Israel’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that a group of families slated for eviction from a flashpoint east Jerusalem neighborhood can remain in their homes for the time being.
The ruling could work to ease tensions in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, which helped ignite the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza last year.
The court ruled that the families can stay in their homes for now until Israel carries out a land arrangement, a process that could take years or may not be carried out at all, according to Ir Amim, an advocacy group that was not involved in the court case.
For the time being, the four families residing in the homes will be recognized as protected tenants. Each will deposit a largely symbolic rent amounting to $62 a month to a trust, until the property’s ownership is settled.
Sami Arsheid, a lawyer representing the families’ case before the court, said the decision was “something huge” that ran counter to the previous 63 rulings by Israeli courts on the issue of Palestinian properties in Sheikh Jarrah.
A federal judge is refusing landlords’ request to put the Biden administration’s new eviction moratorium on hold, though she made clear she thinks it’s illegal.
U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich on Friday said her “hands are tied” by an appellate ruling the last time courts considered the evictions moratorium in the spring.
Alabama landlords who are challenging the moratorium are likely to appeal.
Friedrich wrote that the new temporary ban on evictions the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention imposed last week is substantially similar to the version she ruled was illegal in May. At the time, Freidrich put her ruling on hold to allow the administration to appeal.
This time, she said, she is bound to follow a ruling from the appeals court that sits above her, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
If the D.C. Circuit doesn’t give the landlords what they want, they are expected to seek Supreme Court involvement.
In late June, the high court refused by a 5-4 vote to allow evictions to resume. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, part of the slim majority, said he agreed with Friedrich, but was voting to keep the moratorium in place because it was set to expire at the end of July.
Kavanaugh said then that he would reject any additional extension without clear authorization from Congress, which has not been able to take action.
In discussing the new moratorium last week, President Joe Biden acknowledged there were questions about its legality, but said a court fight over the new CDC order would buy time for the distribution of some of the $45 billion in rental assistance that has been approved but not yet used.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday put on hold a lower court order that would have permitted curbside voting in Alabama in November.
The justices' vote was 5-3, with the court's three liberals dissenting. As is typical when the Supreme Court acts on an emergency basis, the justices in the majority did not explain their decision. It was not clear how many counties might have offered curbside voting, allowing people to vote from their car by handing their ballot to a poll worker.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in a dissent joined by Justice Stephen Breyer and Justice Elena Kagan, described the lower court's order allowing curbside voting in November as “modest,” and she said she would not have put it on hold.
“It does not require all counties to adopt curbside voting; it simply gives prepared counties the option to do so. This remedy respects both the right of voters with disabilities to vote safely and the State’s interest in orderly elections,” she said, noting that 28 states permit curbside voting.
The decision stemmed from a lawsuit the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program filed on behalf of voters with health issues who were concerned about the risk of COVID-19 at the polls.
The state’s Republican attorney general and secretary of state sought to block a lower court's ruling in the case that would have let counties offer curbside voting. Lawyers for the state argued that since Alabama does not have a law expressly permitting curbside voting, that it should not be allowed.
“I am very enthusiastic that the Supreme Court of the United States has seen fit to secure Alabama’s election integrity by ruling as to the letter and the spirit of the law," Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said in a telephone interview.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall argued Alabama has “taken extraordinary measures to ensure that all voters can vote safely," and that it would be potentially chaotic to rapidly implement curbside voting days ahead of the election.
The U.S. on Monday urged the United Nations' highest court to toss out a case filed by Iran that seeks to recover around $2 billion worth of frozen assets the U.S. Supreme Court awarded to victims of a 1983 bombing in Lebanon and other attacks linked to Iran.
The case at the International Court of Justice is based on a bilateral treaty that the Trump administration terminated last week. Despite that, the United States sent a large legal delegation to the court's headquarters in The Hague to present their objections to the case, which Tehran filed in 2016.
U.S. State Department lawyer Richard Visek told the 15-judge panel that U.S. objections to the court's jurisdiction and admissibility "provide a clear basis for ruling that this case should not proceed to the merits."
Visek said the case is based on "malicious conduct" by Iran, a country Washington has long classified as a state sponsor of terrorism around the world. Iran denies that charge.
"At the outset we should be clear as to what this case is about," Visek said. "The actions at the root of this case center on Iran's support for international terrorism and its complaints about the U.S. legal framework that allows victims of that terrorism to hold Iran accountable to judicial proceedings and receive compensation for their tragic losses."
The attack at the heart of the case was a suicide truck bombing of a U.S. marine barracks in Beirut in October 1983 that killed 241 military personnel and wounded many more. A U.S. court ruled that the attack was carried out by an Iranian agent supported by the Hezbollah militant group.
In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered some $2 billion in assets of Iran's state bank that had been frozen in the United States to be paid as compensation to relatives of victims of attacks including the Beirut bombing.
"Iran's effort to secure relief from the court in this case - to in effect deny terrorism victims justice - is wholly unfounded and its application should be rejected in its entirety as inadmissible," Visek told judges, saying that the dispute did not fall into the 1955 Treaty of Amity cited by Tehran as the basis for the court's jurisdiction.