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NEWS
July 2, 2014 | CHRISTINE FLOWERS
THAT "THUD" you just heard was the sound of progressives, secularists and freebie-seekers thumping their foreheads in anguish. Or perhaps it was the rumble as millions of religious folk fell to their knees in gratitude that the Supreme Court had, for once in a blue moon, gotten the free-exercise clause of the First Amendment right. Or it possibly could have been the clamor of bricks from that imaginary Wall Between Church and State, crumbling to the ground in a felicitous heap.
BUSINESS
July 2, 2014 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
The U.S. Supreme Court gave the go-ahead Monday to a lawsuit by victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the government of Saudi Arabia, alleging it indirectly financed al-Qaeda in the years before the hijackings. The justices declined to hear an appeal by the Saudi government of a lower-court ruling that the lawsuit could go forward. The high court also declined to hear a separate appeal by 9/11 victims of a lower-court decision preventing them from suing dozens of banks and individuals that allegedly provided financial assistance to the hijackers.
NEWS
June 28, 2014 | By Martha Woodall and Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writers
In what the Philadelphia teachers' union hailed as a major victory, the state Supreme Court said Thursday that it would not get involved in whether the School Reform Commission has the authority to bypass seniority and impose other work rule changes. In the spring, the commission asked the state's top court to declare that it had the power under the state takeover law to impose the changes, including disregarding seniority for teacher assignments, transfers, layoffs and recalls. The 11,000-member Philadelphia Federation of Teachers opposed the SRC's moves.
NEWS
June 27, 2014
Before lawmakers congratulate themselves on proposals to trim one of the most bloated legislatures in the nation, they need to scrap companion cuts slated for the state appellate courts. No question, there's room for spirited debate on the merits of shrinking the state House by 25 percent, from 203 to 153 members, and reducing the state Senate from 50 to 45 members. But the suggestion that the state's busiest appellate court could sacrifice four of its 15 judges, with another pair lopped off the state's seven-member Supreme Court, hasn't been tested.
BUSINESS
June 25, 2014 | By Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer
Television broadcasters' case against streaming company Aereo Inc. at the U.S. Supreme Court - a legal face-off that some say could disrupt the TV business - seems to be going down to the wire. The Supreme Court released three new opinions on Monday, leaving Aereo for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Monday, legal experts say. "These are not easy decisions," Neil Begley, the media and entertainment analyst with Moody's Investor Service, said Monday. "There is enormous potential precedent here.
NEWS
June 25, 2014 | By Suzette Parmley, Inquirer Staff Writer
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dashed New Jersey's hopes to institute sports betting at Atlantic City casinos and the state's racetracks by upholding a federal ban that limits the activity to four states and denying the state's appeal of a lower court ruling. Last year, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia upheld a trial judge's ruling that sided with the four professional sports leagues - Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NHL, and the NBA, as well as the NCAA - and shot down New Jersey's attempt to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA)
NEWS
June 11, 2014 | By Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer
  Pennsylvania has more inmates convicted as juveniles for murder and sentenced to life without parole than any other place in the world. That distinction was reinforced Monday by a U.S. Supreme Court decision. The high court declined to hear an appeal by juvenile-justice advocates to revisit the sentences of those prisoners. "We are obviously disappointed," said Marsha Levick, deputy director and chief counsel of the Juvenile Law Center, a national, nonprofit, public-interest law firm for children, based in Center City.
NEWS
June 9, 2014
With the exception of a slightly sore thumb, Carol Anne Bond's attempt to poison her husband's mistress missed the mark. But the Lansdale microbiologist's potion - mixed from chemicals gleaned from her workplace, at Rohm & Haas, and, alarmingly enough, some browsing on Amazon.com - had an intoxicating effect on the Supreme Court. Not only did Bond v. United States culminate last week in a Supreme Court opinion loaded with unappetizing references to toxic burritos and poisoned fish.
NEWS
June 4, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday threw out the conviction of a Lansdale woman who tried to poison a romantic rival, ruling unanimously that federal prosecutors in Philadelphia overreacted by charging her under antiterrorism law. Though her lawyers called the decision a victory, it came too late for Carol Anne Bond, 42, who served six years in federal prison after pleading guilty to chemical weapons charges in 2007. In an opinion dripping with sarcasm, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. chided prosecutors in Philadelphia for equating "an amateur attempt by a jilted wife to injure her husband's lover" with an attack prohibited under a 1997 treaty banning chemical weapons.
NEWS
May 18, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
The state Supreme Court has granted a temporary restraining order that bars the Philadelphia School Reform Commission from taking action against a charter school. It marks the first time the top court has entered the dispute over the powers the commission has to ignore state law in order to protect its finances by managing charter enrollment. On Thursday, the court approved West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School's request to decide whether the law that led to the state takeover of the district in 2001 permits the SRC to suspend parts of other laws to deal with the district's financial crisis.
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