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Supreme Court judges divided along unexpected lines in three cases: NPR



Visitors line up in the Supreme Court in Washington on Monday morning as judges prepare to make their decisions.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP


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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Visitors line up in the Supreme Court in Washington on Monday morning as judges prepare to make their decisions.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Less than two weeks before the US Supreme Court, the judges issued four decisions on Monday. Defying the forecasts, three were decided by moving liberal-conservative coalitions.

In short, here are the fascinating and changing results and votes:

Double sovereignty maintained, with Ginsburg and Gorsuch dissenting

By a vote of seven to two, the court reaffirmed its century-old rule, stating that state and federal governments could each prosecute a person separately for the same crime, without violating the dual criminality clause of the Constitution. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, eminent liberal justice, and one of the most conservative judges, Neil Gorsuch, were dissenters.

Racial gerrymandering affair thrown with a mix of liberals and preservatives

Rejecting Virginia Republicans' pleas, the court left unresolved decisions of lower courts concluding that 11 districts of the state house had been subjected to racist punishments in violation of the Constitution. The Supreme Court declared that the Republican-dominated State House had no legal power to appeal to the Supreme Court alone, while the Senate and the Attorney General of the State had decided not to appeal.

Judge Ginsburg drafted the opinion of a majority of five to four. She was joined by Conservative judges Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, as well as Liberal judges Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Conservative judges Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts, as well as Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, were dissenting.

The ban on uranium confirmed with an ideological mix

The court upheld the ban on uranium mining by Virginia. By a vote of six to three, the judges said that state law was not replaced by the Federal Atomic Energy Act (AEA).

Justice Gorsuch, writing for the majority of the courts, said that the AEA gave the federal government the power to regulate nuclear safety, but not to regulate the mining itself. Conservative confrères Thomas and Kavanaugh fully agreed with Gorsuch, but Liberal judges Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan accepted only his results. They refused to subscribe to Gorsuch's general language on topics which, in their opinion, "go well beyond the limits of the present case".

Roberts CJ and Breyer and Alito JJ. Dissenting.

A traditional 5-4 split

The only classic division between conservatives and liberals on Monday was to determine whether a private company that runs a public access television channel in New York City is a public forum that, like a public park , can not discriminate against speakers.

The court, by a vote of five to four, concludes that the public access channel of this city belonged to Time Warner and not to the city. And because it belonged to private individuals, the channel could not be prosecuted for refusing to broadcast a film.

Judge Kavanaugh drafted the decision of the five conservative judges, stating that "[M]Welcoming other people's speeches is not a traditional and exclusive public service. "

Therefore, chain operators can not be prosecuted for violating the guarantee of freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment. At first glance, at least, the decision would seem to exclude First Amendment claims against private platform operators, such as Twitter and Facebook, although Kavanaugh warned that the decision should not be read "too much". widely".

The four liberal judges of the court were dissenting.

What's left?

On Thursday, the court is expected to make more than 20 remaining rulings in its role. Among these are the three blockbuster cases of the term:

  • The American Legion c. American Humanist Association: A case from Maryland that verifies whether a giant World War I memorial in the shape of a Latin cross is, as defenders argue, a symbol of Christianity that violates the constitutional prohibition of the Constitution. Opponents demand its withdrawal from private property and the end of the financing of the cross by taxpayers.
  • Rucho c. Common Cause (North Carolina) Lamone c. Benisek (Maryland): Cases from North Carolina and Maryland that test whether there is a constitutional limit to extreme partisan manipulation that serves to establish a party's dominance over congressional seats in more narrowly divided states.
  • Department of Commerce c. New York: State and local governments challenge the Trump administration's plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The Census Bureau's own experts warned that adding the question result in serious under-enumeration of the population.

These three decisions (and 17 others) remain behind the scenes.


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