U.S. Supreme Court - The FindLaw U.S. Supreme Court News and Information Blog

U.S. Supreme Court - The FindLaw U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Summaries Blog


Using a drug-sniffing dog in a completed traffic stop, in the absence of any reasonable suspicion to do so, is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday in a 6-3 opinion.

Officer Morgan Struble pulled Dennys Rodriguez over for veering onto the shoulder, then jerking back onto the road. Rodriguez had a valid driver's license and no criminal history. After writing Rodriguez a warning ticket, Struble asked for permission to walk his dog around Rodriguez's car. It wasn't actually a question, as Struble did so even after Rodriguez said no. After two passes around the car, the dog alerted to drugs, and indeed, a search of the car revealed methamphetamine.

Buried among the dozens of denials of petitions for writs of certiorari was this one: docket number 14-534, Rajat K. Gupta v. United States. It appears to be the end of the road for Gupta, a former Goldman Sachs director convicted for insider trading in hedge funds.

Next week is the calm before the storm. April 28 is the day that Court watchers are waiting for -- the day when the Court hears oral two hours of oral arguments in the four consolidated same-sex marriage cases from the Sixth Circuit.

In the meantime, you'll have to content yourself with some criminal statutes and ... California raisins?

The same-sex marriage cases, known to posterity as DeBoer v. Synder, may very well be the biggest civil rights decision of our generation. As such, everyone wants to put their two cents into what will undoubtedly become an historic opinion.

Lots of people want in on the action. Lots. As of April 3, one hundred and thirty-seven individuals, organizations, and states have filed amicus briefs in support of one side, or neither side.

Here's a brief round-up of just some of these 137 briefs.

Former University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely V is taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison in 2012 for beating his ex-girlfriend, also a lacrosse player, to death.

As is fitting for his station in life (he grew up in a 1.5-acre estate and attended elite private schools), Huguely is represented by none other than former solicitor general Paul Clement from the firm of Bancroft, PLLC in Washington, D.C.

An online petition is under way to goad Ben and Jerry's into making a Ruth Bader Ginsburg-themed ice cream. Of course, all the petition says is that the flavor will be "Ruth Bader Ginger," but doesn't go into the details of what would be in such an ice cream.

Probably something to do with gingerbread pieces. This got us to thinking: Why not an ice cream for other Supreme Court justices?

An ankle bracelet is more than a fashion statement: it's a search. At least according to the Supreme Court's holding in Grady v. North Carolina, which found that a state conducts a Fourth Amendment search when it affixes a device to an individual's body, sans consent, for the purposes of monitoring them.

The case involves Torrey Grady, a "recidivist sex offender" who was ordered to wear a tracking device at all times, much to his dislike. Grady's cert. petition asked the Court to decide whether the monitoring bracelet was an unconstitutional search, in violation of the offender's Fourth Amendment rights. The Court didn't go that far, however, content on ruling on the search issue alone.

In what court watchers called an "unexpected move," Chief Justice John Roberts announced this morning that a majority of the Supreme Court had voted sua sponte at a private conference yesterday to overturn its 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which held that corporations had a First Amendment right to spend as much as they wanted during elections.

"After five years of debates, it has become clear that our earlier position was untenable and led to both corruption and the appearance of corruption," Roberts said from the bench, echoing the language of Justice Kennedy's opinion in that case.

The Supreme Court is taking it easy this week, eschewing First Amendment and regulatory cases (the latter being its new favorite thing) in favor of more prosaic patent and bankruptcy cases. The biggest case set for argument this week is probably one regarding executing a mentally retarded inmate, though even that focuses heavily on procedure.

Here's a roundup of the oral arguments the Supreme Court will hear during the week of March 30.

An employment policy that accommodates disabled workers must also accommodate pregnant workers, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday in a 6-3 opinion in Young v. UPS. After becoming pregnant, UPS driver Peggy Young was advised by her doctor not to lift more than 20 pounds; however, UPS requires drivers to be able to lift up to 70 pounds.

Young requested temporary reassignment or an accommodation, but UPS refused, even though it granted such requests to employees for on-the-job injuries or for statutory reasons, like an ADA-protected disability. She sued, claiming disparate treatment under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.