WBEZ | SCOTUS http://www.wbez.org/tags/scotus Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Gallup: Fifty percent of Americans disapprove of Supreme Court http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-06/gallup-fifty-percent-americans-disapprove-supreme-court-113198 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/scotus Rob Crawley flickr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The U.S. Supreme has another docket of substantial and potentially far reaching cases this term: Voting rights, affirmative action, and abortion are all expected to come up this time around.</p><p>Last session saw two historic rulings: one recognizing marriage equality in all 50 states and the other upholding nationwide subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.</p><p>The same sex marriage case has some calling the high court&rsquo;s decisions &ldquo;judicial tyranny.&rdquo; That camp is no doubt part of the nearly 50 percent of Americans that, according to a <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/185972/disapproval-supreme-court-edges-new-high.aspx?g_source=Politics&amp;g_medium=newsfeed&amp;g_campaign=tiles">Gallup Poll</a>, give the court the thumbs down.</p><p><a href="http://www.jmls.edu/">John Marshall Law School</a> Professor <a href="http://works.bepress.com/steven_schwinn/">Steve Schwinn</a> shares his take on the approval rating of the Court.</p></p> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 12:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-06/gallup-fifty-percent-americans-disapprove-supreme-court-113198 Morning Shift: SCOTUS votes 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-06-26/morning-shift-scotus-votes-5-4-favor-same-sex-marriage-112263 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/bdollproject.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/212098809&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">SCOTUS votes 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">The Supreme Court of the United States votes in favor of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-court-rules-all-states-must-license-and-recognize-same-sex-marriages-112259">same-sex marriage for all 50 states</a>. We cover the the 5-4 Friday ruling and get a legal analysis from Mary Anne Case, an Arnold I Shure professor of law the University of Chicago Law School.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>Mary Anne Case is</em><em>&nbsp;an Arnold I Shure professor of law the <a href="https://twitter.com/UChicagoLaw">University of Chicago Law School.&nbsp;</a></em></p></p> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 11:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-06-26/morning-shift-scotus-votes-5-4-favor-same-sex-marriage-112263 Morning Shift: SCOTUS votes 6-3 in favor of Affordable Care Act http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-06-25/morning-shift-scotus-votes-6-3-favor-affordable-care-act-112252 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Stephen D. Melkisethian.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/211955200&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">SCOTUS votes 6-3 in favor of Affordable Care Act</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">The Supreme Court voted Thursday in favor of the Obama administration a stance on health care, ruling 6-3 that nationwide subsidies called for in the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-court-rules-obamacare-subsidies-are-legal-112250">Affordable Care Act</a> are legal. We check in with University of Chicago Law School professor David Strauss on the decision and how it might affect Illinois residents.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>David Strauss is a law professor at the <a href="https://twitter.com/UChicagoLaw">University of Chicago Law School.</a></em></p></p> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 12:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-06-25/morning-shift-scotus-votes-6-3-favor-affordable-care-act-112252 Gay marriage: High court sets stage for historic ruling http://www.wbez.org/news/gay-marriage-high-court-sets-stage-historic-ruling-111416 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/750px-Flickr_-_USCapitol_-_Supreme_Court_of_the_United_States.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>WASHINGTON &mdash; Setting the stage for a potentially historic ruling, the Supreme Court announced Friday it will decide whether same-sex couples have a right to marry everywhere in America under the Constitution.</p><p>The justices will take up gay-rights cases that ask them to declare for the entire nation that people can marry the partners of their choice, regardless of gender. The cases will be argued in April, and a decision is expected by late June.</p><p>Proponents of same-sex marriage said they expect the court to settle the matter once and for all with a decision that invalidates state provisions that define marriage as between a man and a woman. On the other side, advocates for traditional marriage want the court to let the political process play out, rather than have judges order states to allow same-sex couples to marry.</p><p>Same-sex couples can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia.</p><p>That number is nearly double what it was just three months ago, when the justices initially declined to hear gay marriage appeals from five states seeking to preserve their bans on same-sex marriage. The effect of the court&#39;s action in October was to make final several pro-gay rights rulings in the lower courts.</p><p>Now there are just 14 states in which same-sex couples cannot wed. The court&#39;s decision to get involved is another marker of the rapid change that has redefined societal norms in the space of a generation.</p><p>The court will be weighing in on major gay rights issues for the fourth time in in 27 years. In the first of those, in 1986, the court upheld Georgia&#39;s anti-sodomy law in a devastating defeat for gay rights advocates.</p><p>But the three subsequent rulings, all written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, were major victories for gay men and lesbians. In its most recent case in 2013, the court struck down part of a federal anti-gay marriage law in a decision that has paved the way for a wave of lower court rulings across the country in favor of same-sex marriage rights.</p><p>The court is extending the time it usually allots for argument from an hour to two-and-a-half hours. The justices will consider two related questions. The first is whether the Constitution requires states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The other is whether states must recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.</p><p>The appeals before the court come from gay and lesbian plaintiffs in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The federal appeals court that oversees those four states upheld their same-sex marriage bans in November, reversing pro-gay rights rulings of federal judges in all four states. It was the first, and so far only, appellate court to rule against same-sex marriage since the high court&#39;s 2013 decision.</p><p>Ten other states also prohibit such unions. In Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, South Dakota and Texas, judges have struck down anti-gay marriage laws, but they remain in effect pending appeals. In Missouri, same-sex couples can marry in St. Louis and Kansas City only.</p><p>Louisiana is the only other state that has seen its gay marriage ban upheld by a federal judge. There have been no rulings on lawsuits in Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska and North Dakota.</p></p> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 15:50:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/gay-marriage-high-court-sets-stage-historic-ruling-111416 Did the Supreme Court just legalize gay marriage? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/did-supreme-court-just-legalize-gay-marriage-110903 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ap13498193275_wide-2c372ebaccbafc28cf6f9e841ea4af7856422407-s40-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Technically, the Supreme Court today did <em>not</em> establish a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. It merely declined an opportunity to rule definitely one way or the other on the question.</p><p>But in the not-too-long run, the consequences may well be the same. Because the situation the court created &mdash; or acknowledged &ndash; will almost surely continue trending in favor of same-sex couples who want to marry.</p><p>Conversely, the legal ground is eroding for states that want to stop such marriages or deny them legal recognition.</p><p>As thousands more same-sex couples marry all over the country, this legal climate change becomes a kind of <em>fait accompli</em>.</p><p>For the moment, the court&#39;s denial of review means state-enacted bans on same-sex marriage in five states were wiped off the books. The denial meant lower court rulings that spiked those bans will now stand. Let&#39;s call them The Five.</p><p>So couples in The Five could begin marrying regardless of gender as of today &mdash; and some got licenses immediately.</p><p>In six other states that had banned the practice, further legal proceedings may be needed to apply the rulings of the relevant federal Circuit Courts of Appeal. But because these six are connected to The Five through the federal circuit system (jurisdictions for the purpose of appealing federal court decisions) the same judgment will apply. Effectuating that judgment in these six states is a short step &ndash; and one that is already in motion.</p><p>Then they will be just like The Five.</p><p>That will bring the number of states where gay marriage has been legalized, either by the state itself or through these federal cases, to 30. And these states are home to the vast majority of the national population.</p><p>There are still ways for the Supreme Court to re-assert itself in this debate. But the question is, do they want to?</p><p>Many legal experts have looked over the landscape and perceived both a trend in the federal system and a signal from the nine justices who sit at its zenith.</p><p>Amy Howe, the editor of the highly regarded <a href="http://www.scotusblog.com/" target="_blank">SCOTUSBlog</a> told NPR&#39;s Nina Totenberg that the justices &quot;are very smart people&quot; and added, &quot;I don&#39;t think they&#39;re going to be able to put the genie back in the bottle.