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I am helping some students study and analyze some famous SC cases. I thought maybe this could be an interesting topic here. What cases do you think were ruled incorrectly? Why? What impact has that had?

 

My only 2 caveats are:

1. If a case has already been overturned, we don't need to discuss it unless we think  the case  overturning it was a mistake

2. No mention of Roe v Wade. Please don't drag this down that rabbit hole. We have other threads for this. 

 

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Vernonia School District v. Acton (1995) - The Court held that schools have the right to involuntarily drug test students involved in extracurricular activities (sports, band, etc.) because students involved in those activities have a lower expectation of privacy.  The justification put forward by Scalia for this lower expectation of privacy was kids involved in those activities often engage in communal undressing and communal showering.  Suuuuuuuper creepy decision, and wrongly decided IMO.  Don't we want to ENCOURAGE kids to participate in extracurriculars as a way of keeping them off drugs?  Do they really give up their 4th Amendment rights, which ordinarily requires some level of factual basis justifying a search, just because they changed in the locker room or took a shower after the game?   

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https://listverse.com/2014/10/11/10-strange-supreme-court-cases-with-lasting-impacts/

#10 could have impact on drones or future flying cars. 

#9 - are pillows stuffed animals?

#7 - how and who has the control of labeling a product.

#6 - could see it entering into the privacy of a home owner or attempt to be used to infringe on internet use, possibly.

#5 - watch the movie but can’t show it in school. The court case could enter into things like Trump and someone else so insecure about image.

#4 - what is a chemical weapon?

#3 - who gets social security benefits? Maybe revisiting this question is paramount.

#2 - an attempt at The Handmaid’s Tale? Or, just a way to control what can be said?

#1 - cable companies are bad, right? How may they be limited?

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7 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

First one that came to my mind.

Fisher v. University of Texas is next. 

What do you think was wrong with that decision?  Personally, I'd rather see Edward Blum lose all of his race-based cases.

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Just now, -fish- said:

What do you think was wrong with that decision?  Personally, I'd rather see Edward Blum lose all of his race-based cases.

Government entities should not be engaging in open racial discrimination.  This one should have been an open-and-shut 14th amendment case IMO.  The Harvard case is going to result in a reversal.

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2 minutes ago, Don Quixote said:

Korematsu was disavowed in the travel ban case. So, I don't think it meets the criteria set out.

It meets the original criteria because it was never overturned. Being repudiated 70 years later in dictum is not the same thing.

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9 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

Government entities should not be engaging in open racial discrimination.  This one should have been an open-and-shut 14th amendment case IMO.  The Harvard case is going to result in a reversal.

Highly doubt it.   The Harvard case is just thinly veiled racism disguised as protecting Asian-Americans.  

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20 minutes ago, Workhorse said:

Shelby County v. Holder.

All you need to do is look at how successfully voter suppression has been employed in certain states since that decision.

More Edward Blum.   He's a peach.

Edited by -fish-
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2 hours ago, Black Box said:

Not a lawyer, but Kelo has always boggled my mind.

Upside is it prompted states to strengthen state laws against eminent domain abuse.

Kelo is the most puzzling.  Democrats hate Citizen United, but I will never fault a court for siding on free speech.   

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15 minutes ago, Maurile Tremblay said:

The reasoning in Bush v. Gore was pretty heavily criticized.

Lochner v. New York is the big one for con-law nerds, as well as Wickard v. Filburn (and related: Gonzales v. Raich).

Bush v. Gore just saved time and a headache.  There was no path for Gore winning despite what was a bit of convoluted reasoning.   

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1 minute ago, jon_mx said:

Bush v. Gore just saved time and a headache.  There was no path for Gore winning despite what was a bit of convoluted reasoning.   

Outside of actually counting all the ballots, which was why the recount was stopped.

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2 minutes ago, squistion said:

Outside of actually counting all the ballots, which was why the recount was stopped.

Even if there was a vote count and Gore won, the House still certifies Bush as president as that count is meaningless in the Constitutional process. 

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5 minutes ago, jon_mx said:

Even if there was a vote count and Gore won, the House still certifies Bush as president as that count is meaningless in the Constitutional process. 

Where do you get this?

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2 minutes ago, -fish- said:

Where do you get this?

Get what?  The deadline for the states to get their certified list of electors is December 12th.   The house gets to certify who the winner is and it was controlled by the GOP.   The Constitution made anything the court tried to do meaningless at that point.   That was largely why the Supreme Court ended it when they did.  

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13 minutes ago, jon_mx said:

Get what?  The deadline for the states to get their certified list of electors is December 12th.   The house gets to certify who the winner is and it was controlled by the GOP.   The Constitution made anything the court tried to do meaningless at that point.   That was largely why the Supreme Court ended it when they did.  

Electors were scheduled to meet Dec. 18.  Had the SC ruled that the recount could be completed and that the alternative methods of determining votes were valid, the recount would have been valid.

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1 hour ago, Maurile Tremblay said:

The reasoning in Bush v. Gore was pretty heavily criticized.

