Two significant U.S. court cases, for the good for a change:
A U.S. District Court in Utah struck down that state's ban on same sex marriage as federally unconstitutional discrimination. The judge's decision made prominent use of a Supreme Court dissent by Antonin Scalia. Apart from instantly permitting same sex marriages in Utah, this decision is significant because it is based on the U.S. Constitution rather than a state constitution or other laws.
The Court specifically cited the PA constitution's Environmental Rights Amendment. According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette: "By any responsible account," Chief Justice Castille wrote, "the exploitation of the Marcellus Shale Formation will produce a detrimental effect on the environment, on the people, their children, and the future generations, and potentially on the public purse, perhaps rivaling the environmental effects of coal extraction." He goes on to say that although the state's regulatory powers are broad, they are "limited by constitutional demands, including the Environmental Rights Amendment."
The Court also addressed another totalitarian provision:
The court's decision, on a 4-2 vote, also sent back to Commonwealth Court for review and disposition challenges by a physician to the Act 13 provisions that would have prevented doctors from telling patients about health impacts related to shale gas development, and a constitutional challenge that the law benefits a single industry.
Drilling and fracking under draconian laws passed by corrupt state legislatures and governors has been virtually unrestrained across the country. This is a single state decision but its basis is important: health and environment. That opens to the door to arguments on those issues everywhere.
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