&quot;</p><p>The genie got out back in June 2013, when the court decided Windsor v. United States, throwing out the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). By smacking down this pivotal federal statute, the court threw wide the gates for other challenges to state laws barring gay marriage or otherwise treating gays differently.</p><p>Now, as those challenges come in waves, the federal courts at all levels are applying the reasoning from Windsor with great consistency.</p><p>If the high court wanted to use that as an occasion to declare a constitutional right, it could have taken one or more of the cases it denied today. But opponents of gay marriage had hoped the court would take such a case for precisely the opposite reason &ndash; to uphold the states&#39; right to ban gay marriage.</p><p>Instead, Howe observes, the justices instructed their confreres at lower levels of the pyramid to &quot;keep on doing what you&#39;re doing.&quot;</p><p>In other words, there isn&#39;t a clear majority of the nine to settle the matter with a landmark ruling one way or the other.</p><p>They could choose to re-enter the fray at some later point, perhaps when another Circuit Court of Appeals weighs in with a ruling that supports the state&#39;s right to ban gay marriage. That would at least create a conflict for the Supreme Court to resolve.</p><p>Or it could revisit the issue later, perhaps when a clear majority has formed either to prohibit gay marriage or to permit it. That might require waiting until Justice Anthony Kennedy, a swing vote on such issues, declares himself. Or it could await the next retirement of a sitting justice and the confirmation of a successor.</p><p>But as the number of legal gay marriages skyrockets, and the practice becomes both legal and common across most of the states and most of the population, a future court is less and less likely to rescind it.</p><p>Or even take such a case.</p><p><em><em>&mdash; </em></em><a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/10/06/354140391/did-the-supreme-court-just-legalize-gay-marriage" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/did-supreme-court-just-legalize-gay-marriage-110903 Afternoon Shift: SCOTUS rules on DOMA, Prop 8 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-06-26/afternoon-shift-scotus-rules-doma-prop-8-107858 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rings.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>SCOTUS rules on Prop 8 and DOMA. What will the impact be on marriage rights across the states? <script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-is-there-wheat-in-that-is-it-process.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-is-there-wheat-in-that-is-it-process" target="_blank">View the story "WBEZ: SCOTUS rules on Prop 8 and DOMA " on Storify</a>]</noscript></p></p> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 13:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-06-26/afternoon-shift-scotus-rules-doma-prop-8-107858 Obama's statement on court's gay marriage ruling http://www.wbez.org/news/obamas-statement-courts-gay-marriage-ruling-107856 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP290984811016_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Obama&#39;s statement on court&#39;s gay marriage ruling<br />The Associated Press</p><p><br />WASHINGTON&nbsp; &mdash; President Barack Obama issued the following statement Wednesday in response to the Supreme Court&#39;s finding that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional:</p><p>___</p><p>I applaud the Supreme Court&#39;s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal - and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.</p><p>This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents&#39; marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.</p><p>So we welcome today&#39;s decision, and I&#39;ve directed the Attorney General to work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.</p><p>On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation&#39;s commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision - which applies only to civil marriages - changes that.</p><p>The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.</p></p> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 11:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/obamas-statement-courts-gay-marriage-ruling-107856 Supreme Court clears way for gay marriage in California http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-court-clears-way-gay-marriage-california-107852 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP209256454344.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>WASHINGTON &mdash; The Supreme Court has cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California by holding that defenders of California&#39;s gay marriage ban did not have the right to appeal lower court rulings striking down the ban.</p><p>The court&#39;s 5-4 vote Wednesday leaves in place the initial trial court declaration that the ban is unconstitutional. California officials probably will rely on that ruling to allow the resumption of same-sex unions in about a month&#39;s time.</p><p>The high court itself said nothing about the validity of gay marriage bans in California and roughly three dozen other states.</p><p>The outcome was not along ideological lines.