What would June be like if we didn't have landmark, groundbreaking Supreme Court decisions to talk about? Today's session did not include the Big Decisions pending on DOMA, Prop 8, or the Voting Rights Act, but we always have tomorrow, when they will release more opinions.
Today's opinions, however, can only be seen as a complete bow to the United States Chamber of Commerce, who was the beneficiary of 3 out of 4 of their decisions. The 4th, on affirmative action, was a punt back to the circuit court by all of the justices but Justice Ginsberg.
I previewed the case in February 2012 when the Court decided to hear it, and you should review that diary to understand the facts of UT's policy. In short, UT's admissions process beyond its Top Ten Percent policy included a Personal Achievement Index which in turn included a "special circumstances" element which could reflect the socioeconomic status of the applicant and his or her high school, the applicant's family status and family responsibilities, the applicant's standardized test score compared to the average of her high school, and the applicant's race.
According to the Court, the Fifth Circuit erred by treating the UT policy as having been adopted in good faith, and was overly deferential to the university's assertions regarding how the policy worked in practice and how necessary it was. While achieving racial diversity remains a constitutionally permissible goal, Justice Kennedy explained, a more searching review of such policies is required: [Read the rest]
With affirmative action booted downstairs, the court turned to concerns of the US Chamber.
In less than one week, the Supreme Court has issued four decisions immunizing corporate defendants from liability for their wrongdoings and closing the courthouse door to individuals seeking redress. The Court handed victories to the pro-corporate U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has an unprecedented success rate before the Roberts Court and which filed amicus briefs in all of the cases.