Justices Reject Appeal of Obamacare, Grand Jury Secrecy Cases
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request that it resolve a dispute over the authority of a judge to order the disclosure of secret grand jury material in rare circumstances.
The underlying case stems from a researcher’s 40-year quest to solve the disappearance of a critic of the longtime Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo.
Stuart McKeever, now 82, is seeking records of a Washington, D.C., grand jury that investigated Jesus de Galindez’s disappearance in the late 1950s.
A federal judge sided with McKeever, but a divided D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that judges have no authority, outside of specific exceptions, to release grand jury records.
This is in contrast to appeals courts in New York, Chicago and Atlanta, which have ruled that judges do have the power to order disclosure.
The issue in the case that the justices rejected is whether federal judges have authority on their own to make exceptions to grand jury secrecy in some instances, including when a case is of great historical interest.
It should be noted, the decision not to take up this case has no bearing on an ongoing court battle in which House Democrats are seeking access to grand jury materials from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
That case turns on the question of whether the House is entitled to the records as part of President Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry, which it contends is a judicial proceeding.
Rules that govern the federal courts specifically allow disclosure for a judicial proceeding.
In other Supreme Court news, the justices also rejected a request filed by House Democrats and a group of blue state attorneys general to expedite a hearing on a key tenet of the Affordable Care Act.
The request came after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Act’s individual mandate is unconstitutional.
The petitioners hoped to expedite the high court’s consideration of the case, arguing that “under the current state of affairs, there is considerable doubt over whether millions of individuals will continue to be able to afford vitally important care.”
“If the Court does not hear the case this term, that uncertainty will likely persist through next year’s open enrollment period,” the petitioners wrote.
Tuesday’s order makes it unlikely that the justices will rule on the health care law before the 2020 presidential election.
In The News
WASHINGTON -- A California law that requires nonprofit organizations to disclose their donors met with skepticism among most of the U.S. Supreme Court’s justices during a hearing Monday. The law is opposed by coalitions of nonprofit organizations that say the disclosures could dry up their contributions... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — After more than a decade in which the Supreme Court moved gradually toward more leniency for minors convicted of murder, the justices on Thursday moved the other way.The high court ruled 6-3 along liberal-conservative lines against a Mississippi inmate sentenced to life in... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — Civil liberties groups are asking the Supreme Court to give the public access to opinions of the secretive court that reviews bulk email collection, warrantless internet searches and other government surveillance programs.The groups say in an appeal filed with the high court Monday... Read More
WASHINGTON - President Biden will sign an executive order Friday that creates a bipartisan commission to study expanding the Supreme Court, as he promised throughout the 2020 election, the White House said. The commission will be chaired by former White House counsel Bob Bauer and Cristina... Read More
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Monday sided with Google in a long running copyright dispute over the software used in Android, the mobile operating system. The court decision was 6-2, as Justice Amy Coney Barrett had not yet been confirmed by the Senate when the... Read More
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a case over former President Donald Trump’s efforts to prevent critics from posting to his personal Twitter page, but Justice Clarence Thomas said a high court reckoning with the power of social media is on the horizon. “As... Read More