</p><p>Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Antonin Scalia.</p><p>&quot;We have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the 9th Circuit,&quot; Roberts said, referring to the federal appeals court that also struck down Proposition 8.</p><p>Four justices, Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor, said the court should have decided the constitutional question that was before it.</p></p> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 09:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-court-clears-way-gay-marriage-california-107852 Supreme Court strikes down federal provision denying benefits to legally married gay couples http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-court-strikes-down-federal-provision-denying-benefits-legally-married-gay-couples <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP656060618509_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In a major victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples and cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California.</p><p>The justices issued two 5-4 rulings in their final session of the term. One decision wiped away part of a federal anti-gay marriage law that has kept legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits.</p><p>The other was a technical ruling that said nothing at all about same-sex marriage, but left in place a trial court&#39;s declaration that California&#39;s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. That outcome probably will allow state officials to order the resumption of same-sex weddings in the nation&#39;s most populous state in about a month.</p><p>In neither case did the court make a sweeping statement, either in favor of or against same-sex marriage. And in a sign that neither victory was complete for gay rights, the high court said nothing about the validity of gay marriage bans in California and roughly three dozen other states. A separate provision of the federal marriage law that allows a state to not recognize a same-sex union from elsewhere remains in place.</p><p>President Barack Obama praised the court&#39;s ruling on the federal marriage act, which he labeled &quot;discrimination enshrined in law.&quot;</p><p>&quot;It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people,&quot; Obama said in a statement. &quot;The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it.&quot;</p><p>House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he was disappointed in the outcome of the federal marriage case and hoped states continue to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.</p><p>The ruling in the California case was not along ideological lines. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Antonin Scalia.</p><p>&quot;We have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the 9th Circuit,&quot; Roberts said, referring to the federal appeals court that also struck down Proposition 8.</p><p>In the case involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, joined by the court&#39;s liberal justices.</p><p>&quot;Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways,&quot; Kennedy said.</p><p>&quot;DOMA&#39;s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,&quot; he said.</p><p>Some in the crowd outside the court hugged and others jumped up and down just after 10 a.m. EDT Wednesday when the DOMA decision was announced. Many people were on their cell phones monitoring Twitter, news sites and blogs for word of the decision. And there were cheers as runners came down the steps with the decision in hand and turned them over to reporters who quickly flipped through the decisions.</p><p>Chants of &quot;Thank you&quot; and &quot;USA&quot; came from the crowd as plaintiffs in the cases descended the court&#39;s marbled steps. Most of those in the crowd appeared to support gay marriage, although there was at least one man who held a sign promoting marriage as between a man and a woman.</p><p>Kennedy was joined in the DOMA decision by the court&#39;s four liberal justices.</p><p>Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, and Scalia dissented.</p><p>Same-sex marriage has been adopted by 12 states and the District of Columbia. Another 18,000 couples were married in California during a brief period when same-sex unions were legal there.</p><p>The outcome is clear for people who were married and live in states that allow same-sex marriage. They now are eligible for federal benefits.</p><p>The picture is more complicated for same-sex couples who traveled to another state to get married, or who have moved from a gay marriage state since being wed.</p><p>Their eligibility depends on the benefits they are seeking. For instance, immigration law focuses on where people were married, not where they live. But eligibility for Social Security survivor benefits basically depends on where a couple is living when a spouse dies.</p><p>The rulings came 10 years to the day after the court&#39;s Lawrence v. Texas decision that struck down state bans on gay sex. In his dissent at the time, Scalia predicted the ruling would lead to same-sex marriage.</p><p>Massachusetts was the first state to allow gay couples to marry, in 2004. When same-sex unions resume in California, there will be 13 states representing 30 percent of the U.S. population where gay marriage is legal.