A memorable day (Updated)

Today could be a historic day.  The US Supreme Court is expected to lay down some rulings on ten issues before the end of this month.  The two most discussed is Obamacare and the AZ Immigration law.  Rumor says those two may be announced later today.

One decision has already been announced—a decision about unannounced union dues increases.

Court: Union must give fee increase notice

AP 6/21/2012 2:12:50 PM

(AP) Court: Union must give fee increase notice. WASHINGTON
The Supreme Court says a union must give nonmembers an immediate chance to object to unexpected fee increases that all workers are required to pay in closed-shop situations.

The court on Thursday ruled for Dianne Knox and other nonmembers of the Service Employees International Union’s Local 1000, who wanted to object and opt out of a $12 million special assessment the union required from its California public sector members. Knox and others said the union did not give them a legally required notice that the increase was coming.

The union, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said the annual notice that the union gives was sufficient. The high court disagreed in a 7-2 judgment written by Justice Samuel Alito.

The remaining issues, Obamacare and AZ excepted, are:

First American Financial Corp. v. Edwards. A suit whether lawsuits under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, which allows homebuyers to sue banks and title companies when they pay kickbacks for the closing of a mortgage loan, are constitutional if the kickback does not affect the price or quality of the services provided?

Federal Communications Commission v. Fox. This concerns whether the Federal Communications Commission’s standards for indecency on television are too vague to be constitutional. (Update: SCOTUS has ruled against the FCC declaring that the rules were too vague.  The justices said the FCC is free to revise its indecency policy.AP)

Knox v. Service Employees International Union. Another union issue whether a state can require its employees to pay a special union fee that will be spent for political purposes without first giving the employees information about the fee and a chance to object to it.

United States v. Alvarez. This is better known as the “Stolen Valor” case. It decides whether a federal law that makes it a crime to lie about receiving military medals or honors violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right to free speech.

Southern Union Company v. United States. An interesting jury issue whether the Constitution requires that a jury, rather than a judge, must find beyond a reasonable doubt any fact that leads to a higher fine for a criminal defendant.

Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs. This concerns whether a sentence of life without parole for someone who was convicted of murder when he was fourteen violates the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. If I remember correctly, an earlier case prohibited life sentences for juveniles in non-homicide cases.

Dorsey v. United States and Hill v. United States (consolidated). I heard this one called a positive Ex Post Facto case. The key factor is whether the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which reduced the sentences for defendants who are convicted of crack cocaine offenses, applies to defendants who were convicted before the Act went into effect but sentenced after it.

The details above were scraped from SCOTUSBlog.

As the Chinese proverb says, today through next week could be interesting times.