April 15, 2013 |
As legal questions go, it is very succinct: Can human genes be patented? To the uninitiated, and at least two judges, it might seem obvious - or absurd. How can you get a patent for human genes? Aren't genes part of the human body, part of nature? Can you get a patent for a human leg or kidney, or the sun or the moon? The U.S. Supreme Court will wrestle with the question of whether human genes are patentable during oral arguments Monday in a case that could have huge implications for people needing cancer testing, scientific researchers, and pharmaceutical organizations, but also agricultural producers, other industries, and, perhaps, individual liberty.
April 5, 2013 |
A state Supreme Court decision overturning a 2011 law that permitted counties to abolish the post of jury commissioner, an elected position that oversees jury selection, has sown confusion ahead of the fall elections. The problem: Counties that had planned to abolish the posts after the current commissioners' terms expired this year found they had no candidates filed to run for the suddenly available positions. With many counties now relying heavily on computers to manage jury selection, the legislature two years ago gave local jurisdictions the option of doing away with the position.
April 2, 2013
In a city where there is seldom a reason to celebrate, plans for the first new supermarket in three decades are welcome. The news in Camden may seem like a small thing to suburban residents, who can choose from a variety of supermarkets that compete for their business and offer extensive selections of fruits and vegetables. But many impoverished places like Camden have few stores large enough to carry much fresh food, leading to their classification as "food deserts. " The planned ShopRite holds promise not only for healthier eating habits in Camden, but also a desperately needed economic boost.
April 1, 2013
IF THE Defense of Marriage Act had been named for what it really is, it may never have made it to the Supreme Court. Very few Washington politicians would have had the guts to sponsor or sign "The Denial of Marriage Act," a name reflecting its actual purpose. Instead, we have the highest court in the land deliberating over a cynical ploy that disguises discrimination in the cloak of righteousness. The operative word in the Defense of Marriage Act is not "defense. " It's "Act. " Associate Justice Elena Kagan stripped away the false façade to question the true motivation of the Congress that passed it. Was Congress really trying to write a law to protect marriage, she asked?
March 31, 2013 |
NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenya's Supreme Court on Saturday upheld the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as the country's next president, and the loser accepted that verdict, ending an election season that riveted the nation amid fears of a repeat of the 2007-08 postelection violence. Jubilant Kenyatta supporters flooded the streets of downtown Nairobi, honking horns, blowing plastic noise-makers, and chanting. But supporters of defeated Prime Minister Rail Odinga were angry, and shortly after the verdict, police fired tear gas at them outside the Supreme Court.
March 29, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that the federal government can be sued for abuse claims against prison guards. The high court ruled for Kim Lee Millbrook, a prisoner at the federal prison in Lewisburg, Pa., who had accused prison guards of sexually assaulting him in May 2010. Prison officials said Millbrook's claim was unsubstantiated. Millbrook, a frequent litigant, is being held in a high-security federal prison designated as a Special Management Unit for violent and disruptive inmates, and does not have e-mail or phone privileges.
March 28, 2013
PENNSYLVANIA'S highest court faces what can reasonably be called one heck of a mess. And if you think it's just stuff lawyers fight over that can't affect you, the economy, state politics and whatever's left of trust in government, think again. The state Supreme Court will soon decide on (still-pending) legislative redistricting, issues critical to the future of natural-gas drilling . . . and it's only a matter of time before it (again) gets a case involving voter ID. This mix is muddied by infighting and the fact that the seven-member court is short one justice and operating with a three-three party split.
March 26, 2013 |
BOSTON - Two-time Pulitzer winner Anthony Lewis, whose New York Times column championed liberal causes for three decades, died Monday. He was 85. Lewis was married to Margaret Marshall, former chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. She retired in 2010 to spend more time with her husband after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. A court spokeswoman confirmed his death. Lewis worked for 32 years as a columnist for theNew York Times. His Pulitzers came during his years as a reporter.
March 26, 2013 |
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin submitted her resignation Monday, a month after she was convicted on public corruption charges. Orie Melvin is due to be sentenced May 7 and in a letter to Gov. Corbett said "it is with deep regret and a broken heart" that she tendered her resignation, effective May 1. "It has been my honor and privilege to serve the people of this Commonwealth for the past 28 years, and I am deeply saddened that I am not able to fulfill my commission.
March 25, 2013
In a story March 4 concerning referral fees received by the wife of state Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery, The Inquirer reported that the wife, Lise Rapaport, had worked as a judicial aide since 1997. The newspaper has since learned that Rapaport was on leave from Jan. 15 to Dec. 17, 2007, and received no pay or benefits from the court during that period, according to court officials. Records show that during 2007, Rapaport was a paid staffer for her husband's campaign to win a seat on the Supreme Court.