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


The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Virginia's court-imposed redistricting yesterday, ruling that three Virginia Congressmen could not show that they were harmed by the new plan. The ruling brings an end to a long-standing dispute over Virginia's congressional districting which arose after a federal district court ruled in 2012 that the state's redrawn congressional map relied too heavily on race, segregating black voters into already majority-African American district.

Representatives Randy Forbes, Robert Wittman, and David Brat, all Republicans, sought to challenge that ruling. But none of the Congress members were representatives of the district at issue and none of them could show how they would be harmed if the old plan was not reestablished, the Supreme Court determined in a short, unanimous decision written by Justice Brennan.

A black death row inmate has been saved from execution this morning, after the Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors violated the Constitution when striking all potential African American jurors from his trial. Timothy Foster had been convicted of capital murder in Georgia in 1987. He later discovered evidence showing that prosecutors exercised their peremptory strikes almost entirely because of race. Under Batson v. Kentucky, that evidence was enough to undo his conviction, the Supreme Court ruled 7-1 today.

But what the case means for Foster, and for others like him, is still unclear.

The federal judge who first ruled against President Obama's immigration reforms, a case currently pending in the Supreme Court, has made another bold and far-reaching move in connection to the case. After having found misconduct on the part of the government attorneys in the immigration case, District Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the Southern District of Texas has put himself in charge of their ethics training.

But it's not just those specific attorneys that Hanen wants to ethically reeducate. It's every single DOJ lawyer who appears in court -- in any court, federal or state, in 26 specific states over the next five years. If the order stands, Judge Hanen may soon become a very busy man. But, he's only doing it to help out the Supreme Court, Hanen says.

After Brandon Betterman pleaded guilty to bail jumping, he spent over 14 months in jail, simply waiting to be sentenced. Betterman eventually appealed, arguing that the year-long delay violated his right to a speedy trial.

But, unfortunately for Betterman and the many other individuals who can wait months before being sentenced, the Sixth Amendment's speedy trial guarantee does not include a right to a speedy sentencing, the Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous opinion released this morning.

A few months ago, the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency was widely dismissed. Now, the Donald has become the presumptive Republican nominee, giving him a not-insignificant chance at ruling the most powerful country in the world -- and selecting its Supreme Court justices.

And while Senate Republicans have stalled the nomination of Merrick Garland, President Obama's pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Trump has been busy putting together his own list of potential nominees, which he released today. Let's take a look.

You Google yourself. Go ahead, admit it. We all do. (Some people, I hear, even Bing themselves.)

But what if the Internet got your information wrong, giving you and everyone who Googled you an inaccurate view of your life? Do you have any recourse? For Thomas Robins, the chosen remedy was a lawsuit. When the "people search" website Spokeo published information about his life and got that information significantly wrong, Robins sued the company for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act. That suit faced a major setback from the Supreme Court on Monday, however, when the Court remanded Robins' suit for a more demanding inquiring into his standing.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued an opinion, or rather, a non-opinion, in one of the term's most important cases, Zubik v. Burwell, a challenge to Obamacare's contraception mandate procedures. In a brief, per curiam opinion, the Court remanded seven cases it had chosen to decide just months before -- without deciding any of the constitutional issues at hand. Accompanying orders tossed six more cases back to the appellate courts, where the judges will now have to grapple with the issues the Justices avoided, with little instruction other than to play nice and seek out compromise.

Is this the sign of a Court in disarray, crippled by a divided eight-Justice court? Or a pragmatic attempt to reach a compromise where compromise seems possible? Or none of the above?

After a few slow weeks, the Supreme Court dropped five new opinions this morning. They're not just small-beans disputes either -- rather, they include two of the Court's most important cases of the term, both of which touch on important constitutional issues. Those are Zubik v. Burwell, a challenge to Obamacare's contraception mandate, and Spokeo v. Robins, a dispute over whether privacy violations are sufficient to confer standing.

Here's a quick and dirty review of those opinions, with more to come in the following days.

There's a massive showdown coming to the Supreme Court -- over cheerleader uniforms. On one side is Star Athletica, an upstart purveyor of spirited outfits for spirited squads. On the other is Varsity Brands, hometown heroes and long-time reigning champs, at least when it comes to everything cheerleading. Caught in the middle are thousands of peppy high schoolers who just want to waive some pompoms and scream "go team!"

And last Monday, the Supreme Court decided it would play referee in the competition between the two companies, granting cert to a dispute over whether cheerleading uniform designs are entitled to copyright protection. So, cheerleaders, get ready to "bring it on!" On to the Supreme Court, that is.

Merrick Garland, chief judge of the D.C. Circuit and President Obama's pick for the Supreme Court, submitted his completed questionnaire to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. The questionnaire is a routine part of the Supreme Court nomination process -- and, given the unprecedented fight over Garland's nomination, part of the White House's attempt to pressure the Senate into acting. (The Judiciary Committee hadn't even requested that Garland complete the questionnaire.)

We read the whole thing, so you don't have to. (Alright, we read some of it. The full response included thousands of pages of supporting documents. The public version is a mere 142 pages long.) Here are some of the highlights.