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


A divided Supreme Court blocked implementation of the EPA's Clean Power Plan on Tuesday. The stay, issued in response to five challenges to the plan, means that the Obama administration may not take any steps to implement its key climate change strategy, which would have drastically limited greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

It's unusual for the Court to stay federal regulations in response to a challenge and the move may indicate that many justices hold serious doubts about the Clean Power Plan's legality.

From the past to the present, there have been hundreds of laws that seek to "protect" women by denying them full rights: laws shielding women from the corrupting influence of politics, and voting; laws guarding women from hearing "sordid evidence," by keeping them off juries; laws keeping women from dangerous work as high-paid pharmacists, but not low-paid janitors. And now, at least in Texas, those laws include protecting women from medical risks associated with abortion by virtually eliminating their access to it.

Let's call these "White Knight" laws. They're laws that seek to save women from the harms of the world, by simultaneously denied them full citizenship, liberty, and economic and political participation. According to a recent amicus brief in Whole Women's Health v. Hellerstedt, those laws warrant extra scrutiny from the Supreme Court.

U.S. Senator from Texas and current presidential hopeful, Ted Cruz, was born in Canada. Normally, that wouldn't matter much. Cruz's Canadian roots haven't made him politer, more boring, or any better at hockey.

But, those roots might make it harder for him to become president, for the U.S. Constitution reserves the role of commander in chief for "natural born citizens." Now, many legal academics are weighing in on whether Cruz's birth in the nation to our north could keep him from leading the United States. Here's what they're saying.

Happy Birthday, Justice Alito! No, Samuel Alito doesn't turn ten today (he'll turn 66 this April Fool's day, however). Instead, this week saw Justice Alito celebrating his tenth anniversary as a Supreme Court justice.

To celebrate, we're pulling together our favorite Alito-related posts. For while Justice Alito often gets overlooked -- he doesn't have the acid bite of conservative colleague Justice Scalia, nor does he require the same fawning attention as Justice Kennedy, and he lacks some of the swag of the Notorious R.B.G. -- his role on the court is more important than many recognize.

The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act allows Native American tribes to take over certain aid programs that would otherwise be the responsibility of the federal government. The Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin did just that, entering into a "self-determination contract" with the Indian Health Services.

Contracting tribes are eligible to receive money that the U.S. government would have spent on the program, but many have complained that the federal government has often failed to fully reimburse contract support cost. Those dissatisfied tribes include the Menominee, who sued after years of conflict with the federal government -- only to have some of their claims rejected for falling outside the statute of limitations. The tribe argued that equitable tolling should allow them to pursue their claims, but the Supreme Court unanimously rejected that argument on January 25th. Here's why.

Can't get enough of Justice Scalia? Want to know when Justice Sotomayor makes a stop in your town? Figuring out how to stalk your favorite Supreme Court justice isn't as hard as it might seem, thanks to a handy map that lets you know where the justices have been, are, and will be.

SCOTUS Map is a project of Victoria Kwan and Jay Pinho and regularly lists the public appearances of the Supreme Court nine. Let's poke around.

SCOTUS Sides With Obama, FERC Stays

On Monday, SCOTUS helped solidify one of President Obama's major policy goals by ruling in favor of the "demand response" provisions of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

The decision appears to be the end-of-the-line for major opponents of the regulation now that FERC has received the Supreme Court's blessing.

Four years ago, in Miller v. Alabama, the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences without parole were an unconstitutional violation of the Eighth Amendment. Since then, there has been significant debate about Miller's reach: are automatic life without parole sentences verboten only for offenders sentenced after the Court's ruling, or should childhood offenders from long ago be given the opportunity of parole?

Today (while the rest of Washington took the day off to shovel itself out of the snow) the Court settled the debate, ruling that Miller applied retroactively and that all mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional, whether the sentencing took place five days or 50 years ago.

Here's a fun guessing game: which current presidential contender's Supreme Court clerkship was characterized by an obsession with the death penalty and the "lurid details of murders?"

Not sure? Here's a hint: he was born in Canada.

It was a frontier-themed set of oral arguments in the Supreme Court today, as attorneys debated how to define native tribal territory and the extent of federal regulation over wild lands. The first case involves liquor stores and the boundaries of the Omaha Indian Reservation since 1882. The second concerns a 70-year old elk hunter and his renegade hovercraft.

Here's what went down when the Wild West came east for oral arguments.