From NBC's Pete Williams
As expected, the U.S. Supreme Court today tossed out a lawsuit brought by the ACLU, which had sought to force the Obama administration to release photos depicting the abuse of detainees overseas. After the lawsuit was filed, Congress changed the law, giving the Defense Secretary new grounds on which to withhold the pictures from public release. Last month, Secretary Gates invoked that authority and ordered the pictures withheld.
Also today, the court:
-- left standing a jury award of $82.6 million to a woman who was paralyzed when her Ford Explorer rolled over. Ford challenged the size of the punitive damages -- $55 million;
-- declined to take up a dispute between a Colorado high school and a student who was punished for including religious remarks in her commencement speech;
- and ordered a new sentencing hearing for a Korean War veteran convicted of murdering his former girlfriend and her boyfriend. In an unsigned opinion, with no dissent, the court ruled that George Porter had strong grounds for claiming that he did not have effective counsel. The jury was never told of his boyhood of abuse or his harrowing combat experience, which the court said "left him a traumatized, changed man."