Four opinions from the Supreme Court

NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s Tuesday the 18th of June, 2019. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Well, yesterday, we crossed the mid-way point in our Spring Giving Drive. We’re more than 50 percent of the way there. We’ve got the rest of this week, then all of next week, into the weekend if need be, to hit our fundraising target.

You can track the progress of the campaign at There’s an interactive at the very top of the page that keeps track and updates in real time. If you click on it, you’ll go to a page where you can give a gift, and we emphasize, a gift of any amount.

Tell you the truth, it’s more important that you give than what you give.

EICHER: Right. We do not rely on big foundations, nor do we rely on large corporate donors, obviously not the government. We rely on people like you and me, who benefit from WORLD and want to see the mission grow.

Some first-time donors have said they didn’t give in the past, because the gift seemed small, that it wouldn’t make a difference.

And you know, I’ve thought about this, and I consider it much the way I think about casting a vote.

Does one vote make a difference? Sometimes yes, but much more often, no, not by itself.

But that’s not the point: it’s a collective expression of support and when you put them all together, they do make a huge difference.

So if you think of your contribution as really small, think of it instead as your way of making a vote of confidence. Then imagine there’s another thousand or so just like you giving a quote-unquote small donation. It’s that gift, effectively times a thousand or more.

REICHARD: And here’s another way to think about that. A donor just approached us and he wants us to use his gift as a motivator. And I think this is relevant to you if you think your gift wouldn’t matter for whatever reason. This donor wants to match, starting right now, match dollar for dollar—up to $100,000—every gift you give. So your $50 gift becomes a $100 gift. Your hundred-dollar gift becomes a $200 gift, and so on. We’re really grateful to this donor for making this match happen.

EICHER: Well, let’s take him up on it! The match is dollar for dollar up to $100,000, so go to if you can and get involved in our Spring Giving Drive. I think the match is a great idea, and so I just doubled my gift.

REICHARD: And I’m going to double mine, too!

Well, on to the Supreme Court. Four decisions handed down this week.

First (Gamble v United States), this term’s double-jeopardy case. Terrance Gamble argued that being prosecuted twice for the same crime violated the Fifth Amendment’s protection against double jeopardy. Both his state of Alabama and the federal government prosecuted him for being a felon in possession of a gun.

But a 7-2 bench held that states are, to use the legal term of art, separate sovereigns from the federal government. That means prosecutors at both the state and federal levels can keep pressing a similar case against the same person.

Of interest here, the two dissenters were liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch.

EICHER: Next (Manhattan Community Access v. Halleck), a loss for two filmmakers suspended from the public access channel in New York City. That, after they made a film critical of that same public access channel. They argued the suspension violated their free-speech rights. But the court disagreed in a narrow 5-4 ruling.

This was the classic conservative-liberal split. Justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh made up the majority. They found the channel is a private actor, not subject to the First Amendment’s prohibitions. The point of disagreement was over whether the public access channel is like a public sidewalk. Or whether it is more like a private business where speaking freely is not protected. The majority thought private business.

REICHARD: The third opinion (Virginia Uranium v. Warren) upholds the state of Virginia’s ban on uranium mining. The state enacted the ban in response to the meltdown of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania in 1979.

Here, the uranium deposit is located in part on private land. The owner wants to tap into what is thought to be the largest deposit in the country. Federal law regulates the generation of nuclear power, storage, and disposal, but by a vote of 6-3, the justices found a state has the right to decide not to have the industry within its own borders.

EICHER: And finally (Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill), case dismissed in a gerrymandering dispute. Five justices let stand a ruling that favors Virginia Democrats. A lower court found the state’s Republicans had impermissibly drawn voting districts with race in mind. The state declined to pursue an appeal, so one house of the state legislature took up the appeal instead. It’s on that basis that the case is dismissed: no standing exists to pursue an appeal.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) The Supreme Court in Washington as the justices prepare to hand down decisions, Monday, June 17, 2019. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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