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The Supreme Court as we once knew it—as a national institution that could at least sometimes stand apart from partisanship—died last year. The ongoing fight over its corpse spilled into public view last week.

On Thursday, 53 United States senators—every member of the Republican caucus—wrote a “letter” to the clerk of the Supreme Court assuring the justices that the Republican Party has their back. The Democrats, the senators told the Court, pose “a direct, immediate threat to the independence of the judiciary.”

The spat is about guns. The Court has granted review in a Second Amendment case entitled New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, New York, which (nominally) tests an obscure New York City ordinance governing how firearms owners could—note the past tense—travel with their weapons.

Under city law as it was when the case began, New Yorkers with a “premises” license had to keep their guns in their homes at all times, except when being taken to a licensed target-shooting facility for practice and training. But those facilities had to be in New York City itself. “Premises” licensees could not put their guns in their trunk and drive out of town for any reason—not to go to a gun range, not to compete in a shooting match, not to take the guns to a second home.


A New Orleans Saints fan’s lawsuit against the NFL and game officials over the failure to call a crucial penalty against the Los Angeles Rams in a January playoff game was dismissed Friday by the Louisiana Supreme Court.

The ruling appeared to be a death blow to the last remaining lawsuit over what’s come to be known as the “NOLA No-Call.” It also means that, barring a reversal, Commissioner Roger Goodell and game officials will not have to be questioned under oath in New Orleans, as a lower court had previously ordered.

There were no dissents among the seven court members in the reversal of the lower court’s ruling.

Attorney Antonio LeMon had sued, alleging fraud and seeking damages over game officials’ failure to flag a blatant penalty: a Rams player’s helmet-to-helmet hit on a Saints receiver with a pass on the way. The lack of a penalty call for pass interference or roughness helped the Rams beat the Saints and advance to the Super Bowl.

LeMon was reviewing the decision Friday afternoon and was expected to comment later on whether he might seek a rehearing.

The unsigned opinion invoked precedent in a nearly 75-year-old case, stating that Louisiana law gives the ticket to a “place of public amusement” is a license to witness a performance. “Applying this reasoning to the case at bar, we find plaintiffs’ purchase of a ticket merely granted them the right of entry and a seat at the game,” the ruling said. “Plaintiffs have not alleged that these rights were revoked or denied in any way.”

LeMon, who filed with three other ticket-holders, had argued that the circumstances of the game — and his lawsuit — are unique. The suit wasn’t simply filed over a missed call, his filing said. Among its allegations are claims that fraud and “implicit or unconscious bias” on the part of game officials from the Los Angeles area led to the decision not to flag the penalty.


A British court ruled Wednesday that a police force's use of automated facial recognition technology is lawful, dealing a blow to an activist concerned about its implications for privacy.

Existing laws adequately cover the South Wales police force's deployment of the technology in a trial, two judges said , in what's believed to be the world's first legal case on how a law enforcement agency uses the new technology.

The decision comes amid a broader global debate about the rising use of facial recognition technology. Recent advances in artificial intelligence make it easier for police to automatically scan faces and instantly match them to "watchlists" of suspects, missing people and persons of interest, but it also raises concerns about mass surveillance.

"The algorithms of the law must keep pace with new and emerging technologies," Judges Charles Haddon-Cave and Jonathan Swift said.

Ed Bridges, a Cardiff resident and human rights campaigner who filed the judicial review, said South Wales police scanned his face twice as it tested the technology - once while he was Christmas shopping in 2017 and again when he was at a peaceful protest against a defense expo in 2018.

"This sinister technology undermines our privacy and I will continue to fight against its unlawful use to ensure our rights are protected and we are free from disproportionate government surveillance," he said in a statement released by Liberty, a rights group that worked on his case.

His legal team argued that he suffered "distress" and his privacy and data protection rights were violated when South Wales police processed an image taken of him in public.

But the judges said that the police force's use of the technology was in line with British human rights and data privacy legislation. They said that all images and biometric data of anyone who wasn't a match on the "watchlist" of suspects was deleted immediately.



The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that a lawsuit filed over the Rams' departure from St. Louis will be heard in a St. Louis courtroom, a defeat for the NFL team's owner who sought to send the case to arbitration.

The court issued its ruling Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by St. Louis city and county and the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, which owns the domed stadium where the Rams formerly played. It named Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who moved the team to Los Angeles for the 2016 season, the NFL and league owners.