I agree, but the outcome was correct.  The Florida election ended in a statistical tie -- no amount of hand counting was ever going to arrive at the "true" vote tally because such a thing isn't observable given the margin of error involved.  The sane thing to do was to count the votes the first time, recanvass them, and then call it.  Everything that came after that part should never have happened.

Edit: I'm not a fan of electronic voting machines -- my sense is that they tend to undermine the integrity of elections because they lend themselves to conspiracy theories in a way that paper ballots don't -- but they do have a significant advantage in this particular area.  There's nothing to recount, so they eliminate the possibility of this particular sort of trainwreck.

Edit 2: Fun fact -- John Allen Paulos made the "statistical tie" argument in late November 2000, which apparently worked its way into the legal record.  He felt very badly about that in 2015.  I thought I should include that part out of fairness.  

Edited by IvanKaramazov
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25 minutes ago, -fish- said:

Electors were scheduled to meet Dec. 18.  Had the SC ruled that the recount could be completed and that the alternative methods of determining votes were valid, the recount would have been valid.

It is the first Wednesday after the second Monday....in 2000, that was December 13.   

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11 minutes ago, jon_mx said:

It is the first Wednesday after the second Monday....in 2000, that was December 13.   

The safe harbor date and the meeting of electors are different things.  Had the SC ruled differently and the recount completed on time, the result would have been the result of the recount.   

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2 hours ago, -fish- said:

The safe harbor date and the meeting of electors are different things.  Had the SC ruled differently and the recount completed on time, the result would have been the result of the recount.   

The Republican Florida legislature was prepared to make sure they met the safe harbor date.   There was zero chance that any Florida court attempt to usurp power was going to succeed.   

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21 minutes ago, jon_mx said:

The Republican Florida legislature was prepared to make sure they met the safe harbor date.   There was zero chance that any Florida court attempt to usurp power was going to succeed.   

The case was heard in the SC on December 11.  Had the SC ruled differently the recount would have been completed.  Personally, I think the decision was right but the reasoning was a reach.  But since whether the court could affect the safe harbor date was one of the issues the SC considered, it was not a forgone conclusion that the legislature could act at that point.  Plus the SC stayed the recounts for 8 days before it heard argument, so it may have caused the delay that made the timely recount impossible.   

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5 hours ago, Ketamine Dreams said:

Agree. This case is what came to my mind. Totally botched this ruling 

Amazing thing is large segments of the right, left, and libertarians (of course) think it was a terrible ruling.

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8 hours ago, Maurile Tremblay said:

The reasoning in Bush v. Gore was pretty heavily criticized.

Lochner v. New York is a big one for con-law nerds, as well as Wickard v. Filburn (and related: Gonzales v. Raich).

Wickard and Raich were what I came in to post. 

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One decision that hasn't been mentioned, and makes a perfect entry to constitutionalism and civil rights, is The Slaughter-House Cases and the denial of the extension of the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the states. This might not be appropriate for the level of a high school class, though. This is a case that future justices, including Thomas and Scalia among them, thought led to an errant extension of both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses to the states from the federal bench. It would have, they argued, been jurisprudentially neater to simply have relied on a different interpretation of the P & I Clause to decide the case and subsequent cases that involved the same question. Instead, we got the Lochner Era, The Warren Court, and the use of Substantive Due Process plus the torturous use of the EP Clause to ensure more substantive rights at the state level than those Clauses textually and originally were intended to bear, in some people's opinions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slaughter-House_Cases

I would second Kelo and Wickard as the two cases that the Supreme Court got really wrong on all accounts, though the utility of the Interstate Commerce Clause was indeed radically transformed, some would say for the better, by Wickard. Wickard is more of a partisan one than Kelo is, which cut through all political stripes and was received as a terrible decision and frankly, an un-American one. Plessy is also one, but it was de facto overruled 9-0 by a policy-based decision in Brown v. Board Of Education and subsequent cases to it. 

Neat fact about Kelo to me: My former Dean and a near-adjunct prof of mine (I dropped the class) argued that case for Connecticut at the state level. Both are flaming liberals, if you'll forgive me politics for the moment. The Dean was also my Property professor and used a former students' essentially Marxist casebook to teach property law. Wes Horton was an adjunct prof of appellate law, as well he should have been, winning the two biggest cases at the state level in recent memory. 

The Dean tried to sell the case as an example of federalism and allowing state legislatures to govern as they saw fit. Yeah, right...wonder what he thought about Roe and federalism...just saying. Anyhoo...that's my two cents. 

 

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On 5/22/2019 at 2:02 PM, Black Box said:

Not a lawyer, but Kelo has always boggled my mind.

Upside is it prompted states to strengthen state laws against eminent domain abuse.

Speaking of Kelo, we have a related eminent domain situation come up.  This one in New York, rather than Connecticut (that these are both deep blue states should be no surprise).

