News / USA

US Supreme Court Starts New Term

FILE - Detail of the West Facade of the U.S. Supreme Court, Washington.
FILE - Detail of the West Facade of the U.S. Supreme Court, Washington.
VOA News
The U.S. government shutdown is not affecting the country's Supreme Court, which on Monday starts a new term that will include challenges to campaign donation limits, prayer at public meetings and limits on protests at abortion clinics.

Justices will hear arguments Tuesday in the campaign finance case, which challenges current law restricting the total amount of money individuals can give to candidates, parties and political action committees for each election.

The challenger says the law limits the number of candidates he can support, and is no longer necessary to prevent fraud. The government disagrees, saying he can support candidates in many other ways and that lifting the limits will open the door for new ways to influence politicians.

The court issued a major campaign finance ruling in 2010, saying that corporations and unions can spend an unlimited amount of money supporting or opposing candidates, as long as they were not coordinating those efforts with the candidates.

Recess appointments

In another case with political implications, the court will decide whether President Barack Obama violated the Constitution when he used recess appointments to fill spots on a labor board. An appeals court ruled in January that he did, and the administration is trying to overturn that ruling.

The decision could jeopardize hundreds of decisions made by the National Labor Relations Board since Obama appointed three new members in 2012, including some that have made it easier for unions to organize. The case has been seen as a test of the president's ability to bypass the Senate's role in confirming appointees.

Religion

Next month, the court will hear arguments in a case dealing with whether a town in New York state violated constitutional bans on government establishment of religion by allowing volunteers to say a prayer before town meetings.

The court will also consider a Massachusetts law that says anti-abortion protesters must stay at least 35 feet, or 10.67 meters, away from abortion clinics in order to limit their interaction with patients. It upheld a similar "buffer zone" law from the state of Colorado in 2000, but several new justices have joined the court since then.

The Supreme Court has nine justices who consider written and oral arguments by both sides in each case, as well as briefs submitted to the court by outside parties who think the decision will affect them. The justices then gather to vote in a private meeting and write opinions detailing their reasoning for how they ruled in the case. Those decisions are announced later in an open session.

The court begins a new term on the first Monday of October and issues the last of its rulings before going on recess at the end of June.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs