June 25, 2012


The Court has summarily overturned Montana’s strict campaign finance law limiting corporate election contributions in a 5 to 4 decision, putting an end to the state's resistance to Citizens United and effectively expanding that controversial ruling to the state and local elections. Here is the one-page per curiam decision and the dissent from Justice Breyer.

The Court ruled 5 to 4 that sentencing a juvenile to life in prison without the possibility of parole violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Here is the opinion by Justice Kagan, with a concurring opinion by Justice Breyer, a dissenting opinion by Chief Justice Roberts, a dissenting opinion by Justice Thomas, and a dissenting opinion by Justice Alito.

The Court has invalidated most key provisions of SB 1070, the Arizona immigration law, saying they are preempted by federal law in a 5 to 3 ruling. This does not include one of the most controversial provisions that requires police officers to check a person’s immigration status if there is a “reasonable suspicion” that they are in the U.S. illegally after they are stopped for a separate crime. However, the Court did not preclude overturning this provision based on racial profiling claims that were not included in this case. Here's the opinion by Justice Kennedy, with Justice Scalia concurring and dissenting in part, Justice Thomas concurring and dissenting in part, and Justice Altio concurring and dissenting in part.

Justice Kagan did not take part in the case because she oversaw the federal government’s role in the case as Solicitor General.

The remaining decisions, including health care reform law, will be announced on Thursday, June 28, 2012.

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