How the Supreme Court's Broad Reach Touches Daily Life | NBC 10 Philadelphia

How the Supreme Court's Broad Reach Touches Daily Life

With a new justice being considered, consider that the Supreme Court even has a big say over who can marry whom



    President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced federal Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch as his pick for the Supreme Court, naming the youngest Supreme Court nominee in a quarter century. (Published Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017)

    The rhythms of daily life for ordinary Americans may seem far removed from the rarified world of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    But from the time people roll out of bed in the morning until they turn in at night, the court's rulings are woven into their lives in ways large and small.

    So pay attention as Congress prepares to take up the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to join the high court: The influence of the court's nine justices is hard to overstate — even if Justice Stephen Breyer once noted that their names are less well known than those of the Three Stooges.

    "From the air you breathe and the water you drink to the roof over your head and the person across from you in bed, the Supreme Court touches all of that," says Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center.

    Nunes: Trump Communications May Have Been ‘Monitored’

    [NATL] Nunes: Trump Communications May Have Been ‘Monitored’

    Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of House Intelligence Committee, says President Donald Trump’s communications may have been “monitored” by the U.S. government during the transition period. He noted all monitoring was believed to be done legally. Trump responded that he feels "somewhat" vindicated by what Nunes says he found.

    (Published Wednesday, March 22, 2017)

    A walk through daily life on the lookout for Supreme Court fingerprints:

    Pillow Talk
    It starts when your alarm goes off. Perhaps you glance over at your spouse.

    The Supreme Court has had a big say over the decades in who can marry whom: In 1967, it ruled in Loving v. Virginia that laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional. And the Loving ruling helped lay the foundation for the court's 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that nationalized the right for same-sex couples to marry.

    Rinse and Spit
    Consider the water you swish when you brush your teeth: The high court has repeatedly taken up cases related to the Clean Water Act in an ongoing attempt to resolve confusion over which waterways are protected by the law, including streams that feed into drinking water supplies. This is still a live issue: President Donald Trump is working to undo former President Barack Obama's attempt to shield more waterways from pollution under the law, and more court cases are surely in the offing.

    Manafort Secretly Worked for Russian Billionaire: Report

    [NATL] Manafort Secretly Worked for Russian Billionaire: Report

    An Associated Press investigation found that President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The investigation cites a memo purportedly written by Manafort, who acknowledged to NBC News that he worked for the billionaire but said he did not represent Russian political interests.

    (Published Wednesday, March 22, 2017)

    California Raisins
    What's for breakfast? Maybe a bowl of raisin bran.

    Yes, the Supreme Court deals with raisins. They were at the center of a property rights dispute that ended with a 2015 ruling in Horne v. Department of Agriculture that raisin farmers don't have to participate in a Depression-era program that let the government seize a portion of their crop to help keep prices stable.

    Cheerleaders and Chambermaids
    Time for work and school. The makeup of the student body at your child's school is tied to the court's landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954 that unanimously declared it unconstitutional to have separate public schools for black and white students, a turning point in the civil rights movement. In more recent years, the court has ruled repeatedly on how to ensure disabled students get a "free appropriate public education" under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. And it has helped define rules of the road for school choice programs.

    How about the cheerleaders on the sidelines of the high school football game? The Supreme Court even goes there. Last year, the court took up a trademark dispute over cheerleader uniforms, debating matters of stripes, zigzags and chevrons and what makes a cheerleader look slimmer or more curvy. Look for a ruling on Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands this spring, with big implications for the fashion industry.

    GOP Leaders Scramble for Votes on New Health Plan

    [NATL] GOP Leaders Scramble for Votes on New Health Plan

    President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with lawmakers on Wednesday after prolonged dissent among Republican lawmakers threatened to scuttle the new health care plan designed to replace Obamacare. 

    (Published Wednesday, March 22, 2017)

    At work, the constitutionality of minimum wage laws and health and safety regulations dates to New Deal-era Supreme Court rulings. It was a 1937 case, West Coast Hotel v. Parrish, involving hotel chambermaid Elsie Parrish, that paved the way for the court's ruling that Washington state's "Minimum Wages of Women" law was constitutional. Later court rulings bolstered protections against racial discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace.

    Still a hot topic: Whether unions representing government employees can collect fees from workers who choose not to join. The high court split 4-4 on the question last year in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, with the tie upholding the collection of "fair share" fees from nonmembers. The question is widely expected to make its way back to the court once the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia's death is filled.

    Prime Time
    After work, maybe you kick back to watch TV. How you watch — and what you see — both could be influenced by the court. For one thing, a 2014 court ruling in ABC v. Aereo put the kaibosh on a company that let people watch and record broadcast TV online for $8 a month on tablets, phones and other gadgets. The court said the company had violated copyright law by taking the networks' signal for free. Aereo was soon kaput.

    What do you see on TV? If it's campaign season, thank — or blame — the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United v. FEC ruling for an explosion in political advertising by outside groups after the court threw out parts of a 63-year-old law prohibiting corporations and unions from running ads for or against political candidates.

    Trump Pushes GOP Health Plan Ahead of Vote

    [NATL] Trump Pushes GOP Health Plan Ahead of Vote

    President Donald Trump stopped by Capitol Hill Tuesday in an attempt to shore up support for the Republican-backed American Health Care Act, the proposed replacement to Obama's Affordable Care Act. 

    (Published Tuesday, March 21, 2017)

    Home Rule
    When it's finally time to turn in for the night, consider that which house you live in — and what it's worth — could be affected by the Supreme Court's handiwork. The court is frequently called on to interpret the anti-discrimination Fair Housing Act. This term, it is considering Bank of America v. Miami and Wells Fargo v. Miami, in which the banks are challenging the city's right to sue them for predatory lending practices that led to foreclosures and declining property taxes and property values.

    And hope you can hang on to that house. In 2005, the court ruled in Kelo v. New London that cities can take away people's homes to make way for shopping malls or other private development. The court gave local governments broad power to seize property to generate tax revenue. But more than 40 states have since taken steps to amend their eminent domain laws to protect property rights.