</p><p>The other 11 are Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.</p><p>Outside the court, gay marriage proponents celebrated both wins.</p><p>May the marriages begin,&quot; said the Human Rights Campaign&#39;s Chad Griffin, who helped spearhead the lawsuit challenging Proposition 8. The two same-sex couples who sued for the right to marry also were at the court Wednesday.</p><p>In New York City&#39;s Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn, where a riot in 1969 sparked the gay rights movement, erupted in cheers and whooping.</p><p>Mary Jo Kennedy, 58 was there with her wife Jo-Ann Shain, 60, and their daughter Aliya Shain, 25.</p><p>She came with a sign that could be flipped either way and was holding up the side that says &quot;SCOTUS made our family legal&quot;.</p><p>They have been together 31 years and got married day it became legal in New York.</p><p>The broadest possible ruling would have given gay Americans the same constitutional right to marry as heterosexuals. The justices said nothing on that topic in either case.</p><p>The decisions Wednesday have no effect on the roughly three dozen states that do not allow same-sex marriage, including 29 that have enshrined the bans in their constitutions.</p><p>The federal marriage law, known by its acronym DOMA, had been struck down by several federal courts.</p><p>The justices chose for their review the case of 83-year-old Edith Windsor of New York, who sued to challenge a $363,000 federal estate tax bill after her partner of 44 years died in 2009.</p><p>Windsor, who goes by Edie, married Thea Spyer in 2007 after doctors told them Spyer would not live much longer. She suffered from multiple sclerosis for many years. Spyer left everything she had to Windsor.</p><p>Windsor would have paid nothing in inheritance taxes if she had been married to a man. And now she is eligible for a refund.</p><h2><strong>Listen: Stories and conversations on the road to today&#39;s SCOTUS decision</strong></h2><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F7148059&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 08:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-court-strikes-down-federal-provision-denying-benefits-legally-married-gay-couples Cook County will collect DNA swabs at jail http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-will-collect-dna-swabs-jail-107519 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/scotus_flickr_markFischer.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says his department will start collecting DNA swabs from suspects in jail for serious crimes, including murder and sexual assault, after a U.S. Supreme Court decision cleared the way for police to take the samples.</p><p>Dart says swabs from people indicted for murder, home invasion and various sex crimes will start being collected July 1. They&#39;ll be submitted to the state police&#39;s crime labs for inclusion in a database. The department says at least 1,000 swabs will be collected from inmates now in the Chicago jail.</p><p>He says a state law passed last year allows the collection of DNA swabs from jail inmates, but he waited until the high court ruled on the issue.</p><p>That ruling was handed down Monday.</p><p>The sharply divided Supreme Court cleared the way for police to take a DNA swab from anyone they arrest for a serious crime, endorsing a practice now followed by more than half the states as well as the federal government.</p><p>The justices differed strikingly on how big a step that was.</p><p>&quot;Taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment,&quot; Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the court&#39;s five-justice majority. The ruling backed a Maryland law allowing DNA swabbing of people arrested for serious crimes.</p><p>But the four dissenting justices said the court was allowing a major change in police powers, with conservative Justice Antonin Scalia predicting the limitation to &quot;serious&quot; crimes would not last.</p><p>&quot;Make no mistake about it: Because of today&#39;s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason,&quot; Scalia said in a sharp dissent which he read aloud in the courtroom. &quot;This will solve some extra crimes, to be sure. But so would taking your DNA when you fly on an airplane &mdash; surely the TSA must know the &#39;identity&#39; of the flying public. For that matter, so would taking your children&#39;s DNA when they start public school.&quot;</p><p>Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler agreed that there&#39;s nothing stopping his state from expanding DNA collection from those arrested for serious crimes to those arrested for lesser ones like shoplifting.</p><p>&quot;I don&#39;t advocate expanding the crimes for which you take DNA, but the legal analysis would be the same,&quot; Gansler said. &quot;The reason why Maryland chooses to only take DNA of violent criminals is that you&#39;re more likely to get a hit on a previous case. Shoplifters don&#39;t leave DNA behind, rapists do, and so you&#39;re much more likely to get the hit in a rape case.