It wasn't immediately clear if an appeal was planned. Messages left Wednesday with the Rams, Kroenke's attorney and the NFL were not immediately returned

The lawsuit alleged that the Rams' departure violated a 1984 league guideline that was established after the Raiders moved from Oakland to Los Angeles. The league, the Rams and Kroenke have argued that the disagreements should be settled behind closed doors in arbitration.

The suit seeks financial damages, but a win for the city, county and dome authority would not return the team to St. Louis.

The Rams' departure left a bitter taste in St. Louis, which lost an NFL team for the second time in 30 years — the Cardinals moved to Arizona in 1987.

Last month, a judge gave preliminary approval to the settlement of a separate suit filed on behalf of fans who bought St. Louis Rams tickets and team merchandise. The settlement could be worth up to $25 million. The lawsuit claimed fans would not have purchased the tickets and goods if they knew about the impending move.


Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Saturday she’s “alive” and on her way to being “very well” following radiation treatment for cancer.

Ginsburg, 86, made the comments at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington. The event came a little over a week after Ginsburg disclosed that she had completed three weeks of outpatient radiation therapy for a cancerous tumor on her pancreas and is now disease-free.

It is the fourth time over the past two decades that Ginsburg, the leader of the court’s liberal wing, has been treated for cancer. She had colorectal cancer in 1999, pancreatic cancer in 2009 and lung cancer surgery in December. Both liberals and conservatives watch the health of the court’s oldest justice closely because it’s understood the Supreme Court would shift right for decades if Republican President Donald Trump were to get the ability to nominate someone to replace her.

On Saturday, Ginsburg, who came out with the book “My Own Words” in 2016, spoke to an audience of more than 4,000 at Washington’s convention center. Near the beginning of an hour-long talk, her interviewer, NPR reporter Nina Totenberg, said: “Let me ask you a question that everyone here wants to ask, which is: How are you feeling? Why are you here instead of resting up for the term? And are you planning on staying in your current job?”

“How am I feeling? Well, first, this audience can see that I am alive,” Ginsburg said to applause and cheers. The comment was a seeming reference to the fact that when she was recuperating from lung cancer surgery earlier this year, some doubters demanded photographic proof that she was still living.

Ginsburg went on to say that she was “on my way” to being “very well.” As for her work on the Supreme Court, which is on its summer break and begins hearing arguments again Oct. 7, Ginsburg said she will “be prepared when the time comes.”

Ginsburg, who was appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1993, did not directly answer how long she plans to stay on the court. Earlier this summer, however, she reported a conversation she had with former Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired from the court in 2010.


Florida’s high court waded into the legal wrangling over the voting rights of felons, agreeing Thursday to examine whether the state can continue restricting voting privileges to felons who have unpaid fines and fees.

Voters last year overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to as many as 1.4 million felons who have completed their sentences.

But the Republican-controlled Legislature then stipulated that to complete sentences, felons must pay all fines and fees before getting their voting rights restored. DeSantis signed the bill into law.

Voting rights groups immediately sued in federal court and likened the requirement to an illegal poll tax.

Gov. Ron DeSantis then asked the state Supreme Court for an advisory on the issue, which the court has agreed to consider.

“The Governor has the duty to implement both the amendment and the law, which must be done appropriately,” said the governor’s spokeswoman, Helen Aguirre Ferre. “That is why he is asking the Florida Supreme Court to provide an opinion on this matter and he is pleased that they have agreed to do so.”

While the state Supreme Court’s advisory opinion may not be legally binding, it could hold some sway among federal judges seeking further legal guidance on the matter.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned of “lasting and catastrophic damage” to Britain’s political parties if the result of the Brexit referendum is not honored.

He told Sky News Friday that people protesting his decision to suspend Parliament during part of the run-up to the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline must realize that “the worst thing for democracy” would be to fail to make Brexit a reality.

He also says the protests and legal challenges to his policy are making it harder for Britain to forge a new deal with European Union leaders because they may believe Parliament can stop Brexit.

A court hearing in Scotland on a legal challenge seeking to block the British government’s plan to suspend Parliament has been moved up and will be heard on Tuesday.

The Court of Session hearing in Edinburgh had originally been set for Sept. 6.

Judge Raymond Doherty on Friday refused to grant a request to immediately halt Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to suspend Parliament for several weeks but agreed that a “substantive” hearing would be held.

The government’s plan would shorten the time political opponents in Parliament would have in their bid to prevent Britain from leaving the European Union without a deal on Oct. 31 if no agreement with the EU is reached by then.


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