Southhold Town wants to condemn a piece of land simply because it doesn't want a hardware store there.  The town had run out of moratoriums, thrown up huge BS fees for a permit, then offered a pittance for the land (refused by the owners), then has now decided to condemn it under eminent domain to build a park.  Note that the park wasn't contemplated prior to any of this - this was a contemporaneous "decision" made after the land purchase didn't go through to stop development.    Basically, they are trying to use the machinery of government for unabashed theft of private property.  Given Kelo, though, I'm not sure if it isn't allowed under NY law.  I know many states passed laws after Kelo, but I doubt NY was one of those.

Truly infuriating government actions here.

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Just now, E Street Brat said:

I'm not a scotus nerd. But whatever they ruled on that has allowed the ridiculous civil forfeiture laws to stand. Definitely deserves another look

I used to know some fairly big-time drug dealers (don't ask). I'll never forget the day one had his baby's mother turn him in to the cops. He had a house full of "bartered" and purchased stuff, stuff you'd never know the value of unless you were specifically in tune with that sort of thing (think of the movie Say Anything). Anyway, the day after he got arrested, they'd cleaned the whole place of all this ridiculously expensive stuff from top to bottom, from shank to flank, really. Poor guy. I don't think he could even afford his own defense attorney because they took everything. While he was out on bail, I dropped by to visit. I just remember that house, man. Totally empty. Very sad. I wonder if he's still in prison.

They really should end that ####.

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Posted (edited)

Okay  I realize that this "ask" was from two years ago, but my non lawyer answer would be 

Either-

Federal Baseball Club v. National League  which ruled baseball was not interstate commerce or all the cases just like it that it for other traveling exhibitions of the same era where they ruled the other way.  Or maybe even virtually any other "interstate commerce" decision.   I did say either or, as I could imagine that quite a few think that Federal (and other baseball "precedential islands") were the exception cases actually decided correctly.

Edited by Bottomfeeder Sports
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Interesting recent twist on Kelo - the Pfizer facility that was at the heart of the case (the main reason for the proposed development in New London) was the location where Pfizer's CV-19 vaccine research and development began.  There was a legitimate "public use" argument after all, albeit 15 years after the fact.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, CletiusMaximus said:

Interesting recent twist on Kelo - the Pfizer facility that was at the heart of the case (the main reason for the proposed development in New London) was the location where Pfizer's CV-19 vaccine research and development began.  There was a legitimate "public use" argument after all, albeit 15 years after the fact.

I thought that land in New London was for housing and that it lay fallow for quite a while?  So that land is now a Pfizer R&D facility?  Something tells me that Pfizer could have bought and developed a place like that anywhere, though.  I don't recall anything unique or special about that plot of land.  Nor am I a big fan of condemning land to give it to a private entity.

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1 minute ago, Sand said:
4 minutes ago, CletiusMaximus said:

Interesting recent twist on Kelo - the Pfizer facility that was at the heart of the case (the main reason for the proposed development in New London) was the location where Pfizer's CV-19 vaccine research and development began.  There was a legitimate "public use" argument after all, albeit 15 years after the fact.

I thought that land in New London was for housing and that it lay fallow for quite a while?  So that land is now a Pfizer R&D facility?  Something tells me that Pfizer could have bought and developed a place like that anywhere, though.  I don't recall anything unique or special about that plot of land.  Nor am I a big fan of condemning land to give it to a private entity.

You're correct - it was a housing, commercial, mixed-use development, which was meant to serve employees from a new Pfizer facility in New London. 

 

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11 hours ago, Terminalxylem said:

This, plus whatever case established corporate personhood (Citizens United?).

Citizens United and Hobby Lobby are two recent cases based in part on Corporations having constitutional rights (free speech and religious freedom), but the legal concept has been around for a long time - like, it came over on the Mayflower. 

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18 hours ago, Sand said:

Speaking of Kelo, we have a related eminent domain situation come up.  This one in New York, rather than Connecticut (that these are both deep blue states should be no surprise).

I hardly think eminent domain is a blue state thing, so it is sort of a surprise that you word it that way. We only have to go back a couple months to find a red state in Texas gobbling up land via eminent domain to build a wall

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, dawgtrails said:

I hardly think eminent domain is a blue state thing, so it is sort of a surprise that you word it that way. We only have to go back a couple months to find a red state in Texas gobbling up land via eminent domain to build a wall

Borders, roads, bridges, sewers, etc. are actual public use reasons for eminent domain.  Remember Kelo, as noted above, was about taking houses from people to build high priced condos for richer people.  

My comment, at least in these two cases, happened in deep blue states.  And they both happened to be complete BS reasons to expropriate private property.  

Edited by Sand
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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Terminalxylem said:

This, plus whatever case established corporate personhood (Citizens United?).

I tend to agree, though I'd be lying if I didn't find it absolutely hilarious that this voice the GOP fought for, they are now rebuking because that voice doesn't like what they are doing and is speaking out against them.  Now the line is "just give us your money and stay out of politics".  Can't make that kind of stuff up :lol: 

Edited by The Commish
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