WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a group of homeowners in North Carolina can’t sue a company that contaminated their drinking water decades ago because a state deadline has lapsed, a decision that could prevent thousands of other property owners in similar cases from recovering damages after being exposed to toxic waste.
In a 7-2 decision, the justices said state law strictly bars any lawsuit brought more than 10 years after the contamination occurred — even if residents did not realize their water was polluted until years later.
The high court reversed a lower court ruling that said federal environmental laws should trump the state law and allow the lawsuit against electronics manufacturer CTS Corp. to proceed. Continue reading
The justices threw out the conviction of Carol Anne Bond of Lansdale, Pa., who was prosecuted under a 1999 law based on the chemical weapons treaty. Bond served a six-year prison term after being convicted of using toxic chemicals that caused a thumb burn on a friend who had become her husband’s lover.
The intent of the chemical weapons treaty was to prevent a repeat of the use of mustard gas in World War I or toxic weapons in the Iraq-Iran war in the early 1980s, not “an amateur attempt by a jilted wife to injure her husband’s lover,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. Continue reading
The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to overturn a Florida rule that used an IQ score of 70 as the determining factor in deeming individuals mentally fit for execution. For a closer look at the decision, Judy Woodruff talks to Marcia Coyle of The National Law Journal. Continue reading
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that states must look beyond an intelligence test score in borderline cases of mental disability to determine whether a death row inmate is eligible to be executed.
The justices said in a 5-4 decision that Florida and a handful of other states cannot rely solely on an IQ score above 70 to bar an inmate from claiming mental disability. Justice Anthony Kennedy said for the court that IQ tests have a margin of error and that inmates whose scores fall within the margin must be allowed to present other evidence of mental disability. Continue reading
The Supreme Court says Michigan can’t block the opening of an American Indian casino. The high court on Tuesday disagreed with state officials who want to shutter the Bay Mills Indian Community’s casino about 90 miles south of its Upper Peninsula reservation. Continue reading
Yo-Yo Ma played his 300-year-old cello for eight of the nine Supreme Court justices. Ma entertained Wednesday at the court’s annual spring musical concert in an ornate conference room beneath portraits of Chief Justices Warren Burger and William Rehnquist. Continue reading
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that local governments have the right to open town meetings with prayer — even if the prayer is explicitly of one denomination. Gwen Ifill gets an overview of the case from Marcia Coyle of The National Law Journal. Continue reading
The court said in 5-4 decision Monday that the content of the prayers is not critical as long as officials make a good-faith effort at inclusion. Continue reading
“Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality,” follows the five-year legal battle over same sex marriage that ensued after California passed Proposition 8. The book digs beneath the surface with personal narratives of those who had been the public face of this major civil rights case. Jeffrey Brown talks to journalist and author Jo Becker. Continue reading
Campaign donations pay for more than political ads and should not be protected as free speech, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens told a Senate panel Wednesday in urging them to rein in the billions of dollars shaping elections. Continue reading