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High Court Veers to the Right

NY Times Editorial Criticizes Current Supreme Court Headed by Roberts

WASHINGTON, DC -- July 13, 2007 -- The current US Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice John Roberts, has too often "ruled in favor of corporations and powerful interests while slamming the courthouse door on individuals and ideals that truly need the court's shelter," the NY Times charged in a recent editorial. The newspaper mentioned the 5-4 vote that struck down school desegregation plans in Seattle, WA and Louisville, KY. On campaign finance, the Supreme Court ruled against portions of a law about phony issue ads. It also overturned a jury's award of $79.5 million in damages against Philip Morris, despite the Oregon Supreme Court's analysis of the company's "extraordinarily reprehensible" behavior.

On the issue of individual rights, the Supreme Court ruled against an inmate who missed filing for an appeal by three days due to incorrect instructions from a federal judge (Bowles v. Russell, No. 06-5306). In a dissenting opinion, Justice David Souter wrote, "It is intolerable for the judicial system to treat people this way. There is not even a technical justification for condoning this bait and switch."

Many believe that the Supreme Court's shift to the right is due to recent Bush appointments. Chief Justice John Roberts replaced former Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Samuel Alito replaced Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was less conservative and was seen as a swing vote.

The NY Times editorial is posted on the Times web site with the apt title, "Justice Denied." To locate the article, type "Justice Denied July 5, 2007" in the search box, then click on the appropriate link. You may be required to pay a small fee to access the article.

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