Supreme Court

SCOTUS: The Year in Review

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supreme court

The Associated Press  released a report today detailing some of the most significant Supreme Court decisions during the past year on topics ranging from maternity leave, to voting rights, to religious monuments. Decisions welcomed by those who are libertarian-minded include the recent rulings on strip searches of 13-year olds and reverse discrimination of firefighters.  Unfortunately, the list doesn't extend much beyond that.

One of the most unusual cases involves a ten-year legal battle between a smoker's widow and $79.5 million payout from tobacco company, Philip Morris USA:

The Supreme Court left in place a $79.5 million award to a smoker's widow, ending a 10-year legal fight over the large payout. The court let stand a ruling by the Oregon Supreme Court in favor of Mayola Williams and against Altria Group Inc.'s Philip Morris USA. Williams persuaded a jury in 1999 that the company should be held accountable for misleading people into thinking cigarettes were not dangerous or addictive.

Read here for the full list.

Also, check out Jacob Sullum's take on the  $79.5 million lawsuit here.

NEXT: Take Three; They're Smaller Now

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  1. Gant was pretty significant. Police no longer have free reign to search a car after an arrest when the defendant was a recent occupant–and the defendant is now cuffed and sitting in the back of the squad car–on the grounds of “officer safety.” Now the police have to invent some reason reasonably permitting a search for evidence related to the crime in order to get to search after the arrest.

  2. Wow, what did the widow’s husband do that the remainder of his life was worth $79 million?

    Does any amount of money really remove the emptiness and grief caused by the death of a loved one? If it can’t, then maybe the maximum award should be no more than double remaining lifetime earnings.

  3. Now the police have to invent some reason reasonably permitting a search for evidence related to the crime in order to get to search after the arrest.

    No they won’t. The cops can just impound the car and do an inventory search.

  4. Troy:

    True, but only if departmental regs so permit. That option isn’t universally available.

  5. Yeeaah! An awesome year for the court. I couldn’t help but notice that most of the decisions were 5-4. Please, let the conservatives stay in before Obama leaves.

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