Live: Supreme Court Decisions - Live Blogs & Updates - ABCNews

Live: Supreme Court Decisions

Awaiting key decisions in Washington, D.C. from the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage and the Voting Rights Act.

  • Welcome to our live blog for the Supreme Court's decision day, Jun 25, 2013. It's the second decision day of the week. 

    On Monday the court handed down a decision that kept in place the University of Texas affirmative action policy, but suggested it should be held to a higher standard. Look for that one to make its way back to the court in the years to come. 

    For a full round-up of yesterday's decision, check out our report from Ariane de Vogue and Abby Phillip HERE.
  • What's Happening Today? We Don't Know Yet

    Our court watcher Ariane de Vogue points out that  opinions will be released at 10 AM. There are 6 cases left to be decided.  She expects there to be one more day of opinions although we have no guidance on the exact day. 

    We are waiting, of course,  for the voting rights case and the gay marriage cases (and reporters are praying they aren’t released on the same day).

  • Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl

    The most covered cases are the ones concerning gay marriage and the Voting Rights Act. But there are eight others, including a poignant case that Ariane describes like this:

    This case pits a federal law meant to protect Indian parents and their children against South Carolina state law.

    Baby Veronica was put up for adoption at birth by her biological mother  three years ago. Her biological father had relinquished his parental rights via text message. But when the biological father learned of the adoption he challenged it. He said he never would have sent the email if he thought the baby was going to be put up for adoption.

     Because the man is part Indian he was backed by powerful lawyers of the Cherokee Nation. His lawyers fought to block the adoption and won  citing the federal law, the Child Welfare Act of 1978.  The South Carolina Supreme Court “with a heavy heart” said that while state law would have allowed the adoption, federal law did not. In Court, a lawyer for the adoptive couple argued passionately that the federal law meant to keep Indian families together should not be used in the circumstance of an absentee father. 

    Read some of the arguments in that case HERE.

  • Here's Terry Moran's piece for World News on yesterday's affirmative action decision. He's up at the court today too.

  • Speaking now outside the court: Edward Blum, the conservative activist who hand-picked the cases in both the affirmative action case decided yesterday and the voting rights act case decided today. It's been a big week for him. 

    He said the American South long ago laid down disenfranchisement and the nation should have a one-size-fits-all set of laws where it comes to voting.
  • Some conservatives aren't happy with today's decision because it keeps Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (although it requires Congress to write an update) - Here's what Carrie Carrie Severino, Chief Counsel  of Judicial Crisis Network said:

    Today's decision brings the Voting Rights Act into the 21st century.
     It is absurd to use limited federal dollars scrutinizing minor changes to
    voting procedures in Alaska when we could be prosecuting actual
    instances of voter discrimination and intimidation.
     As 2012
    Census Bureau data now shows, the jurisdictions covered by Section 5 under
    the outdated formula actually had higher black voter turnout that non-Section 5
     Ensuring that all Americans receive equal treatment at the ballot
    box is fundamental to a democratic society and is too important a mission to
    be based on 40-year-old data.

    Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the high court, was making her argument about how the majority opinion made it easier for sexual harassment to occur in the workplace when Alito, seated immediately to Ginsburg’s left, shook his head from side to side in disagreement, rolled his eyes and looked at the ceiling.

    Days earlier, I watched as he demonstrated his disdain for Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, the two other women on the court. Kagan, the newest justice, prefaced her reading of an opinion in a low-profile case by joking that it was “possibly not” the case the audience had come to hear. The audience responded with laughter, a few justices smiled — and Alito, seated at Kagan’s right elbow, glowered.

    His treatment of the 80-year-old Ginsburg, 17 years his elder and with 13 years more seniority, was a curious display of judicial temperament or, more accurately, judicial intemperance. Typically, justices state their differences in words — and Alito, as it happens, had just spoken several hundred of his own from the bench. But he frequently supplements words with middle-school gestures.

  • Here's more conservative reaction... this from "Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage foundation...

    If Congress had updated the coverage formula
    to use registration and turnout data from the 2004 election,
    none of
    the states currently subject to Section 5 would have remained covered because
    the registration and turnout of black voters is on par with white voters and
    exceeds that of white voters in some of the covered states.
      It is a
    victim of its own success and is no longer needed.
    Despite claims to the
    contrary, Americans will continue to be protected from discrimination by the
    other permanent provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

  • Clarence Thomas Would Have Found Section 5 Unconstitutional

    Ariane de Vogue points out there is one voice that stood out on the Voting Rights Act decision: 

    Thomas went much further than his colleagues. He would have
    struck Section 5 of the law which requires states –mostly in the South—with a
    history of discrimination to get any changes in voting laws approved by federal
    officials in Washington.
    “While the Court claims to issue no holding on section 5
    itself, its own opinion compellingly demonstrates that Congress has failed to
    justify current burdens with a record demonstrating current needs.
    By leaving
    the inevitable conclusion unstated , the Court needlessly prolongs the demise
    of that provision.
    For the reasons stated in the Court’s opinion, I would find
    Section 5 unconstitutional”

  • Biden: We Will Do 'Everything In Our Power' To Ensure Fair Voting 

    ABC's Mary Bruce reports: Vice President Joe Biden said today he is “disappointed” with the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act and vowed to work with Congress to address the Court’s concerns and ensure fair voting.

    “Today's decision upset a well-established practice,” Biden said. “The Voting Rights Act has been repeatedly enacted by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in the Congress.

    “Voting is a fundamental right, it's the foundation of our democracy. The Voting Rights Act has been critical and an effective means to guarantee that core right,” he added.

    Speaking at the top of a White House event marking the 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act, Biden reiterated that not all of the Voting Rights Act was struck down.

    “It says the Congress can pass new legislation,” he said of the ruling. “They struck down a section that talked about new regulations ensuring that every American has equal access to the polls. We're going to work with Congress on this effort, and the administration is going to do everything in our power to ensure fair and equal voting processes are maintained.

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