June 27, 2003
The U.S. Supreme Court did something sensible, significant and overdue yesterday. In overturning a Texas law that criminalized gay sex, it affirmed what should have been obvious all along in a democracy with a Bill of Rights: The government should not bust down people's doors and arrest them for intimate acts of mutual consent. The court affirmed that, in a nation with a Bill of Rights, every citizen has a zone of privacy that government should not violate - except for a compelling national interest.
August 31, 2016 |
Of all the votes I cast as a state senator, it might be the one I regret the most. I hope current members of the Pennsylvania Senate don't make the same mistake this year when they consider the oppressive, new abortion restrictions contained in House Bill 1948. In 2011, legislation came before the state Senate to place new requirements on abortion providers. In the wake of the Dr. Kermit Gosnell matter, the legislation was couched as an effort to protect women's health. Too late, I realized it was really an attack on lawful abortion providers and on women's rights.
January 23, 2014 |
Could headline-grabbing scenarios like those in Texas and California involving brain-dead patients happen here? Yes, experts say. First, Texas: Marlise Munoz, 33, was found by her husband, Erick, at 2 a.m. Nov. 26 on their 2-year-old son's bedroom floor. Her heart had stopped for perhaps an hour after a pulmonary embolism. Her husband began CPR, called 911. She was 14 weeks pregnant. Her family stated from the beginning - only confirmed by the hospital last week - that Munoz was brain-dead.
October 21, 1997 |
The Supreme Court voted yesterday to let stand a controversial Texas sentencing law that four justices said "unquestionably tips the scales" in favor of the death penalty in capital-punishment cases. The court's most liberal justices - John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer - said they found the statute "especially troubling. " The law requires that juries be told in noncapital cases when a defendant will become eligible for parole. But Texas law prohibits juries from hearing the same information when the choice is a life sentence or death.
June 24, 1986 |
The Supreme Court announced yesterday that it would step into the huge- stakes struggle between Pennzoil Co. and Texaco Inc. The justices will rule, probably in 1987, whether Texas law can force Texaco to post a $12 billion bond while it appeals an $11.1 billion judgment obtained by Pennzoil in a Texas state court. And, in a decision that will save hundreds of millions of dollars a year for the federal government, the high court ruled 6-1 that the federal government can tax the group insurance plan operated by the tax-exempt American Bar Endowment.
June 29, 2016 |
In a big win for abortion-rights advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Texas abortion law that required clinics to meet hospital-like surgical standards and doctors to get admitting privileges at a local hospital. The 5-3 ruling was the most significant since Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992, which set the precedent that states could impose abortion restrictions as long as they did not create an "undue burden" on women seeking abortions. An undue burden existed if a restriction's "purpose or effect is to place substantial obstacles" in the path of women who want an abortion, including "unnecessary health regulations.
July 6, 2012 |
It's appropriate that our Fourth of July celebrations coincided with a moment when the Supreme Court's health-care decision prompted intense debate over the purpose of our government and what the Constitution allows it to do. We are a more philosophical people than we give ourselves credit for. Constitutional questions enter the political conversation here more than in most countries because our diverse nation is bound by our founding principles, not...
March 13, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - A photo-ID requirement for voters in Texas could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of registered Hispanics, the Justice Department declared Monday in its latest move against Republican-led voting changes in many states that have drawn protests from minorities, poor people, and students. The Justice objection means that now a federal court in Washington will decide whether Texas, as well as South Carolina, will be allowed to enforce its new voter photo-ID requirements.
September 5, 2012
When Pennsylvania's Supreme Court convenes in Philadelphia Sept. 13 to consider whether the state's restrictive voter-ID law violates citizens' rights, the justices should have read the federal court decision blocking a similarly restrictive law in Texas. The decision serves as a guideline because the issues are analogous. Like Pennsylvania's legislators, Texas lawmakers passed a bill that would have required voters to show photo IDs, including a driver's license, passport, or government ID. But the three-judge federal appeals panel decided to toss the Texas law because it "imposes strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor and racial minorities.
September 13, 1989 |
Responding to a public outcry that already seems to have died down, the House yesterday approved a bill to ban mutilating, defacing, burning or trampling the American flag. Sponsors termed the legislation a less drastic response to a Supreme Court ruling striking down a Texas flag desecration law than amending the Constitution, an approach advocated by President Bush, leading veterans' groups and many Republican legislators. But advocates of a constitutional amendment will get their chance anyway.