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 - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an effort by former President Donald Trump to shield his income tax records from N.Y. prosecutors. The court’s action is the apparent culmination of a lengthy legal battle that had already reached the high court once before.... Read More
WASHINGTON - The White House on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court it believes the Affordable Care Act should be upheld, reversing the position taken by the Trump Administration. The justices heard oral arguments in November in multiple cases involving a group of Republican-led states attempting to... Read More
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a pair of emoluments lawsuits against former President Donald Trump, ruling the cases are moot now that he's left office. The lawsuits were filed by the attorneys general for Maryland and Washington, D.C., and the government watchdog, Citizens... Read More
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court lifted a nationwide injunction Tuesday that had prevented the federal government from enforcing a rule that required women to see a health care professional in person before she'd be given access to a so-called abortion pill. The Food and Drug... Read More
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a challenge to President Donald Trump's plan to exclude people living in the country illegally from the population count as premature. Trump's insistence that illegal immigrants be excluded from the count could profoundly impact the number of seats... Read More
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to decide whether major colleges and universities are violating federal antitrust laws by refusing to pay the football and basketball players who bring in hundreds of millions of dollars to their campuses. The National Collegiate Athletic Association and several... Read More