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23 Jun 2021, 1:33 pm

Supreme Court Restricts Police Powers To Enter A Home Without A Warrant

Quote:
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police cannot always enter a home without a warrant when pursuing someone for a minor crime.

The court sent the case back to the lower court to decide if the police violated the rights of a California man by pursuing him into his garage for allegedly playing loud music while driving down a deserted two-lane highway late at night."

Writing for the unanimous court, Justice Elena Kagan said police had no right to enter the man's home without a warrant for such a trivial offense.

"On many occasions, the officer will have good reason to enter – to prevent imminent harms of violence, destruction of evidence, or escape from the home," she wrote. "But when the officer has time to get a warrant, he must do so – even though the misdemeanant fled."


Supreme Court Rules Cheerleader's F-Bombs Are Protected By The 1st Amendment
Quote:
The U.S. Supreme Court sided with students on Wednesday, ruling that a former cheerleader's online F-bombs about her school is protected speech under the First Amendment.

By an 8-1 vote, the court declared that school administrators do have the power to punish student speech that occurs online or off campus if it genuinely disrupts classroom study. But the justices concluded that a few swear words posted online from off campus, as in this case, did not rise to the definition of disruptive.

"While public schools may have a special interest in regulating some off-campus student speech, the special interests offered by the school are not sufficient to overcome B. L.'s interest in free expression in this case," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the court's majority.

At issue in the case was a series of F-bombs issued in 2017 on Snapchat by Brandi Levy, then a 14-year-old high school cheerleader who failed to win a promotion from the junior varsity to the varsity cheerleading term at her Pennsylvania school.

"I was really upset and frustrated at everything," she said in an interview with NPR in April. So she posted a photo of herself and a friend flipping the bird to the camera, along with a message that said, "F*** the school ... F*** cheer, F*** everything."

Suspended from the team for what was considered disruptive behavior, Brandi and her parents went to court.


In A Narrow Ruling, Supreme Court Hands Farmworkers Union A Loss
Quote:
The Supreme Court on Wednesday tightened the leash on union representatives and their ability to organize farmworkers in California and elsewhere. At issue in the case was a California law that allows union organizers to enter farms to speak to workers during nonworking hours — before and after work, as well as during lunch — for a set a number of days each year.

By a 6-3 vote along ideological lines, the court ruled that the law — enacted nearly 50 years ago after a campaign by famed organizer Cesar Chavez — unconstitutionally appropriates private land by allowing organizers to go on farm property to drum up union support.

"The regulation appropriates a right to physically invade the growers' property," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court's conservative majority. "The access regulation amounts to simple appropriation of private property."

The decision is a potentially mortal blow that threatens the very existence of the farmworkers union. However, the ruling stopped short of upending other laws that allow government officials to enter private property to inspect and enforce health and safety rules that cover everything restaurants to toxic chemical sites.

Indeed, as Roberts wrote: "Under this framework, government health and safety inspection regimes will generally not constitute takings."

The court's decision on Wednesday was only the latest in a series of decisions that have aimed directly at the heart of organized labor in the United States. In 2018, the court hamstrung public-sector unions' efforts to raise money for collective bargaining. In that decision, the court by a 5-4 vote overturned a 40-year precedent that had allowed unions to collect limited "fair share" fees from workers not in the union but who benefited from the terms of the contract that the union negotiated.

The case decided by the court on Wednesday began in 2015 at Cedar Point Nursery, near the Oregon border. The nursery's owner, Mike Fahner, said union organizers entered the farm at 5 a.m. one morning, without the required notice, and began harassing his workers with bullhorns. The general counsel for the United Farm Workers, Mario Martinez, countered that the people with bullhorns were striking workers, not union organizers.


Supreme Court Grants A Reprieve To Agency That Runs Fannie And Freddie
Quote:
The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to dismantle the federal agency that since the Great Recession has overseen the American mortgage giants commonly known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But the court made it easier for the president to remove the agency's head, who until now could only be fired for cause.

Hours after the opinion, a White House official, speaking on background, said that in light of the decision, President Biden "is moving forward today to replace the current Director with an appointee who reflects the Administration's values." Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria was appointed by former President Donald Trump.

The agency's "structure violates the separation of powers, and we remand for further proceedings to determine what remedy, if any, the shareholders are entitled to receive on their constitutional claim," Justice Samuel Alito wrote.

In a mostly unanimous decision, the court ruled against the companies' private shareholders, who initially filed the suit; they lost their claim to the $124 billion at stake in the case. The justices sent the case back to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to "determine what remedy, if any, the shareholders are entitled to receive on their constitutional claim."

The case goes back to 2008 when calamity in the American housing market infected the rest of the economy. The two government-chartered companies meant to stabilize the housing market — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — managed to lose more in that one year than they had made in the previous 37.

To head off further disaster, Congress created the Federal Housing Finance Agency to oversee the mortgage giants. The FHFA was granted broad powers in order to meet the demands of the moment, and it temporarily assumed control of Fannie's and Freddie's financial affairs.

Hoping to save Fannie, Freddie and the rest of the mortgage market from financial free fall, the FHFA set up an agreement between the Treasury Department and the two companies. For a $100 billion investment in stock, Fannie and Freddie made payments back to the Treasury Department, like a standard interest fee. But the plan quickly fell apart because Fannie and Freddie couldn't afford their payments. So, the FHFA, fearing the companies would fall into insolvency and drag the housing market down with them, amended the agreement with Treasury. From 2012 forward, instead of making their regular payments, the companies simply handed over their profits and nothing more.

The private shareholders in Fannie and Freddie objected, complaining that all of the companies' profits were going to the government.

They urged the court not just to unwind the 2012 agreement but also return $124 billion to Fannie and Freddie. What's more, they also asked the court to disassemble the FHFA, effectively pushing the agency and all of its decisions into the dustbin and threatening other similar agencies, such as the Social Security Administration.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Elena Kagan wrote: "The SSA has a single head with for-cause removal protection; so a betting person might wager that the agency's removal provision is next on the chopping block."


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“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman