting of the company’s genetically modified soybeans violated the agricultural giant’s patent.
The court unanimously rejected farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman’s argument that he was not violating Monsanto’s patent because the company’s pesticide-resistent “Roundup Ready” soybeans replicate themselves. Justice Elena Kagan said there is no such “seeds-are-special” exception to the law.
“We think that blame-the-bean defense tough to credit,” Kagan wrote. “Bowman was not a passive observer of his soybeans’ multiplication; or put another way, the seeds he purchased (miraculous though they might be in other respects) did not spontaneously create eight successive soybean crops.”
We won’t pretend to be well-versed enough in this case and/or patent law (or any legal field for that matter) to have a strong opinion on the outcome of this case, though we suspect there will be more than a few readers who do. Anybody think the Supreme Court got this one wrong?
19:39 // 6 months ago
Looking back, O’Connor said, she isn’t sure the high court should have taken the case.
"It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue," O’Connor said during a talk Friday with the Tribune editorial board. "Maybe the court should have said, ‘We’re not going to take it, goodbye.’"
The case, she said, “stirred up the public” and “gave the court a less-than-perfect reputation.”
"Obviously the court did reach a decision and thought it had to reach a decision," she said. "It turned out the election authorities in Florida hadn’t done a real good job there and kind of messed it up. And probably the Supreme Court added to the problem at the end of the day."
O’Connor’s vote was the deciding vote in the case, leading to Bush’s election. (via The Daily Beast)
21:29 // 7 months ago
Justice Breyer, the 74-year-old Clinton appointee, also suffered a broken collarbone after a bicycling accident in 2011, and in 1993 (prior to his appointment) fractured ribs and punctured a lung in yet another. The moral of the story? You’re not gonna get him off that bicycle, apparently. He reportedly underwent shoulder surgery this morning, and is resting comfortably, pending release.
17:13 // 7 months ago