Robert Barnes
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A cheerleader’s Snapchat rant leads to ‘momentous’ Supreme Court case on student speech

A cheerleader’s Snapchat rant leads to ‘momentous’ Supreme Court case on student speech

The high school cheerleader relegated to the JV squad for another year responded with a fleeting fit of frustration: a photo of her upraised middle finger and another word that begins with F.“F--- school, f--- softball, f--- cheer, f--- everything,” 14-year-old Brandi Levy typed into Snapchat one spring Saturday. Like all “snaps” posted to a Snapchat “story,” this one sent to about 250 “friends” was to disappear within 24 hours, before everyone returned to Pennsylvania’s Mahanoy Area High School on Monday.Instead, an adolescent outburst and the adult reaction to it have arrived at the...

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Robert Barnes
Apr 25
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Justice Breyer says expanding the Supreme Court could erode trust

Justice Breyer says expanding the Supreme Court could erode trust

Justice Stephen G. Breyer said Tuesday that proposals to expand the Supreme Court to dilute the power of its conservative majority risk making justices appear more political and could hurt the court’s influence with the public.Breyer, one of the court’s three liberals, defended the court’s independence by pointing to its decision to resist President Donald Trump’s attempts to draw the court into lawsuits that sought to overturn Trump’s defeat in November.In remarks prepared for a speech at Harvard Law School, Breyer wrote that the court’s authority depends on “a trust that the court is...

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Robert Barnes
Apr 7
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Supreme Court sides with Facebook in class-action dispute over robo-texts

Supreme Court sides with Facebook in class-action dispute over robo-texts

ADThe Supreme Court on Thursday sided with Facebook in a complaint about unwanted text messages and dismissed Florida’s long-running claim that Georgia’s upstream consumption of river water ruined the oyster industry in the Florida Panhandle.In a third unanimous decision, the court said the Federal Communications Commission complied with the law in its rules easing limits on the ownership of local television and radio stations.Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the Facebook case, saying a 1991 federal ban on robocalls did not cover Facebook’s system of sending text messages to inform that someone...

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Robert Barnes
Apr 1
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Supreme Court appears to favor upholding voting laws lower court found unfair to minorities

Supreme Court appears to favor upholding voting laws lower court found unfair to minorities

ADThe Supreme Court on Tuesday seemed inclined to make it more difficult to challenge widely used voting laws that in practice might be more of a burden to minority voters.The justices spent reviewing the protections provided by the Voting Rights Act (VRA), first passed in 1965 to forbid laws that result in discrimination based on race.The cases involve two voting regulations in Arizona that are in common use across the country. One throws out the ballots of those who vote in the wrong precinct. The other restricts who may collect ballots cast early for delivery to polling places, a...

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Robert Barnes
Mar 2
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Judge says gunman who killed her son also targeted Justice Sotomayor

Judge says gunman who killed her son also targeted Justice Sotomayor

ADA federal judge whose son was killed and whose husband was critically wounded in an attack at their home in New Jersey said in a televised interview that the gunman also had targeted Justice Sonia Sotomayor.U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas told CBS’s “60 Minutes” in an interview that will air Sunday that authorities found a locker used by the killer, , a lawyer who had a case before Salas and who committed suicide after killing her 20-year-old son, Daniel, in the summer.“They found another gun, a Glock, more ammunition,” Salas said. “But the most troubling thing they found was a...

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Robert Barnes
Feb 19
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Inspector general will investigate whether any Justice Dept. officials improperly sought to help Trump overturn the election

Inspector general will investigate whether any Justice Dept. officials improperly sought to help Trump overturn the election

ADThe Justice Department’s inspector general announced Monday an investigation into whether any current or former department officials tried to improperly “alter the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election” — a broad review that follows that then-President Donald Trump considered replacing his acting attorney general with another appointee more amenable to his unfounded claims of voter fraud.Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced the review in a two- paragraph news release, although he noted his jurisdiction would be limited to “allegations concerning the conduct...

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Robert Barnes
Jan 25
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Supreme Court dismisses bid led by Texas attorney general to overturn the presidential election results, blocking Trump’s legal path to a reversal of his loss

Supreme Court dismisses bid led by Texas attorney general to overturn the presidential election results, blocking Trump’s legal path to a reversal of his loss

ADThe Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a long-shot bid by President Trump and the state of Texas to overturn the results in four states won by Democrat Joe Biden, blocking the president’s legal path to reverse his reelection loss. was short, and it denied Texas’s request to sue Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin over how they conducted their elections. Texas has not shown it has a legal interest “in the manner in which another state conducts its elections,” the order said. It dismissed all pending motions about the case.Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Clarence Thomas said they...

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Robert Barnes
Dec 11
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Supreme Court sides with California church protesting coronavirus restrictions

Supreme Court sides with California church protesting coronavirus restrictions

ADThe Supreme Court on Thursday sided with a California church protesting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pandemic-related restrictions on indoor worship services. It said a lower court should heed a decision by the justices last week blocking similar restrictions in New York.The , which contained no noted dissents, seems to leave in place for now the Democratic governor’s substantial limitations, which in some places serve as a ban on indoor services.But it threw out a district court’s order upholding the restrictions in the state, which like many others is seeing a spike in cases. The state’s ICU...

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Robert Barnes
Dec 3
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Alito homes in on gay marriage, gun rights, religious liberty in stern speech to conservatives

Alito homes in on gay marriage, gun rights, religious liberty in stern speech to conservatives

When a public official says he is pessimistic that his comments won’t be twisted or misunderstood but then adds, “here goes,” even he knows something controversial is coming up.That’s how Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. began his rock-ribbed and unusual speech to the Federalist Society on Thursday night. He recited “previously unimaginable” pandemic-related restrictions on individual freedoms and lamented that freedom of speech, religion and gun rights are in danger of “second-tier” constitutional status.He delivered a brushback to liberal Democratic senators who have criticized...

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Robert Barnes
Nov 13
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Supreme Court rejects request to extend Wisconsin’s deadline for counting mail-in ballots

Supreme Court rejects request to extend Wisconsin’s deadline for counting mail-in ballots

The Supreme Court on Monday night rejected a pandemic-related request from Democrats and civil rights groups to extend the deadline for counting mail-in ballots received after Election Day in the battleground state of Wisconsin.The vote was 5 to 3, with the court’s liberals in dissent.Conservative justices said federal courts were interfering too much in election procedure choices that should be left to local officials.“It’s indisputable that Wisconsin has made considerable efforts to accommodate early voting and respond to COVID,” . “The district court’s only possible complaint is that the...

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Robert Barnes
Oct 26
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