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View Diary: Russ Feingold: SCOTUS Beginning to Take Note of Judicial Disaster That is Citizens United (256 comments)

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  •  CU does too... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, shaharazade, eXtina

    ... not a legal expert, but I don't know of any other instances of a recent court deciding a question that wasn't before it.

    Except in rare circumstances, they tend to decide the big questions they're asked on the narrowest possible grounds.

    •  right, corporate personhood came from a NOT-recent (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eXtina

      case, eh?

      "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

      by chimene on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 03:27:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  no... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eXtina, Chi

        It came from a constitutional amendment passed after the civil war.

        In the CU case, the supreme court answered a question the plaintiff was not asking and the defense wasn't defending. I've never read a decision like that anywhere else.

        •  ???? huh? not the way I've ever heard it phrased. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eXtina

          some court functionary stuck his own idea into the official document of a SC ruling, some railroad case... there it is, thanks Wiki:

          In Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 118 U.S. 394 (1886), the Supreme Court recognized corporations as persons for the purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment. In a headnote—not part of the opinion—the reporter noted that the Chief Justice began oral argument by stating, "The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does."[1]
          OK, I guess the 14th amendment was involved somehow.

          "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

          by chimene on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 01:35:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  that AFAIK is true. (0+ / 0-)

            What's  unique about the CU case is that the court did not resolve a question that the plaintiff was asking. CU, in the legal jargon that I am familiar with, decided a question that was not before the court.

            I don't know of any other decisions like that, and have certainly never read one. They probably exist, but I expect they're the kinds of things that are usually overturned on appeal.

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