Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Pruitt Scorned By Highest Court

  The Supreme Court of the United States just dealt the Oklahoma Attorney General a stinging rejection. They voted on a very wide margin, to reject Pruitt's Colorado Pot case without even hearing it. Pruitt had teamed up with Nebraska's AG to take on Colorado and seek to end the sale of Cannabis, there.
  Pruitt and other Oklahoma public safety officials had reassigned numerous state troopers to the few remote highways near the panhandle, in hopes of catching folks who might be traveling with pot they purchased in Colorado. The rest of Oklahoma was harmed by the shortage of troopers available to the rest of the Sooner state.

The text of the Thomas dissent...
Cite as: 577 U. S. ____ (2016)
THOMAS, J., dissenting
No. 144, Orig. Decided March 21, 2016

  "The motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied.  JUSTICE THOMAS, with whom JUSTICE ALITO joins, dissenting from the denial of motion for leave to file complaint.
  Federal law does not, on its face, give this Court discretion to decline to decide cases within its original jurisdiction. Yet the Court has long exercised such discretion, and does so again today in denying, without explanation, Nebraska and Oklahoma’s motion for leave to file a complaint against Colorado. I would not dispose of the complaint so hastily. Because our discretionary approach to exercising our original jurisdiction is questionable, and because the plaintiff States have made a reasonable case that this dispute falls within our original and exclusive jurisdiction, I would grant the plaintiff States leave to file their complaint.
  The Constitution provides that “[i]n all Cases . . . in which a State shall be [a] Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction.” Art. III, §2, cl. 2. In accordance with Article III, Congress has long provided by statute that this Court “shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction of all controversies between two or more States.” 28 U. S. C. §1251(a).
  Federal law is unambiguous: If there is a controversy between two States, this Court—and only this Court—has jurisdiction over it. Nothing in §1251(a) suggests that the Court can opt to decline jurisdiction over such a controversy. Context confirms that §1251(a) confers no such discretion."
  Pruitt then took his arrest records to the supreme court and complained that Oklahoma's prohibition was undermined by interstate travel.
  When a court throws out a case in this manner, it is either saying the plaintiff has no right to seek relief, or the most basic threshold of merit has not been met.

  Only 2 justices dissented. Thomas and Alito (the court's most conservative members) argued that this type of suit must never be rejected without a hearing. Thomas said that over 200 years of precedent have established that when a state is a plaintiff, ONLY the SCOTUS can hear the case. No lower court can take up the matter. Thomas believes a state must be guaranteed at least one opportunity to redress of grievance. Thomas and Alito do concur that appeals can be rejected by SCOTUS, but not an original court date. The other 6, including Roberts and Kennedy, don't believe a state can be guaranteed a court date for frivolous suits, since other parties have no such guarantee.

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