In the City of Los Angeles v. Patel, the Supreme Court struck down a Los Angeles law which had required hotels to make their guest registries “available to any officer of the Los Angeles Police Department for Inspection” without the need for a warrant. Link In a 5-4 decision, with Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts dissenting, the court said that hoteliers had a Fourth Amendment right to retain that information, and requiring them to turn over the information at will was an impermissible burden upon their Fourth Amendment rights.
The Court also ruled that facial challenges to laws on 4th Amendment grounds are appropriate – that’s new and important – it means one need not wait until police or other government actors violate rights to challenge the law – a person can challenge it before an alleged violation occurs. This had not been established in the context of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence until now.
With Horne v. Department of Agriculture, in major victory for property rights, the Court struck down the USDA’s raisin confiscation scheme as an unconstitutional violation of the Fifth Amendment.
In a New Deal program that lays bare the positively Soviet style of many U.S. Government initiatives, raisin farmers had up to 47% of their crops taken by the federal government. Taken, as in, without compensation, they were required to surrender their rasins.
[A]ccording to a 1949 “Marketing Order Regulating the Handling of Raisins Produced from Grapes Grown in California,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture is permitted to demand a portion of each year’s California raisin crop, free of charge. The title to those raisins passes to an entity known as the Raisin Administrative Committee, which is allowed to use the raisins for its own purposes. Those purposes include giving the raisins away for free to school lunch programs or selling them for foreign export. If it sells them, it gets to use the proceeds to fund its own operations. Link
One wonders how it has taken so long for the courts to finally overturn this brazen theft of goods from Americans by their own government. Perhaps it is a testament to the all the mischief that surrounds our Farm Bill and agricultural policy – an area infested with government meddling.
For those of you who spent the time since the decision living in a cave, in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court ruled that the 14th Amendment required states to grant marriage licenses to same sex couples, and that states were required to recognize same sex couples as married who had been married in other jurisdictions. The 5-4 ruling saw the usual conservative/liberal split with Kennedy, Kagan, Ginsburg, Sotomayor & Breyer voting in the majority, and Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, & Alito dissenting.
While Chief Justice Roberts finds no right to homosexual marriage in the Constitution, he does find cause to rule on what he thinks legislation ought to have said, rather than what it did say. So says Justice Scalia in his dissent in the Obamacare case of King v. Burwell. His first paragraph reads “The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says “Exchange established by the State” it means “Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.” That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so.
In Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. the Court ruled that disparate impact claims are cognizable under the fair housing act. “A cognizable claim or controversy is one that meets the basic criteria of viability for being tried or adjudicated before a particular tribunal. The term means that the claim or controversy is within the power or jurisdiction of a particular court to adjudicate.”
Disparate impact claims allow as a basis of discrimination, unequal outcomes. So a litigant can proceed against another and not need to even alledge, much less prove any intent to discriminate against a protected class, but simply that members of a protected class had a disparate impact and thus the discrimination is proven, or at least evidenced.