SCOTUS Rulings Today; Making life less safe, less healthy and less just, one decision at a time

A six-justice majority on Friday sharply cut back on the power of federal agencies to interpret the laws they administer, handing significant power to the courts. Friday’s decision overruled a 40-year precedent in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, which gave deference to agency experts when a law was ambiguous. The decision will have far-reaching effects across the federal government. ScotusBlog

Democracy Now reports on the decision of the Uber-Right court to inhibit the power of the federal government to level consequences for violations.

The Supreme Court’s right-wing supermajority ruled in a 6-3 decision that the Securities and Exchange Commission cannot use administrative law judges to assign penalties to violators, who must instead be granted a jury trial. The ruling sets a precedent that severely curtails the power of the federal government to impose fines for violations across a range of agencies. In a scathing dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor called the ruling a “power grab” that will have “momentous consequences.” She wrote, “The constitutionality of hundreds of statutes may now be in peril, and dozens of agencies could be stripped of their power to enforce laws enacted by Congress.

Also today, additional decisions were announced: (AP News )

The Supreme Court on Friday made it harder to charge Capitol riot defendants with obstruction, a charge used in hundreds of prosecutions and also faced by former President Donald Trump. The justices ruled 6-3 that the charge of obstructing an official proceeding, enacted in 2002 in response to the financial scandal that brought down Enron Corp., must include proof that defendants tried to tamper with or destroy documents. Only some of the people who violently attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, fall into that category.

SCOTUS on Friday allowed cities to enforce bans on homeless people sleeping outside in public places, ruling along ideological lines that such laws don’t amount to cruel and unusual punishment, even in West Coast areas where shelter space is lacking. The case is the most significant to come before the high court in decades on the issue and comes as a rising number of people in the U.S. are without a permanent place to live. In a 6-3 decision, the high court reversed a ruling by a San Francisco-based appeals court that found outdoor sleeping bans violate the Eighth Amendment.

The Guardian