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Supreme Court Punts On Affirmative Action, No Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

The United States Supreme Court, Washington, D.C.

The United States Supreme Court, Washington, D.C.

They say that the waiting is the most difficult part. Today, all eyes were on the United States Supreme Court as they handed down a variety of opinions on several issues. However, three rulings were the most watched for- two involving same-sex marriage and one involving voting rights. Opinions were handed down in reverse order of seniority, so it began with Justice Samuel Alito’s written opinions.

The Court punted Affirmative Action based upon a previous rulings; however, they noted that the courts did not hold the University of Texas to the stricter earlier standard, but that the aim to have a more diverse student body is a valid aim of racial decisions in the admissions process of a school. This means it will be reargued. According to the Court “The reviewing court must ultimately be satisfied that no workable race-neutral alternatives would produce the educational benefits of diversity.”

The Court sent it back to the lower court to be reargued.

Unfortunately, the three big cases did not come out this day. Same-sex marriage and voting rights will have to wait for another day as the Court appears to be gun shy about announcing those rulings.

The Fischer v. University of Texas case has been one of the second tier to watch cases, and was argued all the way back in October.

Another important case was United States v. Kebodeaux. That case involved the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. The Court reversed the lower court’s decision and found that Congress can require sex offenders to register with the national registry even if they had already served their sentence and been discharged when SORNA was enacted. The Court said that Congress had the power to do that under the Necessary and Proper Clause.

The Court noted that Kebedaux was already required to register under the Wetterling Act when SORNA went into effect, so that the new law only modified his registration. The court stated “Congress could reasonably conclude that registration requirements applied to federal sex offenders after their release can help protect the public from those federal sex offenders and alleviate public safety concerns.”

Thanks to SCOTUS Blog for the live coverage.



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