SCOTUS's (Somewhat) Anti-Climatic Decision Day: The high court handed down three more decisions this morning, but none tackled the Big Three cases everyone's anxiously awaiting. The next day the justices could rule on gay marriage, affirmative action, and/or voters' right is Monday at 10 a.m. Still, it's called the Supreme Court for a reason, and today's cases still matter. A quick rundown:
On Speech of AIDS Groups: Washington Post: "The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the federal government may not force groups that receive funding for overseas anti-HIV/AIDS programs to adopt its views against prostitution and sex trafficking. The justices ruled 6 to 2 that a requirement in a multibillion-dollar anti-AIDS program that withholds funds from organizations that do not have a policy 'explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking' violates an organization's free-speech rights." XX Factor with more on the ruling, including the end to the Bush-Era Prostitution Pledge.
On Class-Action Lawsuits: Reuters: The court "delivered its latest blow to class action lawsuits ... when it enforced an arbitration agreement that prevents merchants from banding together to make antitrust claims against American Express Co. The nine-member court ruled on a 5-3 vote, with liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor recused. The merchants had challenged the legality of an arbitration clause in a contract with American Express that prevented them from coming together to pursue disputes against the credit card company."
On Punishing Repeat Offenders: The Raw Story: The court also "issued a ruling that will make it harder for judges to slap repeat violent offenders with mandatory minimum sentences. Writing for the court’s 8-to-1 majority in Descamps v. United States, Justice Elena Kagan explained that a lower court misapplied a rule that allows for longer sentences if an individual has repeatedly committed offenses of the same generic category."
Looking For More on Any or All of the Three Decisions? The always awesome SCOTUSblog has you covered and then some.
Happy Thursday and welcome to the Slatest PM, where we’re rounding up the day’s top stories and counting down the hours 'til the first weekend of summer. Follow me, your afternoon news guide, on Twitter at @s_brodez and the whole team at @slatest.
U.S.-Taliban Prisoner Swap: CBS News: "The Afghan Taliban say they are ready to hand over a U.S. soldier held captive since 2009 in exchange for five of their senior operatives being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison. A Taliban spokesman, Shaheen Suhail, said U.S. Army Spc. Bowe Bergdahl 'is as far as I know in good condition.' … Bergdahl disappeared in eastern Afghanistan on June 30, 2009."
Meet the Zimmerman Jury: USA Today: "After nine days of questioning, a jury has been chosen for the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin. The jury of six women will decide whether Zimmerman, 29, is guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin, 17, in a case that captured the nation's attention last year. Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, said as the jury was settled, 'This is probably as critical if not more critical than the evidence.'"
The Slatest: "Ex-Gay" Ministry Apologizes for the Harm it’s Done
House Rejects Farm Bill: Fox News: "In a defeat for Republican leadership, the House on Thursday rejected a sweeping farm bill, amid opposition from both sides of the aisle. More than 60 House Republicans defected and voted against the half-trillion-dollar bill, which sets funding for farm subsidies and other assistance as well as food stamps. … The defeat was not expected. House Speaker John Boehner, who rarely votes, supported the bill. Members stood in silence as they watched the scoreboard Thursday afternoon."
Senators Strike Border-Security Deal: Washington Post: "Senators have reached an agreement that would almost double the number of federal agents along the U.S.-Mexico border, require construction of 700 miles of border fencing and provide money for aerial drones, according to several Senate aides who said the deal should ensure significant Republican support for an immigration measure that is expected to be approved next week. ... The agreement calls for a 'border surge' that would double the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents along the southern border to more than 40,000, according to aides. The federal government also would need to complete construction of about 700 miles of fencing along the border, essentially forcing compliance with immigration laws passed in 1996 and 2006 that authorized its construction."
WHO Says Third of World’s Women Victims of Violence: CBS News: "Thirty-five percent of women around the world are victims of physical or sexual violence, according to a report by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the South African Medical Research Council and the WHO released on Tuesday. Intimate partner violence was the most common, affecting 30 percent of women worldwide. Southeast Asian women were most likely to become victims (37.7 percent reported sexual or physical partner abuse), followed by Eastern Mediterranean women (37.0 percent) and African women (36.6 percent). Women from high income countries like the U.S. and EU member states reported violence by an intimate partner 23.2 percent of the times."
Fed’s Stimulus Phase-Out Hurting Wall Street: Reuters: "The Federal Reserve's plans to begin winding down its massive monetary stimulus later this year hurt shares on Wall Street for a second day Thursday, putting the S&P on track for its worst two-day run in seven months. Stocks were down across all sectors, extending a selloff sparked by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's comments Wednesday on how the Fed might begin to withdraw its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases before the end of the year as the economy improves."
Brazil’s Protest-Sparking Bus Fare Hikes Rolled Back: Associated Press: "Leaders in Brazil's two biggest cities said Wednesday that they reversed an increase in bus and subway fares that ignited antigovernment protests that have spread across the nation in the past week. Many people doubted the move would quiet the demonstrations, which have moved well beyond outrage over the fare hikes into communal cries against poor public services in Latin America's biggest nation.”
More from the Slate-iverse:
- Browbeat: When James Gandolfini Got Even With Slate
- XX Factor: Women’s Magazines Aren’t as Serious as Men’s: Here’s Why
- Moneybox: Puppytoriums and Other Perks
- FutureTense: What Not to Bring to Your Summer Pool Party: Liquid Nitrogen
That’s all for today. See you here tomorrow. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe, or forward on the newsletter and let them decide for themselves.