From bedroom to boardroom, Supreme Court is in your business

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 3:08 AM
Updated: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 3:06 AM


            FILE - In this May 13, 2014, file photo National Education Association staff members from Washington joining students, parents and educators at a rally at the Supreme Court in Washington on the 60th anniversary Brown v. Board of Education decision that struck down

Quick, name a Supreme Court justice. OK, name three. One of the current justices, Stephen Breyer, once noted wryly that their names are less well-known than those of the Three Stooges.

But from the time Americans roll out of bed in the morning until they turn in, the court's rulings are woven into daily life in ways large and small.

So pay attention as Congress prepares to take up the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to join the high court: The influence of the court's nine justices is hard to overstate.

"From the air you breathe and the water you drink to the roof over your head and the person across from you in bed, the Supreme Court touches all of that," says Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center.

A walk through daily life on the lookout for Supreme Court fingerprints:

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PILLOW TALK

It starts when your alarm goes off. Perhaps you glance over at your spouse.

The Supreme Court has had a big say over the decades in who can marry whom: In 1967, it ruled in Loving v. Virginia that laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional. And the Loving ruling helped lay the foundation for the court's 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that nationalized the right for same-sex couples to marry.

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RINSE AND SPIT

Consider the water you swish when you brush your teeth: The high court has repeatedly taken up cases related to the Clean Water Act to try to resolve confusion over which waterways are protected by the law — with important implications for drinking water supplies. This is still a live issue: President Donald Trump is working to undo former President Barack Obama's attempt to shield more waterways from pollution under the law, and more court cases are surely in the offing.

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CALIFORNIA RAISINS

What's for breakfast? A court ruling with your raisin bran?

Yes, the Supreme Court deals with raisins. The justice were at the center of a property rights dispute that ended with a 2015 ruling in Horne v. Department of Agriculture that found unconstitutional a Depression-era program that let the government seize a portion of raisin farmers' crops to help keep prices stable.

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HIT THE BOOKS - PUNCH THE CLOCK

Time for work and school. The makeup of the student body at your child's school is tied to the court's landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954 that unanimously declared it unconstitutional to have separate public schools for black and white students. In more recent years, the court has ruled repeatedly on how to ensure disabled students get a "free appropriate public education" under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. And it has helped define what kind of school choice is allowed.

What to wear? The Supreme Court even goes there. Last year, the court took up a trademark dispute over cheerleader uniforms, debating matters of stripes, zigzags and chevrons and what makes a cheerleader look slimmer or curvier. Look for a ruling on Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands this spring, with implications for the whole fashion industry.

At work, the constitutionality of minimum-wage laws and health and safety regulations dates to New Deal-era Supreme Court rulings. It was a 1937 case, West Coast Hotel v. Parrish, involving hotel chambermaid Elsie Parrish, that paved the way for the court's ruling that Washington state's "Minimum Wages of Women" law was constitutional. Later court rulings bolstered protections against racial discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace.

While past court rulings helped to boost union clout, future action could threaten their power. Last year, the court split 4-4 in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association on whether unions representing government employees can collect fees from workers who choose not to join. The tie upheld the collection of "fair share" fees from nonmembers, but the question is widely expected to make its way back to the court once the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia's death is filled.

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PRIME TIME

After work, maybe you kick back to watch TV. How you watch — and what you see — could be influenced by the court. For one thing, a 2014 court ruling in ABC v. Aereo put the kibosh on a company that let people watch and record broadcast TV online for $8 a month on tablets, phones and other gadgets. The court said the company had violated copyright law by taking the broadcasters' programs for free and essentially reselling them.

What do you see on TV? If it's campaign season, thank — or blame — the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United v. FEC ruling for an explosion in political advertising by outside groups after the court threw out parts of a 63-year-old law prohibiting corporations and unions from running ads for or against political candidates.

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HOME RULE

When it's finally time to turn in for the night, consider that the house you live in — and what it's worth — could be affected by the Supreme Court's handiwork. The court is frequently called on to interpret the anti-discrimination Fair Housing Act. This term, it is considering Bank of America v. Miami and Wells Fargo v. Miami, in which the banks are challenging the city's right to sue them for predatory lending practices that led to foreclosures and declining property taxes and property values.

And hope you can hang on to that house. In 2005, the court ruled in Kelo v. New London that cities can take away people's homes to make way for shopping malls or other private development. The court gave local governments broad power to seize property to generate tax revenue. More than 40 states have since taken steps to amend their eminent domain laws to protect property rights.

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FOR THE RECORD

The eight justices currently on the court are: John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

As for the stooges, over time, six men cycled in and out: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Shemp Howard, Joe Besser and Curly Joe DeRita.

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Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/nbenac

Find AP's reporting on Neil Gorsuch here: http://apne.ws/2mfXk4V

Security changes coming to Magic Kingdom

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 11:54 PM

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - OCTOBER 01: Walt Disney World Resort marked its 45th anniversary on October 1, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Jacqueline Nell/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

Security changes coming to Disney’s Magic Kingdom may affect how long guests spend in the security line.

>> Read more trending news

The theme park is moving the lines to outside the transportation and ticket center, where guests will be screened as soon as they get off the tram coming from the parking lot.

Security barricades are already in the ground and tents are up, but it’s still not clear when the area will be operational.

"Everyone at the transportation and ticket center will be screened there before they get on a ferry boat or a monorail, which will alleviate a lot of the hustle and bustle and craziness of that front area of the Magic Kingdom,” said Tom Corless of WDW News Today.

It also means guests will be screened prior to getting on the monorail or ferry, increasing security beforehand.

“Mass transportation is definitely always a target in any big city,” Corless said. “And certainly, at Disney World, the monorail handles thousands and thousands of guests at a time.”

Corless said eventually, guests going to a monorail from a Disney hotel will be screened from there.

There will still be a security checkpoint outside the train station at the Magic Kingdom, but it will be smaller, primarily for guests coming from the buses or water taxi.

The new security area appears to be much larger, with the option to add more personnel.

“The staffing will have to be in place, but regardless, it should just be a better experience for people,” Corless said.

A Disney World spokesperson said in a statement, "As part of an ongoing effort to enhance the arrival experience for guests at the entrance to Magic Kingdom park, we have relocated some of our bag checks and metal detectors to the transportation and ticket center, and the monorail stations at Disney's Contemporary resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney's Polynesian Village resort.”

New study shows no long-term cognitive benefits to breast-feeding

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 11:42 PM



WANDER WOMEN COLLECTIVE/Getty Images

A new study shows there are no long-term benefits to breast-feeding. The study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics says after age 5, there are no cognitive differences between children who were breast-fed and those who were not.

>> Read more trending news

Advocates of breast-feeding say it’s the short-term benefits that are important.

For instance, Rae Summerbell and 7-month-old Conlan have finally mastered breast-feeding.

But it wasn't easy.

“It was the one thing I was hellbent on doing as a mom,” Summerbell said.

Conlan was born with craniosynostosis, which means his skull was fused at birth.

Because of his complications, Summerbell was committed to breas-tfeeding for nutritional reasons.

So she went to lactation nurse Tracy Corey for help.

“That breast milk is patterned right for her baby,” Corey said.

The short-term benefits of breast milk, Corey said, are much more established.

“When a mom is catching a bug or baby is catching a bug, when a baby breast-feeds, those germs go into mom and vice versa and immediately that breast creates antibodies to fight that bug,” Corey explained.

But Corey, who also owns Nurturing Expressions in West Seattle -- a store that offers breast-feeding support and sells pumps and other supplies -- recognizes there is a pressure and guilt for mothers to breast-feed.

In a story that went viral this month, Jillian Johnson says that pressure led to accidentally starving her son to death. He was just 19 days old. She shared her story in an interview with People magazine.

“You felt brainwashed,” Johnson told People. “Like you were a horrible person if you gave the baby a bottle.”

“As lactation consultants we're not here to just say ‘breast is best’ all the time because it may not be,” Corey added. “What we need to do is look at how to feed that baby.”

For long-term cognitive development, Corey said the key is simply connecting with your baby -- holding, loving and nurturing your child, no matter how they're fed. 

82-year-old dancer fulfills dream of getting back out on the dance floor

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 9:57 PM

(WSB-TV)

When Joyce Dixson is moving to the music, she finds joy.

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“She’s always danced. She taught me how to dance in the middle of our living room,” her daughter, Kathy Robinson told WSB-TV’s People to People.

Joyce, now 82, was a military wife and often joined her husband at a club on the military base.

“Every Saturday night, they always went out. He was in the Air Force,” said Kathy.

Joyce and her husband will soon celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary, but a bad knee has kept her from moving much these days. Thanks to the nonprofit Second Wind Dreams, she’s now getting back in the groove.

The foundation offered Joyce special line dancing lessons.

Kathy attended the special lesson with her mom and said she immediately say a difference in her demeanor.

“It’s a happiness that I can re-live because I can see her re-live some of the joy that she had in her life,” said Kathy.

Study: 10,000 steps might not be enough for healthy life

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 9:21 PM

(Getty/kali9)
kali9/Getty Images

The standard for a healthy amount of exercise has widely been accepted as 10,000 steps a day. However, new research shows this might not be enough. 

>> Read more trending news

Researchers in Scotland looked at postal workers and tracked how many steps a day they took — their average was 15,000, according to The New York Times

>>  'Cash Me Outside' teen signs reality TV deal 

Those who achieved the 15,000 steps, or about seven miles, showed no increased risk of heart disease and had normal waistlines, the International Journal of Obesity found. 

Those who sit longer throughout the day had increased health concerns. After five hours of sitting a day, each additional hour in a chair boosted risk of heart disease by 0.2 percent, Newser reported. 

>> Florida man walking on beach finds bale of marijuana

“Our metabolism is not well-suited to sitting down all the time,” Dr. William Tigbe, who led the study, told The Times. 

So Tigbe suggests people hit the target of 15,000 steps by attacking it “in bits” or taking 30-minute walks compared to 2-hour walks, The Times reported. 

Read more at The New York Times