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Court makes no ruling in resolving partisan redistricting cases
Topics | 2018/06/18 19:22
The Supreme Court will consider whether the purchasers of iPhone apps can sue Apple over allegations it has an illegal monopoly on the sale of the apps.

The court said Monday that it will take a case from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which ruled in January that the purchasers of iPhone apps could sue Apple. Their lawsuit says that when a customer buys an app the price includes a 30 percent markup that goes to Apple.

Apple had argued that it did not sell apps, but instead acted as an intermediary used by the app developers. Apple won initially in a lower court which dismissed the lawsuit.

In Wisconsin, the Democrats prevailed after a trial in which the court ruled that partisan redistricting could go too far and indeed, did in Wisconsin, where Republicans hold a huge edge in the legislature even though the state otherwise is closely divided between Democrats and Republicans.

The Supreme Court said that the plaintiffs in Wisconsin had failed to prove that they have the right to sue on a statewide basis, rather than challenge individual districts.

The Democrats will have a chance to prove their case district by district.

Waiting in the wings is a case from North Carolina that seemingly addresses some of the high court's concerns. The lawsuit filed by North Carolina Democrats has plaintiffs in each of the state's 13 congressional districts. Like Wisconsin, North Carolina is generally closely divided in politics, but Republicans hold a 10-3 edge in congressional seats.

The majority opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts in the Wisconsin case cast doubt on the broadest theory about the redistricting issue known as partisan gerrymandering.

Roberts wrote that the Supreme Court's role "is to vindicate the individual rights of the people appearing before it," not generalized partisan preferences.


Supreme Court to take up iPhone app lawsuit
Legal Network | 2018/06/18 19:22
The Supreme Court is resolving partisan redistricting cases from Wisconsin and Maryland without ruling on the broader issue of whether electoral maps can give an unfair advantage to a political party.

The justices unanimously ruled against Wisconsin Democrats who challenged legislative districts that gave Republicans a huge edge in the state legislature. In a separate unsigned opinion, they also did not side with Maryland Republicans who objected to a single congressional district.

The court sidestepped a definitive ruling in both cases. It could decide soon to take up a new case from North Carolina. Proceedings will continue in lower courts in both cases. The Maryland case is only in its preliminary phase and has not yet had a trial. That will now happen.


Court to rule on whether voters can decide 'millionaire tax'
Court Watch | 2018/06/17 09:22
Massachusetts' highest court is expected to rule on whether a proposed "millionaire tax" can go before state voters in November.

The Supreme Judicial Court is poised to issue its decision Monday after weighing the case for several months. The proposed constitutional amendment would impose a surtax of 4 percent on any portion of an individual's annual income that exceeds $1 million. The measure calls for revenues from the tax to be used for transportation and education.

Several business groups sued to stop the proposed surtax from appearing on the ballot, claiming it violates constitutional restrictions on ballot questions.

The Raise Up Massachusetts coalition collected more than 150,000 signatures in support of the measure and estimates it would raise nearly $2 billion in additional taxes annually for the state.




Kentucky high court: Death penalty IQ law unconstitutional
Legal Interview | 2018/06/16 02:22
The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that the state's practice for determining if someone is intellectually disabled and not eligible to receive the death penalty is "unconstitutional."

News outlets report that the court on Thursday deemed Kentucky's use of an IQ test to determine if defendants have the mental competence to be sentenced to death outdated. Trial courts required defendants show an IQ of 70 or below before a hearing to determine intellectual disability.

The court's opinion came in the case of a man convicted of murdering a Muhlenberg County girl 20 years ago. Robert Keith Woodall was sentenced to death after pleading guilty in the killing of 16-year-old Sarah Hansen.

Woodall's attorneys, assistant public advocates Mike O'Hara and Dennis Burke, say the court's decision to abandon Kentucky's statute is modern and appropriate.



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