“[I]n the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our Constitution is color-blind and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law.” Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote these eternal words… Read more »
AFJ Audio Analysis
Alliance for Justice analyzes key cases before the United States Supreme Court, and circuit courts of appeals, using audio excerpts from oral arguments.
In the first high-profile case to be heard since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court appeared deeply divided on what restrictions a state can put on reproductive care. On March 2, the Court heard arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a challenge to Texas’s HB2, a law that requires hundreds of changes for clinics and doctors that provide abortions. The requirements are allegedly designed to protect women’s health, but the Texas law and the many others like it in other states are a sham designed to close clinics and make abortion inaccessible (and they are particularly harmful to low income women, who are disproportionately women of color).
“You can’t be prosecutor and judge.”
Justice Sotomayor repeated this refrain several times during oral arguments in Williams v. Pennsylvania last week. At issue in the case is whether the prosecutor who signed off on pursuing the death penalty against Terrance Williams thirty years ago, Ronald Castille, should have recused himself from an appeal in Williams’s case that came before him while he was the Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court three years ago.
Imagine this: A group of non-union teachers sue the state and a teachers union over fees they are forced to pay to the union. The non-union teachers don’t like unions and believe that the First Amendment shields them from having to support the union in any way. The union and the state argue that the fees are necessary for the state to maintain proper labor relations with its public employee workforce, and to make sure that all employees who benefit from collective bargaining chip in to cover the costs. The Supreme Court considers the arguments of both sides and makes a decision.