U.S. Supreme Court

Creative Commons via Flickr / Pete Jordan (https://flic.kr/p/c3STn3)

This year, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken on a litany of big cases with far-reaching implications especially for Floridians. Here are some things you need to know about how several upcoming decisions will affect the Sunshine State.

Creative Commons via Flickr / Boston Public Library (https://flic.kr/p/dm18Ao)

The Florida Supreme Court has reached a groundbreaking decision about inmates who were sentenced to mandatory life in prison without parole for crimes they committed while they were still kids.

The decision makes 2012's Miller v. Alabama apply retroactively. It was a U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled mandatory life sentences without the opportunity for release were cruel and unusual.

For the past three years, 201 Florida inmates have been in a kind of limbo. They're inmates who were sentenced to life in prison without parole as juveniles before the Miller ruling.

law.fsu.edu

Florida’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage was passed by 62 percent of voters in 2008. But various lower court rulings last year found the ban to be unconstitutional, and federal judge Robert Hinkle agreed.

Now, same sex couples can marry in Florida, but four states have gay marriage cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wilson Sayre

  A federal judge in Tallahassee has ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, the 16th state to do so.

This is the first federal ruling to come out of Florida, but like the four state district judges who have ruled on the constitutionality of the ban, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle immediately stayed his decision.

Nicholas Eckhart / Flickr

It's business as usual for a national craft and hobby store at the center of a national debate over birth control and religious freedom.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that for-profit companies like Hobby Lobby are not required to provide employees coverage for birth control if it conflicts with the owners' religious beliefs. 

Opponents of the the decision have protested at some of the chain's 600 locations nationwide. 

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald News, you heard: 

Creative Commons / Flickr user Phil Roeder

The U.S. Supreme Court has chosen not to rule on a ground-breaking case out of Florida. Pitting Tobacco companies against smokers, this seems to be one strike against the corporations.

In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court ruled against big tobacco companies in a decision that has come to be known as the Engle Case. Life-long smoker, physician, and Miami-Beach resident Howard Engle was the lead plaintiff.

Creative Commons / Flickr user nzhamstar

Chaz Stevens is a South Florida activist who passionately disagrees with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. In a five-to-four split, the high court ruled that opening a town board meeting with prayer was constitutional.

So to poke fun at the decision, Stevens has asked Deerfield Beach to allow him to read a Satanic prayer to open a commission meeting.

The prayer goes like this:

The standard by which a person is judged to be mentally competent enough to face execution for a crime will be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed Monday to hear a Florida case revolving around that issue.

The capital punishment case, Hall, Freddie L. v. Fla., centers on the standard for judging mental disability and how state officials arrive at that judgment. The case will be argued in Washington early in 2014.

Florida-Georgia Water Dispute Goes To U.S. High Court As Seafood Industry Suffers

Oct 2, 2013
apalachicolabay.org

Florida filed a lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. Supreme Court in a long-running battle with Georgia over water withdrawals that have damaged Apalachicola Bay, but it may be too late to help the Franklin County seafood workers who were already struggling to survive.

Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi followed through on an August announcement that Florida would seek injunctive relief so more water would flow to the bay, which collapsed last year in the face of a historic drought and dwindling releases of freshwater from Georgia.

While the Supreme Court decision knocking down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act is getting a lot of attention Tuesday, there's another ruling that's going to be of high interest to property owners across the nation.

U.S. Census Bureau

What do the rulings from the highest court in the United States mean for Florida's same-sex couples?  

We'll unpack the Supreme Court decisions and explain what impact they could have in the everyday lives of lesbian and gay couples, from tax filing to naturalization and wills.

The dual victories the Supreme Court handed to gay-marriage supporters Wednesday seemed to temporarily shift the focus of the fight from Washington to the states.

For instance, one of the more notable reactions to the Supreme Court decisions overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and upholding a lower court ruling that blocked California's Proposition 8 from taking effect came from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Danny Hammontree/Flickr

The benefits will be substantial for those who get them, but the beneficiaries of the U. S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Federal Defense of Marriage Act are just a small subset of  Florida's LGBT population.

They are the couples with marriage licenses from states where same-sex marriage is legal. Until now, DOMA prevented them from receiving tax breaks, Social Security, pension considerations and myriad other benefits that the federal government extends to married couples.

Amy Sherman

The Defense of Marriage Act has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States on the basis of equal protection.

The 5-4 ruling came down at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, sending waves of excitement across the nation.

Initial reactions online were lively comments from liberals who saw this legal development as the end of an era: 

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