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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A busy year for SCOTUS: Patents and more

LGBT rights were supported by a 2013 SCOTUS ruling
SCOTUS decisions aren't necessarily highly publicized
 By Jennifer Machie

The Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS) has had a busy year-- in fact, one of its busiest. They’ve been handing down decisions that people are actually talking about in the public and private forum; and, everyone is both excited and anxious about what SCOTUS is doing, because its going to affect the future of our country, which is NOW.

Why is the future now? Well, the future of our country is being paved at an almost blinding speed. Did you see it coming? Change is happening, and it’s finally happening now-- in places where we least expect it, too.

These questions will be answered in the coming months and years as the landscape of America continues to change.
  • Will SCOTUS continue to keep the public talking and engaged actively in a political debate?
  • Will states begin change their colors, going from red to blue?
  • Will this sentiment for politics and political action at least stay the same in the years to come, if not grow?
It will be interesting to see what new, highly publicized decisions will be made by SCOTUS and just how American politicians and the American people will react.

The decisions

To be honest, and perhaps wrong, I can’t particularly recall any decisions that SCOTUS made last year in 2012 that were highly publicized, but I can think of three or four decisions that were highly publicized that they made this year in 2013. Surprisingly, most of the highly publicized decision from SCOTUS happened this week, the week of June 24th to June 30th.
Just last week SCOTUS declared in what was a unanimous nine to nothing decision that the patenting of human genes is illegal, unconstitutional, and now-- banned. This made both the medical industry and their patients winners, because now research and testing could be done cheaply, allowing much needed cures and treatments to be found and shared with the people who need them most.

This week, SCOTUS ruled on the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (1965 VRA), The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and Proposition 8 (Prop 8).

In doing so, it struck a blow to minority voting rights by effectively getting rid of the 1965 VRA, because “America has changed,” and it no longer needs this kind of legislation. However, states like Texas proved SCOTUS wrong; and, it only took about two hours for Texas to prove SCOTUS wrong by stating that it would pass legislation enacting stricter voting laws, such as enforcing voting only with an ID-- a move that is seen to target and disenfranchise the poor.

However, SCOTUS quickly redeemed itself. Just a few days later it struck down DOMA and Prop 8 in a move that supported the LGBT community’s rights, like the right to file a joint tax form and receive the benefits associated with doing so.

As SCOTUS and many other bodies within the judicial system go forward this year, all eyes are on the people making these decisions, as well as the decisions themselves. Lets hope they make ones we can all live with.


About the author: Jennifer Machie writes for Jason McMinn of the McMinn Law Firm.

Image license: US-PD