None of the most anticipated Supreme Court cases remaining this term—on health care, immigration, or "fleeting expletives" on broadcast television—came down today. But we did get a Sixth Amendment ruling that is both important in itself and tells us something important about the justices on the Court.
Florida governor Rick Scott is attempting to engage in a purge of voters, requiring some voters to prove their citizenship within a limited time frame in order not to be disenfranchised, allegedly in order to address "vote fraud" that for all intents and purposes doesn't exist. The Department of Justice told Scott to stop this illegal vote suppression.
The latest outrage from the Roberts Court involves not something the Court did but what it didn't do. Today, the Court refused to hear appeals from seven people who have been detained without charges at Guantanamo Bay. In 2008, the Supreme Court formally posed as a defender of habeas corpus in Boumediene v. Bush, holding that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 violated rights to habeas corpus possessed by those detained at Gitmo.
Last month, the New York Civil Liberties Union released some extremely disturbing data about "stop and frisk" searches in New York City. Since 1968, the Supreme Court has held that warrantless patdown searches by police require only "reasonable suspicion" rather than the "probable cause" required to obtain a search warrant under the Fourth Amendment. This watered-down standard has always been subject to abuse, and there can be little doubt that this has been the case in New York.