Mid-Term Review: Supreme Court Cases This Term Hold Less Importance to States Than in Previous Years, but They Are No Less Intriguing

By Soronen, Lisa; Kessler, Victor | State Legislatures, April 2014 | Go to article overview

Mid-Term Review: Supreme Court Cases This Term Hold Less Importance to States Than in Previous Years, but They Are No Less Intriguing


Soronen, Lisa, Kessler, Victor, State Legislatures


The biggest cases the Supreme Court will decide this year--a challenge to the president's recess appointment power, a campaign finance case, and a challenge to the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate--aren't as far-reaching as the big cases of the recent past. But even though they won't have a great impact on states, the docket is interesting.

Since the magazine previewed Supreme Court cases in the October/November 2013 issue, the Court has ruled in one case and accepted another Clean Air Act case, a public employee free speech case, and another Fourth Amendment search case.

By March 1, the court had issued just one opinion in cases affecting states. In Sprint Communications Company v. Jacobs, the court ruled that a federal court should not have abstained from deciding a case challenging a decision by the Iowa Utilities Board because it was also being challenged in a state court. Sprint had contested a decision by the utility board in federal and state courts simultaneously.

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion, ruled proceedings such as the utility board do not "resemble ... state enforcement actions," which do warrant abstention, because they were not "akin to criminal prosecution" and were not initiated by the state. The high court also said that a previous court decision (Younger) applies to only three "exceptional circumstances." The State and Local Legal Center filed an amicus brief in this case.

Can the federal government use a treaty to prosecute an assault case?

The question relevant to states in Bond v. United States is whether the federal government can prosecute an individual under a statute implementing a treaty that it would not otherwise have the authority to enact. Upon discovering her best friend was pregnant with her husband's child, Carol Anne Bond, a biochemist, acquired toxic chemicals from her workplace and Amazon and spread them on her friend's mailbox, door and car handles a total of 24 times over half a year. Her friend repeatedly contacted the police, who did nothing about the situation. But when she mentioned to the post office that the chemicals were being spread on her mail box, postal inspectors set up video cameras and caught Ms. Bond in the act. Since a federal agency can't charge someone with attempted murder or assault, it indicted Ms. Bond for violating an international chemical weapons treaty which makes it a crime to use a toxic chemical for anything other than a peaceful purpose. While Ms. Bond concedes the treaty is valid, she argues that the indictment violates the 1 Oth Amendment because states--not the federal government--typically punish assaults.

Missouri v. Holland, decided nearly 100 years ago, however, states that Congress may implement a valid treaty even if it would otherwise be unable to enact legislation in that area. The Supreme Court may avoid the question of whether Missouri v. Holland should be limited or overruled by deciding that Ms. Bond's use of the chemicals didn't violate the federal statute. She argues the statute does not apply to "conduct that no signatory state could possibly engage in--such as using chemicals in an effort to poison a romantic rival."

Does the EPA have the authority to regulate greenhouse gases emitted from stationary sources?

In 2007 in Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA has the authority to regulate the emissions of greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act. The question in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA is whether the agency may regulate greenhouse gases emitted from stationary sources, like power plants and factories, too.

The D.C. Circuit concluded that the EPA does have the authority, because in Massachusetts v. EPA the court determined that the Clean Air Act's overarching definition of "air pollutant" may include greenhouse gases. The EPA significantly increased the amount of greenhouse gases that will initially require permitting because otherwise millions of stationary sources would need permits. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Mid-Term Review: Supreme Court Cases This Term Hold Less Importance to States Than in Previous Years, but They Are No Less Intriguing
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.