The great billboard war of 1917
The Supreme Court ruled in 1917 that cities could prohibit billboards in residential areas, so long as the bans were made for the purposes of safety, health, decency and morality.
In a story titled “Immediate Passage of Ordinance to Rid the Residence Sections of the City of Dangerous Eyesores is Urged by Civil Organizations,” (which is a crazily long headline by modern standards) the Los Angeles Times advocated banning the “dangerous eyesores.”
From the article:
The public had grown so accustomed to being flaunted by the billboard interests and so resigned to the belief that the law somehow was against the home owner when it came to the question of curbing this disgraceful business, that the recent United States Supreme Court decision giving cities the right to absolutely to prohibit billboards in residence sections was the cause of genuine astonishment. This astonishment has given way to a spirit of determination, which is manifesting itself in a clamorous demand upon the city authorities for immediate and unceremonious action against the professional city defacers.
The Times’ efforts were eventually successful, with an ordinance passing the next year.
Photos: Los Angeles Times
Gay marriage’s second round at the Supreme Court
Following yesterday’s debate on the future of California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage in the state, the Supreme Court began its hearing this morning on the Defense of Marriage Act.
Since its inception in 1996, DOMA has drawn controversy, but this is the first time that the mandate, which has fallen out of favor with the Obama administration, has been brought to the Supreme Court.
Though crowds in front of the courtroom are smaller than yesterday’s Prop. 8 supporters and opponents,
Photos: Karen Bleier, Mark Wilson, Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty Images
Supreme Court hears arguments on Prop. 8 ban on gay marriage
The debate between both sides of the argument and the Supreme Court has come to an end, with a final decision on the fate of California’s contentious Prop. 8 expected to be announced at some point in June.
Though any prognostications made based on Supreme Court arguments must be taken with a grain on salt, liberal justices were particularly intent on critiquing the defense of the gay marriage ban.
From Supreme Court reporter David G. Savage:
Justice Anthony Kennedy, while acknowledging that the long-term effects of legalized gay marriage are unknown, suggested that the tens of thousands of children of gay and lesbian couples in California have a voice in the case as well. “They want their parents to have full recognition,” he said.
Photos: Nicholas Kamm, Karen Blier, Jewel Samad, Win McNamee / AFP/Getty Images, Molly Riley / MCT, Dana Verkouteren / Associated Press
It’s been four years since the efforts to overrule California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, began. Then, it seemed like an impossible challenge, but now, with public opinion vastly shifting in favor of gay marriage, the possibility of the court ruling against Prop. 8 seems likely.
From David G. Savage and Maura Dolan’s preview of the arguments scheduled to begin tomorrow:
The conventional wisdom among legal experts is that the court will stop short of declaring that gays and lesbians have a right to marry nationwide. A narrow ruling voiding Proposition 8 would bring gay marriage to California, but it would not force a change in states where strong opposition to the idea remains.
Photos: Emmanuel Dunand / AFP/Getty Images,
Editorial cartoonist and commentator David Horsey takes U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to task for his comments this week during oral arguments over a challenge to the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
In 2006 when Congress extended the act for 25 years, Horsey writes:
The vote was overwhelming in the House, unanimous in the Senate and was hailed by President George W. Bush as a victory for American democracy.
In court on Wednesday, however, Scalia mocked that vote. He said the Senate’s unanimity simply proved the law had not been given serious consideration. The senators were afraid, he said, to cast a vote against a law with a “wonderful” name. He went on to assert that the reauthorization f thewas merely “a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement.”
That sort of legal reasoning may be good enough for someone sitting on a bar stool well into his third pint, but it is not good enough for the highest court in the land. Scalia makes self-serving assumptions about what was on the minds of senators in 2006 — afraid, not serious, enamored with a name — with no facts to back up his barbs.
Read the full post: http://lat.ms/XeTuFn
So long, Prop. 8?
With the Supreme Court set to rule on California’s controversial ban on same-sex marriage, President Obama asked the court yesterday to reject the voter-passed law.
From the the White House statement:
“Tradition, no matter how long established, cannot by itself justify a discriminatory law. Prejudice may not be the basis for differential treatment under the law.”
The brief filed by the administration argues that same-sex marriage bans should be treated similarly to laws discriminating on the basis of gender. If the court agrees with the White House, same-sex marriage bans across the country would be immediately put in limbo.
Photo: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles v. the Homeless
The city of L.A. is asking the Supreme Court today to overturn a ruling forbidding them from seizing and destroying belongings left unattended on public ground.
The city’s efforts come amid an ongoing fight on how to clean up downtown skid row, as well as a sudden outbreak of tuberculosis in the area.
From Carol Sobel, who is representing the homeless plaintiffs:
The dispute began when eight homeless people accused city workers, accompanied by police, of seizing and destroying property they left unattended while they used a restroom, filled water jugs or appeared in court. The seven men and one woman had left their possessions — including identification, medications, cellphones and toiletries — in carts provided by social service groups and in some cases were prevented from retrieving them.
Photos: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
The Supreme Court has announced that it will rule for the first time on same-sex marriage by deciding the constitutionality of California’s Prop. 8, the voter initiative that limited marriage to a man and a woman.
Obese adults should get counseling, federal task force says: Under the healthcare law, insurance companies would be required to cover the panel’s recommended weight-loss treatments.
Obesity and obesity-related diseases are already responsible for an estimated $147 billion in annual healthcare spending. Widespread adoption of the panel’s recommendation would increase that spending, at least initially.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the law this week.
Photo: A federal health advisory panel recommends that all obese adults receive intensive counseling in an effort to rein in an American health crisis. Credit: Jeff J. Mitchell / Getty Images
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld parts of Arizona’s strict law targeting illegal immigrants, but said the federal government has the ultimate authority to decide who will be held on immigration charges and deported.
The justices said Arizona’s police can stop, question and briefly detain immigrants if officers have reason to believe they are in the country illegally. This was seen as a key part of the state’s law. But the justices said the police have limited authority. They must check with federal immigration agents before deciding to hold the suspects.
The justices also blocked parts of the Arizona’s SB 1070 that would have made it a state crime for illegal immigrants to fail to carry documents or to seek work.
Justices are set to hand down decisions in 14 cases. Check out a list of some of the major pending cases involving violent video games, alleged job discrimination at Wal-Mart, generic drugs and other issues.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered a massive inmate release to relieve California’s crowded prisons.
Related: Meanwhile, with budget cuts leading the Sheriff’s Department to shed inmates in droves, a Castaic facility has just two offenders.
Photo: An undated photo from the California corrections department shows inmates in crowded conditions at the state prison in Lancaster. Credit: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation