Tag: Supreme

Supreme Court: Democrats and Republicans seek hints for how Barrett will rule on health care law

For the second day of Barrett’s questioning in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the health care law was a dominant topic on both sides of the aisle thanks to the looming November case the Supreme Court will hear on a Republican effort to strike down the law.

Both Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the panel’s top Democrat, asked President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee about the legal doctrine of “severability,” or whether the entire law can stand if one part of it is deemed unconstitutional, during Barrett’s second day of questions before the committee on Wednesday.

It’s a concept that could play a key factor in the case from Republican attorneys general and the Trump administration that seeks to strike down the Affordable Care Act case next month. They argue the entire law, commonly known as Obamacare, should be struck down because the law’s individual coverage mandate is unconstitutional.

Barrett explained to Feinstein, a California Democrat, that severability was like a game of “Jenga.”

“If you picture severability being like a Jenga game, it’s kind of like, if you pull one out, can you pull it out while it all stands? If you pull two out, will it all stand?” Barrett asked. “Severability is designed to say well would Congress still want the statute to stand even with the provision gone?”

Graham, during his questioning of Barrett, seemed to suggest he thought that the Affordable Care Act could be saved because of severability, saying the doctrine’s “goal is to preserve the statute if that is possible.”

“From a conservative point of view, generally speaking, we want legislative bodies to make laws, not judges,” Graham said, before asking Barrett, “Would it be further true, if you can preserve a statue you try to, if possible?”

“That is true,” Barrett said.

“That’s the law folks,” Graham responded.

The challenge to President Barack Obama’s health care law from Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration has become a central issue in this year’s election in part due to Barrett’s confirmation. Democrats have focused their arguments during Barrett’s confirmation hearings on the way the law has provided care for individuals.

But Senate Republicans, who back the lawsuit to kill the law, have backed away from that implication in the lead-up to Election Day. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is also up for reelection, said during his debate Monday that “no one believes” the Supreme Court will strike down the entire law.
Graham, who is facing a tough reelection fight this year, raised the severability argument but also launched into another attack on the health care law, “Obamacare is on the ballot.”
How Jaime Harrison's campaign could spend $57 million before Election Day

The South Carolina Republican praised Barrett’s record, comparing her to Obama’s nominees Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, calling Barrett the first woman nominated to the high court who is “unashamedly pro-life.”

Just as they did during Tuesday’s lengthy questioning, Democrats sought to pin down Barrett on a number of topics she could hear in the future, including voting

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Readers Write: Supreme Court, government, parallels between 1969 and 2020

An Oct. 10 letter writer says that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are “disingenuous and evasive” for not answering the question if they would pack the Supreme Court. “The point of campaigning is to let voters know where you stand on the issues,” he writes. “The American people deserve to know before the election.”

Well! While we’re on the topic of such things, have you managed to pin President Donald Trump down yet on whether he’ll even accept the results of the election? That would seem to be an even more pressing issue.

Steve Hoffmann, Anoka

• • •

The Oct. 10 writer has the court-packing question upside down. The question of packing the court is not one for the future. We are watching the Republican Party pack the Supreme Court today in plain sight of the American people.

Many Republican senators, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, objected to acting at all on the Merrick Garland nomination because it was an election year but now support acting on the Barrett nomination in an election year. If Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed, as seems likely, this mass abandonment of constitutional duty and any pretense of principle on the part of the Republican senators will have succeeded in packing the Supreme Court. The question for the Democrats, if they retake the presidency and control of the Senate, is what if anything they will do to unpack the Supreme Court and restore its legitimacy as an independent third branch of government. My answer, after 52 years as an attorney, is, I hope so. The American people deserve no less.

Jeremy Lane, Minneapolis

GOVERNMENT

This is how you get our votes

When I communicate with my elected representatives, as I do from time to time, almost all of them thank me for my input with a form letter. U.S. Sen. Tina Smith is one of two exceptions. She always responds with a detailed, issue-specific explanation of her positions in reasonable detail. The other is state Rep. Jim Davnie. They both have my thanks, my respect and my support!

Mary Ann Hanson, Minneapolis

UNREST

Do these headlines sound familiar?

I was reading Saturday’s paper and came across three articles I had not heard about before:

1. The day before, Friday, police officers in Madison, Wis., marched with clubs into a group of 450 peaceful demonstrators without any prior warning. Several demonstrators were injured.

2. Black students at universities across the country were arguing for their right to have more involvement in campus decisions.

3. An opinion piece described white racism as the “desire to maintain the status quo, yielding slightly if necessary to keep the peace, but not altering the existing power structures controlled by the white community.” This privilege says, “We have to go more slowly,” and fails to appreciate that we have “not the luxury of time, and that justice is not a function of time.”

I checked the date on the paper and saw it was Saturday, Oct. 4, 1969. Yup,

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Explainer: How Trump’s Supreme Court nominee applies the law to LGBT+ rights

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – President Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court has alarmed many LGBT+ advocates, who fear the appointment of another conservative judge would jeopardise the rights of gay and trans people.

FILE PHOTO: Rainbow flags fly at Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan in support of the LGBT community, prior to the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, in New York City, New York, U.S., June 26, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar

If confirmed, Barrett, who has described conservative judge Antonin Scalia as her mentor, would push the country’s highest court to a 6-3 conservative majority.

At 48, she could serve for decades in the lifetime job, potentially leaving a lasting conservative legacy.

“Confirming Barrett will drag America backwards,” Sarah Kate Ellis, head of the LGBT+ advocacy group GLAAD, said in a statement when she was nominated.

As the U.S. Senate on Monday opened a four-day confirmation hearing, here is a look at Barrett’s record on LGBT+ rights.

DEFENDING DISSENT ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

In a 2016 lecture, Barrett defended the justices who dissented against the landmark 2015 ruling that legalized gay marriage nationwide, known as Obergefell v. Hodges.

She suggested that the ruling should have been decided by legislators not the court.

“Those who want same-sex marriage, you have every right to lobby in state legislatures to make that happen, but the dissent’s view was that it wasn’t for the court to decide,” Barrett said then.

“So I think Obergefell, and what we’re talking about for the future of the court, it’s really a who decides question,” she said.

Criticism of the gay marriage ruling was revived this month when Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito said the ruling continues to have “ruinous consequences” for religious liberty.

LBGT+ advocacy groups took those comments as a worrying sign for same-sex marriage and gay rights on a court moving further rightward.

BATHROOM ACCESS FOR TRANS PEOPLE

Barrett has also argued against extending Title IX protections, federal civil rights laws barring Americans from discrimination on the basis of sex, to trans Americans.

In the same 2016 lecture, Barrett said that applying Title IX to fight against policies banning trans people from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity would be a “strain” of the text.

“When Title IX was enacted, it’s pretty clear that no one, including the Congress that enacted that statute, would have dreamed of that result, at that time,” Barrett said, referring to the extension of the rights to trans Americans.

Instead, Barrett said that the debate should be decided by U.S. Congress.

“Maybe things have changed so that we should change Title IX, maybe those arguing in favor of this kind of transgender bathroom access are right. That’s a public policy debate to have.”

RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS

Later this year, the court will decide on a major religious rights dispute involving the city of Philadelphia’s refusal to place children for foster care with a Catholic agency that bars same-sex couples

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Amy Coney Barrett: Senate opens hearing into Trump Supreme Court pick

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Media captionWatch live coverage as Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing begins

Amy Coney Barrett, US President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, is going before the Senate Judiciary Committee for what could be a fiery confirmation hearing over the next four days.

The 48-year-old conservative jurist has vowed to judge legal cases impartially.

Judge Barrett’s nomination so close to the 3 November presidential election has sparked a political row between the Republicans and rival Democrats.

Judge Barrett’s approval would cement a conservative majority on the top court.

Conservative-leaning justices would then hold a 6-3 majority, shifting its ideological balance for potentially decades to come.

President Trump picked Judge Barrett to replace liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month aged 87.

The Republicans – who currently hold a slim majority in the US Senate, the body that appoints Supreme Court judges – are now trying to complete the process before Mr Trump takes on Democratic rival Joe Biden in the election.

Who is Amy Coney Barrett?

  • favoured by social conservatives due to record on issues like abortion and gay marriage
  • a devout Catholic but says her faith does not influence her legal opinion
  • is an originalist, which means interpreting US Constitution as authors intended, not moving with the times
  • lives in Indiana, has seven children including two adopted from Haiti

Read more: Who is Trump’s Supreme Court pick?

The court’s nine justices serve lifetime appointments, and their rulings can shape public policy on everything from gun and voting rights to abortion and campaign finance.

Democrats fear Judge Barrett’s successful nomination would favour Republicans in politically sensitive cases that reach the Supreme Court.

In his opening statement as the hearing began, committee Chairman Lindsey Graham described Ms Barrett as being “in a category of excellence, something the country should be proud of”.

What will Judge Barrett say in her opening remarks?

In what is effectively an interview for the job, the confirmation hearing will give Judge Barrett a chance to explain her legal philosophy and qualifications for the lifetime post.

In prepared remarks released ahead of Monday’s meeting, Judge Barrett thanks President Trump for “entrusting me with this profound responsibility”, which she calls the “honour of a lifetime”.

In the speech, Judge Barrett will speak of the importance of her family and how her parents prepared her for a “life of service, principle, faith, and love”.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionAmy Coney Barrett: “I will meet the challenge with both humility and courage”

Judge Barrett will pay tribute to judges she has worked with, including former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Justice Scalia’s reasoning “shaped me”, Judge Barrett will say. “His judicial philosophy was straightforward: A judge must apply the law as written, not as the judge wishes it were.”

Judge Barrett will say she has “resolved to maintain that same perspective” in her legal career.

It is up to elected politicians to make “policy decisions and value

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Supreme Court nominee vows to ‘apply law as written’

Amy Coney Barrett
Judge Barrett said policy decisions were for elected politicians, not Supreme Court justices

US President Donald Trump’s pick for a Supreme Court vacancy will tell senators that she will judge legal cases impartially “whatever my own preferences might be”.

Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative jurist, faces a four-day confirmation hearing in the Senate next week.

If approved, Judge Barrett will replace liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died recently at 87.

Judge Barrett’s nomination for the role has proved politically controversial.

It was announced by Mr Trump at the end of September, just weeks before he takes on Democratic rival Joe Biden in November’s presidential election.

Should Judge Barrett’s nomination be confirmed, conservative-leaning justices will hold a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, shifting its ideological balance for potentially decades to come.

The court’s nine justices serve lifetime appointments, and their rulings can shape public policy on everything from gun and voting rights to abortion and campaign finance.

Democrats fear Judge Barrett’s successful nomination would favour Republicans in politically sensitive cases that reach the Supreme Court.

Given this, Democrats have urged Judge Barrett to not take part in any cases involving the outcome of November’s presidential election and an upcoming challenge to a health law known as Obamacare.

They argue that, because she was nominated by President Trump during an election campaign, it would not be ethical for her to make a judgement on such cases.

US President Donald Trump introduces Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court
If confirmed, Judge Barrett would be the third Supreme Court justice appointed by President Trump

Democrats have also raised concerns about an outbreak of coronavirus among senior politicians, including President Trump and Republicans involved in Judge Barrett’s nomination hearing.

But keen to press ahead with the nomination, Republican leaders have rejected Democratic pleas to delay the hearing.

Judge Barrett is the third justice to be nominated by the current Republican president, after Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.

What will Judge Barrett tell senators in her opening remarks?

In what is effectively an interview for the job, the confirmation hearing will give Judge Barrett a chance to explain her legal philosophy and qualifications for the lifetime post.

In prepared remarks released ahead of the hearing, Judge Barrett thanked President Trump for “entrusting me with this profound responsibility”, which she called the “honour of a lifetime”.

In the speech, Judge Barrett, a 48-year-old mother of seven, will speak of the importance of her family and how her parents prepared her for a “life of service, principle, faith, and love”.

Judge Barrett will pay tribute to judges she has worked with, including former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Justice Scalia’s reasoning “shaped me”, Judge Barrett will say. “His judicial philosophy was straightforward: A judge must apply the law as written, not as the judge wishes it were.”

Judge Barrett will say she has “resolved to maintain that same perspective” in her legal career.

Who is Amy Coney Barrett?

  • favoured by social conservatives due to record on issues like abortion and gay

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Amy Coney Barrett: Supreme Court nominee vows to ‘apply law as written’

Amy Coney BarrettImage copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Judge Barrett said policy decisions were for elected politicians, not Supreme Court justices

US President Donald Trump’s pick for a Supreme Court vacancy will tell senators that she will judge legal cases impartially “whatever my own preferences might be”.

Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative jurist, faces a four-day confirmation hearing in the Senate next week.

If approved, Judge Barrett will replace liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died recently at 87.

Judge Barrett’s nomination for the role has proved politically controversial.

It was announced by Mr Trump at the end of September, just weeks before he takes on Democratic rival Joe Biden in November’s presidential election.

Should Judge Barrett’s nomination be confirmed, conservative-leaning justices will hold a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, shifting its ideological balance for potentially decades to come.

  • Trump nominates conservative favourite for Supreme Court
  • The big issues Trump’s Supreme Court handled

The court’s nine justices serve lifetime appointments, and their rulings can shape public policy on everything from gun and voting rights to abortion and campaign finance.

Democrats fear Judge Barrett’s successful nomination would favour Republicans in politically sensitive cases that reach the Supreme Court.

Given this, Democrats have urged Judge Barrett to not take part in any cases involving the outcome of November’s presidential election and an upcoming challenge to a health law known as Obamacare.

They argue that, because she was nominated by President Trump during an election campaign, it would not be ethical for her to make a judgement on such cases.

Judge Barrett is the third justice to be nominated by the current Republican president, after Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.

What will Judge Barrett tell senators in her opening remarks?

In what is effectively an interview for the job, the confirmation hearing will give Judge Barrett a chance to explain her legal philosophy and qualifications for the lifetime post.

In prepared remarks released ahead of the hearing, Judge Barrett thanked President Trump for “entrusting me with this profound responsibility”, which she called the “honour of a lifetime”.

In the speech, Judge Barrett, a 48-year-old mother of seven, will speak of the importance of her family and how her parents prepared her for a “life of service, principle, faith, and love”.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionAmy Coney Barrett: “I will meet the challenge with both humility and courage”

Judge Barrett will pay tribute to judges she has worked with, including former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Justice Scalia’s reasoning “shaped me”, Judge Barrett will say. “His judicial philosophy was straightforward: A judge must apply the law as written, not as the judge wishes it were.”

Judge Barrett will say it is for elected politicians to make “policy decisions and value judgments”, not Supreme Court justices.

“In every case, I have carefully considered the arguments presented by the parties, discussed the issues with my colleagues on the court, and done my utmost to reach the result required by

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Supreme Court nominee Barrett pledges fealty to law as Senate hearing looms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett will tell senators in her high-stakes confirmation hearing this week that she will approach cases based on the law, not her personal views, as Democrats urged her to step aside on an upcoming challenge to the Obamacare law and any potential election-related disputes.

A four-day Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for the conservative appellate court judge is set to begin on Monday, a key step before a final full Senate vote by the end of October on her nomination for a lifetime job on the court.

In a copy of her prepared remarks released on Sunday, Barrett said that as a judge she seeks to “reach the result required by the law, whatever my own preferences might be.”

Barrett, 48, said in the statement that it will be an “honor of a lifetime” to serve alongside the current eight justices and explained how she approaches cases.

“When I write an opinion resolving a case, I read every word from the perspective of the losing party. I ask myself how would I view the decision if one of my children was the party I was ruling against,” she wrote.

Barrett’s confirmation to replace the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would create a 6-3 conservative majority on the court that could lead to rulings rolling back abortion rights, expanding religious and gun rights, and upholding Republican-backed voting restrictions, among other issues.

Democratic opposition to Barrett on policy issues has focused on her possible role in deciding a case before the Supreme Court in which Trump and Republican-led states are seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) healthcare law, often called Obamacare.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said on Sunday that Barrett should, if confirmed, step aside from the case, which is scheduled to be argued at the court on Nov. 10.

“She doesn’t come unbiased and that’s why she should recuse herself,” he said.

A key Obamacare provision that would be thrown out if the court strikes down the law bars insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Democrats have criticized Trump for seeking to end Obamacare protections amid a pandemic that has killed more than 210,000 Americans.

Schumer also said Barrett should recuse herself from any cases involving the presidential election because of statements made by Trump in which the president has said the court is likely to have election cases. Trump, who is running for reelection against Democrat Joe Biden, has indicated he would expect the court to rule in his favor if Barrett is confirmed.

Under existing rules, individual justices have the final say on whether they should recuse.

The Senate’s Republican leaders rejected Democratic pleas to delay the hearing after two Republican Judiciary Committee members and Trump himself tested positive for the coronavirus in the days following his Sept. 26 White House ceremony announcing Barrett, 48, as his nominee.

Barrett is scheduled to deliver her opening statement to the committee on Monday, with

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U.S. Supreme Court nominee Barrett pledges to follow law, not personal views

FILE PHOTO: Judge Amy Coney Barrett meets with United States Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO.), not pictured, at the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., October 1, 2020. Demetrius Freeman/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s pick for a U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, said she will rule based on the law, not her personal views, in prepared remarks issued on Sunday ahead of her Senate confirmation hearing this week.

Barrett, a conservative appeals court judge, said that in her current job she has “done my utmost to reach the result required by the law, whatever my own preferences might be.”

A devout Catholic who has a record of opposing abortion rights, Barrett is likely to be probed by Senate Democrats on that issue in particular. If Barrett is confirmed to the position by the Republican-controlled Senate, the court would have a 6-3 conservative majority. Conservative activists hope the court will overturn the 1973 ruling, Roe v. Wade, that legalized abortion nationwide.

Trump nominated Barrett to replace liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month.

Barrett said in the statement that it will be an “honor of a lifetime” to serve alongside the current eight justices and explained how she approaches cases.

“When I write an opinion resolving a case, I read every word from the perspective of the losing party. I ask myself how would I view the decision if one of my children was the party I was ruling against,” she wrote.

Barrett, 48, who has seven children, would be the fifth woman to serve on the court. Before Trump appointed her to the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Barrett was a professor at Notre Dame Law School in Indiana.

Reporting by Steve Holland and Lawrence Hurley, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Lisa Shumaker

Source Article

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Missouri Supreme Court upholds ballot notarization law

Missouri residents who want to vote remotely in November’s elections will have to have their ballots notarized unless they meet specific criteria, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The decision comes in a lawsuit filed by the NAACP and the League of Women Voters, who argued this week the state should make it easier for everyone to vote during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Missouri Legislature this year passed a law allowing anyone to vote by mail, if their ballot is notarized. Lawmakers also created an exception that allowed at-risk people — those age 65 and older, living in a long-term care facility or with certain health problems — to vote absentee without having their ballot envelopes notarized.

The ruling signed by four judges said there is no constitutional right in Missouri to vote by absentee or mail-in ballot.

“The new absentee and mail-in ballot statutes do not affect the right of voters to go the polls to vote” and do not violate any other constitutional right, the ruling said.

The judges also wrote that allowing everyone to vote remotely without notarization would conflict with the Legislature’s clear intent when it passed the new voting provisions.

While the voting rights advocates argued their position was limited to the COVID-19 pandemic, the practical effect would be to allow any voter concerned about contracting or spreading any illness to cast an absentee ballot without notarizing it regardless of whether they expected to be ill the day of an election, the judges wrote.

“All future voters beyond the 2020 election could claim they expect to confine themselves `due to illness’ under Appellants’ suggested interpretation of that phrase. This result is clearly contrary to the plain and ordinary meaning of this absentee provision,” the judges wrote.

Absentee voting began Sept. 22 in Missouri. About 364,000 absentee ballots and 38,500 mail-in ballots have been requested so far.

The organizations were appealing a decision last month by Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem, who found that the notarization requirements do not impose a substantial or severe burden on the right to vote.

An attorney who represented the organizations in court Tuesday did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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U.S. Supreme Court rejects Indiana’s factory farm case

CLOSE

The Supreme Court began its new term Monday with a remembrance of “a dear friend and a treasured colleague,” the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Oct. 5)

AP Domestic

Nearly five years after Richard and Janet Himsel’s legal battle over odors and other alleged harm from the nearby confined hog feeding operation began, it appears to be coming to a close.

Earlier this year, the Hendricks County couple, with the help of a local environmental group, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on their case that claimed Indiana’s Right to Farm Act violated the U.S. Constitution. On Monday, the nation’s highest court rejected that appeal. 

The court is asked to review more than 7,000 cases each year, and it usually accepts only about 100 to 150. Kim Ferraro, senior staff attorney for the Hoosier Environmental Council and the plaintiff’s counsel, said in July when the petition was filed that they always knew it was a long shot — but a shot they felt worth taking. 

Ferrarro did not immediately respond to IndyStar’s request for comment. 

Richard Himsel lives on the farm his family has had since 1940 in Danville, Ind. Himsel has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Indiana’s Right to Farm laws. He says the presence of the industrial-sized hog farm adjacent to his property, 1,600 feet from his home, has diminished the quality of his life. Due to the odor, his wife no longer lives on the property. (Photo: Doug McSchooler/for The Star)

Defense counsel Chris Braun, a partner at Plews Shadley Racher & Braun, said in a statement that this is a “huge win for Indiana farmers and the entire agricultural community.” He said this change allows farmers to modernize their operations and change the use of their farmland “while being protected from nuisance lawsuits by neighbors who disagree.”

The issue in the petition to the court was whether Indiana’s Right to Farm statute provides complete immunity for nuisance and trespass liability to confined feeding operations, and in doing so, violates the Takings Clause of the Constitution. That clause says that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.

Richard and Janet Himsel — along with another neighboring couple — filed a lawsuit in 2015 after an 8,000-hog barn moved in next door two years before and allegedly began causing harm. 

This livestock operation less than a mile away from Richard Himsel’s property, on County Road 425 West in Hendricks County. Himsel lives on a Danville farm his family has owned since 1940. Himsel has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Indiana’s Right to Farm laws, saying it protects corporations and large farming operations over the rights of smaller farmers and individuals. (Photo: Doug McSchooler / For The Star)

The case began in Indiana Trial Court, where they alleged the farm diminished their quality of life — that the odors from the farm made being in their homes unbearable and made their throat and eyes sting, and reduced

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