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Recess Is Over: What the Supreme Court Has in Store for Us Now

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Posted on Feb 14, 2014

By Bill Blum

(Page 3)

Campaign Finance: McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission (argued in October)

Dubbed by some commentators as Citizens United 2.0, this mean-spirited piece of litigation was generated by the Republican National Committee and Alabama businessman Shaun McCutcheon. Together, they seek to overturn current federal law limiting the aggregate amount of money any single person can contribute directly to candidates for federal office, political parties and political committees to $123,000 in any two-year election cycle.

A victory for McCutcheon and the RNC, coupled with further curbs on the ability of unions to raise and spend money on elections, will only enhance the stranglehold of the oligarchy on the nation’s politics.

Corporate Personhood and Obamacare’s Contraception Mandate: Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (to be argued in March)

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In a set of consolidated cases, the court will decide whether for-profit corporations possess a First Amendment or statutory right based on freedom of religion to deprive their employees of health insurance coverage for contraception, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. In order to rule in favor of the companies, the court once again would have to step through the looking glass on the road to full corporate personhood.

Privacy: United States v. Wurie (to be argued in April)

In a case only recently accepted for review, the court may signal how it will ultimately rule on the controversy surrounding the NSA’s telephone metadata surveillance. At issue is the authority of police, acting without a warrant, to read the call records contained on the cellphones of people booked into jail.

How the court decides any of the pending cases, of course, is by no means certain. But if the court’s past performance is any kind of reliable guide, anyone except the most right-wing zealots among us may be left wishing by the end of the current term that Roberts and his cronies had stayed on vacation rather than returned to work.


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