Pete Williams
Pete Williams
NBC News Justice Correspondent. Covers U.S. Supreme Court, Justice, and Homeland Security Departments.Source
Washington, D.C., Virginia
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Faithless Elector: A Court Ruling Just Changed How We Pick Our President

Faithless Elector: A Court Ruling Just Changed How We Pick Our President

A federal appeals court ruled late Tuesday that presidential electors who cast the actual ballots for president and vice president are free to vote as they wish and cannot be required to follow the results of the popular vote in their states. The decision could give a single elector the power to decide the outcome of a presidential election — if the popular vote results in an apparent Electoral College tie."This issue could be a ticking time bomb in our divided politics. It's not hard to imagine how a single faithless elector, voting differently than his or her state did, could swing a...

August 22, 2019
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Supreme Court to consider Boston Marathon bomber death sentence

Supreme Court to consider Boston Marathon bomber death sentence

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider arguments over the death penalty for the Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, after a lower court overturned the sentence. Prosecutors had appealed the lower court ruling. Tsarnaev was convicted of joining his older brother in planting two pressure-cooker bombs in 2013 that killed three people and seriously injured more than 250 others. A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year ordered a new sentencing hearing, ruling unanimously that the trial judge had failed to allow enough questioning of potential jurors...

Mar 22
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Federal judge says states acted too late to ratify Equal Rights Amendment

Federal judge says states acted too late to ratify Equal Rights Amendment

IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.March 5, 2021, 10:55 PM UTCBy Pete WilliamsWASHINGTON — A federal district court judge ruled late Friday that recent state votes to ratify the proposed Equal Rights Amendment .The ruling was a defeat for ERA supporters and the three states that asked the judge to declare that the amendment became formally adopted after last year became the 38th state to ratify it.Along with Illinois and Nevada, Virginia argued that the Constitution does not give Congress any power to set a time limit on the ratification...

Mar 5
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Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs charged in Capitol riot

Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs charged in Capitol riot

IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.Jan. 20, 2021, 7:01 PM UTCUpdated Jan. 20, 2021, 9:27 PM UTCBy Doha Madani and Pete WilliamsProud Boys organizer Joseph Biggs was arrested in Florida on Wednesday , adding to the growing list of federal cases against those who took part in the mob.Biggs, an organizer of the far-right, all-male group of self-described "Western chauvinists," was identified through multiple videos and photos, according to a criminal complaint signed by an FBI agent who worked the case.The charges say he was one of the first to...

Jan 20
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Supreme Court appears likely to allow death sentence for Boston Marathon bomber

Supreme Court appears likely to allow death sentence for Boston Marathon bomber

A divided Supreme Court seemed prepared Wednesday to allow the death sentence to be reimposed for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after a federal appeals court voided it. A majority of the justices suggested that they did not agree with defense claims that the trial judge improperly restricted the questioning of prospective jurors or was wrong to exclude evidence of a separate crime two years before the bombing. Tsarnaev was convicted of joining his older brother, Tamerlan, in planting two pressure-cooker bombs near the marathon finish line in 2013 that killed three people and...

Oct 19
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Supreme Court sends Louisiana Black Lives Matter lawsuit back for another round

Supreme Court sends Louisiana Black Lives Matter lawsuit back for another round

Nov. 2, 2020, 4:37 PM UTCBy Pete WilliamsThe Supreme Court on Monday sent back to the lower courts a lawsuit arising from a 2016 Black Lives Matter protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, against the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling.During the demonstration, someone threw something that struck a police officer in the face, causing serious injuries including brain trauma. The assailant was never identified, but the officer sued DeRay Mckesson, the activist who organized the demonstration, claiming that he had negligently staged the protest in a manner that caused the assault.Mckesson said...

November 2, 2020
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Supreme Court blocks curbside voting in Alabama

Supreme Court blocks curbside voting in Alabama

Oct. 22, 2020, 12:52 AM UTCUpdated Oct. 22, 2020, 4:43 AM UTCBy Pete WilliamsWASHINGTON — The Supreme Court late Wednesday blocked a lower court order allowing voters in Alabama to at polling places that provide the option, ending an option intended to make voting safer and easier during the coronavirus pandemic.Alabama law doesn't prohibit the practice, but it doesn't provide for it, either. Secretary of State John Merrill said it wouldn't be feasible for the state to make it available in this year's election. He said that allowing curbside voting would pose safety concerns, "cause...

October 22, 2020
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Voting rights group asks Supreme Court to let late mail ballots in Wisconsin count

Voting rights group asks Supreme Court to let late mail ballots in Wisconsin count

Oct. 14, 2020, 12:39 AM UTCBy Pete WilliamsVoting rights groups in Wisconsin asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to lift a lower-court ruling that prevents the state from counting mail-in ballots that arrive after the polls close on Election Day.The voter groups, the state and national Democratic parties and the League of Women Voters sued to extend the deadline to accept the ballots. They said the flood of absentee ballots and problems arising from the coronavirus pandemic will make it to receive their mail ballots and return them on time.U.S. District Judge William Conley agreed and...

October 14, 2020
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Supreme Court blocks Trump from ending DACA in big win for 'Dreamers'

Supreme Court blocks Trump from ending DACA in big win for 'Dreamers'

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Trump administration cannot carry out its plan to shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has allowed nearly 800,000 young people, known as "Dreamers," to avoid deportation and remain in the U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts was the swing vote in the 5-4 decision, which deals a big legal defeat to President Donald Trump on the issue of immigration, a major focus of his domestic agenda. Roberts wrote in the decision that the government failed to give an adequate justification for ending the federal program. The...

June 18, 2020
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