&quot;</p><p>Twenty-eight states and the federal government now take DNA swabs after arrests. But a Maryland court said it was illegal for that state to take Alonzo King&#39;s DNA without approval from a judge, ruling that King had &quot;a sufficiently weighty and reasonable expectation of privacy against warrantless, suspicionless searches&quot; under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.</p><p>The high court&#39;s decision reverses that ruling and reinstates King&#39;s rape conviction, which came after police took his DNA during an unrelated arrest.</p><p>Kennedy, who is often considered the court&#39;s swing vote, wrote the decision along with conservative-leaning Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. They were joined by liberal-leaning Justice Stephen Breyer, while the dissenters were the conservative-leaning Scalia and liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.</p><p>Kennedy called collecting DNA useful for police in identifying individuals.</p><p>&quot;The use of DNA for identification is no different than matching an arrestee&#39;s face to a wanted poster of a previously unidentified suspect, or matching tattoos to known gang symbols to reveal a criminal affiliation, or matching the arrestee&#39;s fingerprints to those recovered from a crime scene,&quot; Kennedy said. &quot;DNA is another metric of identification used to connect the arrestee with his or her public persona, as reflected in records of his or her actions that are available to police.&quot;</p><p>But the American Civil Liberties Union said the court&#39;s ruling created &quot;a gaping new exception to the Fourth Amendment.&quot;</p><p>&quot;The Fourth Amendment has long been understood to mean that the police cannot search for evidence of a crime &mdash; and all nine justices agreed that DNA testing is a search &mdash; without individualized suspicion,&quot; said Steven R. Shapiro, the group&#39;s legal director. &quot;Today&#39;s decision eliminates that crucial safeguard. At the same time, it&#39;s important to recognize that other state laws on DNA testing are even broader than Maryland&#39;s and may present issues that were not resolved by today&#39;s ruling.&quot;</p><p>Maryland&#39;s DNA collection law only allows police to take DNA from those arrested for serious offenses such as murder, rape, assault, burglary and other crimes of violence. In his ruling, Kennedy did not say whether the court&#39;s decision was limited to those crimes, but he did note that other states&#39; DNA collection laws differ from Maryland&#39;s.</p><p>Scalia saw that as a crucial flaw. &quot;If you believe that a DNA search will identify someone arrested for bank robbery, you must believe that it will identify someone arrested for running a red light,&quot; he said.</p><p>Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, cheered the decision and called DNA collection &quot;a detective&#39;s most valuable tool in solving rape cases.&quot;</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re very pleased that the court recognized the importance of DNA and decided that, like fingerprints, it can be collected from arrestees without violating any privacy rights,&quot; he said. &quot;Out of every 100 rapes in this country, only three rapists will spend a day behind bars. To make matters worse, rapists tend to be serial criminals, so every one left on the streets is likely to commit still more attacks. DNA is a tool we could not afford to lose.&quot;</p><p>Getting DNA swabs from criminals is common. All 50 states and the federal government take cheek swabs from convicted criminals to check against federal and state databanks, with the court&#39;s blessing. The fight at the Supreme Court was over whether that DNA collection could come before conviction and without a judge issuing a warrant.</p><p>According to court documents, the FBI&#39;s Combined DNA Index System or CODIS &mdash; a coordinated system of federal, state and local databases of DNA profiles &mdash; already contains more than 10 million criminal profiles and 1.1 million profiles of those arrested. According to the FBI, the DNA samples from people whose charges have been dismissed, who have been acquitted or against whom no charges have been brought are to be expunged from the federal system. But states and other municipalities that collect DNA make their own rules about what happens to their collections.</p><p>In the case before the court, a 53-year-old woman was raped and robbed but no one was arrested. Almost six years later, Alonzo King was arrested and charged with felony second-degree assault in a separate case. Relying on the Maryland law that allows warrantless DNA tests following some felony arrests, police took a cheek swab of King&#39;s DNA, which matched a sample from the 2003 Salisbury rape. King was convicted of rape and sentenced to life in prison.</p><p>King eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of misdemeanor assault from his arrest, a crime for which Maryland cannot take warrantless DNA samples. The state court said King&#39;s rights therefore had been violated when the state took his DNA based on that arrest alone.</p><p>Maryland stopped collecting DNA after that decision, but Roberts allowed police to keep collecting DNA samples pending the high court&#39;s review.</p><p>The case is Maryland v. King, 12-207.</p></p> Tue, 04 Jun 2013 10:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-will-collect-dna-swabs-jail-107519