The US Supreme Court issued three opinions this morning, including a ruling on the controversial immigration law in Arizona. In a 5-3 split decision (Justice Kagan did not participate, presumably because she worked on the case as President Obama's solicitor general), the court struck down the provisions of the law that prohibited undocumented immigrants from soliciting work, required that papers are carried at all times, and gave police the right to arrest an undocumented immigrant without a warrant. The court upheld the requirement that police must check the papers of anyone suspected to be undocumented.
The court's opinion opinion (PDF) stated that the invalidated provisions of the law conflicted with federal immigration law. Justice Kennedy, writing the majority opinion, stated, "The history of the United States is in part made of the stories, talents, and lasting contributions of those who crossed oceans and deserts to come here. The National Government has significant power to regulate immigration. With power comes responsibility, and the sound exercise of national power over immigration depends on the Nation's meeting its responsibility to base its laws on a political will informed by searching, thoughtful, rational civic discourse. Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the State may not pursue policies that undermine federal law."
The court also ruled, in a 5-4 vote, not to revisit its decision in the campaign finance case, Citizens United. In this morning's decision, the Supreme Court struck down Montana's state law limiting campaign spending by corporations by refusing to give a full hearing to the case. In the third opinion released by the court this morning, the justices ruled in a 5-4 decision that it is unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life in prison without the chance of parole.
Media Resources: AP 6/25/12; Huffington Post 6/25/12; Reuters 6/25/12
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .