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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The U.S. Supreme Court has preserved the rights of nursing home patients to sue over medical decisions made by Medicaid.

The justices issued the 7-2 opinion Thursday morning in the case of Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County v. Talevski.

The case threatened to place significant restrictions on the right of families to take legal action against Medicaid and could have forced millions of people to lose access to Medicaid programs.

The opinion, written by Justice Kentanji Brown Jackson, says Medicaid recipients can sue under federal civil rights law.

“By its terms, §1983 is available to enforce every right that Congress validly and unambiguously creates; we will not impose a categorical font-of-power condition that the Reconstruction Congress did not,” Justice Jackson wrote

The case involves Gorgi “Jorgo” Talevski. He’d been living with dementia. The longtime Valparaiso resident died Oct. 6, 2021, at age 85, in a nursing home in Bremen, Indiana, his obituary says.

Talevski entered a Valparaiso nursing home in January 2016. His wife, Ivanka Talevski, sued the nursing home in September 2016, arguing it was not providing proper care. The nursing home then tried to move Gorgi to another facility two hours away. An administrative law judge ruled for the move to be stopped, but Gorgi was never returned to the Valparaiso nursing home.

Ivanka in January 2019 sued again, claiming Valparaiso Care & Rehabilitation, a facility of the Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County, Indiana, did not provide adequate care and moved her husband to another facility. A federal district court threw the case out because it believed federal law does not allow people receiving Medicaid to sue for damages. An appeals court later ruled the district court was wrong to throw out the case, questioning the use of drugs to restrain him due to discipline or staff convenience, and his move to another care facility.

His daughter Susie Talevski said she was surprised but pleased the decision went in their direction.

“They actually asked for a reversal of about 55 years of civil rights precedent for all spending clause legislation and I was pretty shocked by that,” Talevski said. “So they wanted to disenfranchise 100 million people who are beneficiaries or providers of social safety net programs.”

Had the decision gone the other way anyone receiving federal services could have been prevented from suing if their rights were violated.

“It would have been a catastrophe for the most vulnerable people in our society,” Talevski said. “The disabled, the elderly, sick children, poor mothers.”

Indianapolis City-County Councilors signed a letter asking HHC to withdraw the case from the Supreme Court.

“We don’t try to micromanage the affairs of those boards but in this case, this was so much large than what was happening in Indianapolis, what was happening in Indiana but could spread widespread disaster across the country for civil rights,” said City-County Council Vice President Zach Adamson.

The Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County says it properly restrained and medicated Talevski. The Marion County government agency operates the Marion County Public Health Department, Eskenazi Health, Eskenazi Health Foundation, Indianapolis EMS, and more than 70 skilled nursing facilities for long-term care in Indiana.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a new challenge to Indiana’s law requiring burial or cremation of fetal remains from abortions.

The court announced its decision Monday morning.

The law, passed in 2016, requires medical providers to dispose of fetal remains through either burial or cremation, or allow the mother to take custody of the remains and dispose of them.

A federal judge in Indianapolis ruled in September 2022 that the law violated religious and free speech rights of those who don’t believe aborted fetuses deserve the same treatment as deceased people.

A federal appeals court reinstated the law in November, citing a 2019 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that upheld Indiana’s law.

The Indiana Supreme Court has yet to issue its ruling on whether Indiana’s new near-total ban on abortion, passed in 2022, is constitutional. The law has been placed on hold by two rulings by lower court judges.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WISH) — Amy Coney Barrett appears to be the leading candidate to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after meeting with President Trump earlier this week. The president said he will make an announcement about his choice on Saturday.

So who is Barrett? News 8 talked to three of Barrett’s fellow law professors from Notre Dame, and they all said that they think she would be the best person for this Supreme Court seat.

“She is brilliant, absolutely brilliant. In addition to her legal intelligence, which would make her an unbelievable selection for the court, she is also one of the warmest open-minded people that anybody could meet,” said Daniel Kelly, a professor of law at Notre Dame.

So far, Barrett is the only potential pick President Trump has interviewed. If chosen it could mean another Republican-appointed justice on the Supreme Court. There are already five, so this would far outnumber the current three Democratic appointees.

Barrett’s colleagues said judges must interpret the law without political bias and she would do that. They said she has the support of former students, professors and co-clerks.

“I think everyone should feel better if Amy Barrett is on the US Supreme Court because you will never find someone who is more fair-minded, more honest, more disciplined, more just than Amy Barrett,” said Carter Snead, a professor of law at Notre Dame and the director of the Center of Ethics and Cutler at Notre Dame.

“She is so sincere and direct and transparent. You know what you are getting with her. There aren’t any hidden agendas or playing games, she is honest about what she thinks about the law,” said Pablo Carozza, a professor of law at Notre Dame and the director of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies.

For some background, Barrett began her career as a law clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. She went on to become a law professor at her alma mater, Notre Dame.

Fellow law professors said her education diversifies her from the rest of the court, who are mostly Harvard and Yale-educated judges.

“Her philosophy of the judiciary and of what judging requires does not permit a person to integrate and import their own personal views or their own politics into her work as a judge and that should give everybody comfort,” said professor Snead.

However, she has been criticized. Back in 2012, CNN reported that Barrett signed onto a public letter protesting that abortion and contraception coverage of the Affordable Care Act were “an assault on religious liberty.”

Barrett’s Catholic faith was also a major focal point during her 2017 confirmation hearing for the Seventh Circuit Appeals Court. However, her colleagues say that her religious beliefs shouldn’t be a consideration.

“In the United States, we don’t have a religious test for any kind of office, right? And, so the fact people would try to make a big issue out of this is completely shameful and should be condemned,” said Professor Kelly.

Now that Senator Mitt Romney has said he is on board with moving ahead with a vote, before the election, it all but ensures any nominee put forward will be confirmed.

“If it were to go forward, if it does, Amy is the best person I could imagine in to be nominated and so if there is going to be a process. I am very happy she is in the mix for it and hope it ends up being her,” said Professor Carozza.

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on congressional redistricting, a crowd of demonstrators rallied outside in hopes of convincing the panel to put an end to partisan gerrymandering.

It’s a case that could have lasting effects since all 50 states will be adjusting congressional districts after next year’s U.S. census.

Long lines wrapped around the building as protesters gathered on the steps, urging the high court to act on creating fair congressional maps. Attendees included Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, both Republicans.

“It’s a crime,” Schwarzenegger said. “It is a national scandal of what’s going on with gerrymandering and the way our politicians draw the district lines.”

Justices heard arguments on whether states violate the First Amendment when they redraw congressional districts.

“We heard two cases here today,” Hogan said. “One case in North Carolina where Republicans were gerrymandering and in our case in Maryland, where the Democrats were gerrymandering, and in both cases it’s wrong.”

The Maryland case involves a district that was drawn by Democrats in 2011. It’s long and skinny and runs from the Conservative Republican northwest corner of the state to the reliably Democratic Washington suburbs.

A group of Republican voters claims it was designed in an effort to flip the district from longtime Republican to Democrat.

It worked.

The district is now represented by Democrat David Trone.

Hogan said he supports the Republican voters in this case. He argues that redistricting should be taken out of politicians’ hands.

“The voters overwhelmingly – some 80 percent of the people in our state – want to take this decision away from the politicians and give it to a non-partisan redistricting commission,” he said. “It’s really what people want.”

Meanwhile, inside the court, justices wrestled with how best to handle the problem.

Justice Neil Gorsuch asked why the Supreme Court should decide the case instead of leaving it to the states.

The court is expected to make a decision on the case in June.