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


Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to add a handful of cases to their docket. Among the seven new cases is a familiar issue: partisan gerrymandering.

While the Gil v. Whitford case is still under submission, the High Court will hear a slightly different challenge to the practice of political parties gerrymandering voting districts after winning a controlling majority in a state's legislature. Gil dealt with an equal protection challenge, while the new case, Benisek v. Lamone, deals with a First Amendment challenge.

SCOTUS Won't Hear LGBT Workplace Discrimination Case

LGBT rights attorneys are not giving up, but Jameka Evans' sex discrimination case is definitely over.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined her petition without comment after the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed her case. Evans had argued her employer discriminated against her because of her sexual orientation and nonconformity to gender norms.

"Under our prior precedent rule, we are bound to follow a binding precedent in this Circuit unless and until it is overruled by this court en banc or by the Supreme Court," the appeals court said in Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital.

The closely watched Masterpiece Cakeshop case may be a far cry from Masterpiece Theater, but all eyes were certainly on Justice Kennedy during the case's oral argument. Commentators have long expected that Justice Kennedy would be the swing vote deciding the matter.

Unfortunately for the commentators, Kennedy did not provide a very clear indication of any potential leanings. In fact, he seemed to swing back and forth during the arguments, appearing to support either side at various times.

In what may come as a surprise to many, the third travel ban issued via executive order has been temporarily cleared by SCOTUS in a pair of unexpected Monday morning orders. And, if your head is spinning at this point, wondering how in the world that happened, don't worry, you weren't meant to see this one coming.

In an emergency appeal filed by the DOJ days before Thanksgiving, it asked the High Court to stay the preliminary injunctions issued by the district courts in Hawaii and Maryland. While opponents of the ban did their best to fight it, SCOTUS ruled that the preliminary injunctions should be lifted pending the resolution of the Fourth and Ninth Circuit appeals. Also, as you might have expected, Justices Ginsberg and Sotomayor dissented and would have denied the requested stay.

The Supreme Court recently heard arguments in the Christie v. NCAA matter. The questions asked by the justices and their responses are leading commentators to believe the High Court could very well legalize sports gambling not just in Jersey, but nationwide.

Some justices were rather skeptical of the argument that the 1992 federal gaming prohibition was an overreach of Congress's authority to regulate state activity, and particularly what that would mean for similar congressional enactments. But, as reports have noted, other justices, including Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Roberts and Alito, were much more receptive.

A pair of patent appeals were argued before the High Court this week, each with potentially massive ramifications for IP litigators. One involves a challenge to a part of the inter partes patent review process established by the 2011 America Invents Act, while the other challenges the whole inter partes review process.

Both appeals strike a chord within the tech and intellectual property communities as each is attacking a process designed to stem and discourage patent trolls from filing lawsuits. The inter partes patent review process was designed to resolve the technical aspects of patent infringe disputes in a more cost effective manner.

The United States Supreme Court dealt a blow to gun advocates today by rejecting a pair of appeals, each seeking to overturn state law restrictions on firearms. One of the appeals involved the Maryland ban on assault rifles and high capacity magazines, and the other involved Florida's ban on the open carry of handguns.

Notably, the High Court has not heard a major gun case since 2010. At that time, it held that handguns could not be banned by state and local governments for protection in a home. And, likely due to the high level of public concern related to the recent spate of mass shootings, the Court probably does not want to loosen any gun restrictions that have been upheld by an appellate court.

Despite there being no vacancies on the United States Supreme Court, and no plans to expand the High Court, President Donald Trump has announced five more potential candidates to his already long and distinguished "shortlist" of nominees, should another vacancy arise.

SCOTUS to Hear Challenge to Political Apparel Law

In the shadow of the U.S. Supreme Court, millions of Americans have marched on Washington to express political opinions on everything from abortion to war.

But in the one place that their vote actually counts -- the polling place -- several states have declared political speech off-limits. Federal appeals courts have upheld such "speech-free zones" in various states.

In Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, it seems the U.S. Supreme Court may have something to say about that.

Marijuana Dispensary Case Makes It to the Supreme Court

While many states are legalizing marijuana, cannabis lawyers are quick to advise that federal laws trump state laws when it comes to controlled substances.

Federal prosecutors have come and gone, but one thing is certain. The Internal Revenue Service is not going to leave the marijuana industry alone.

In the course of auditing tax filings, the IRS found that a Colorado marijuana business was criminally culpable under federal drug laws. The company, in The Green Solution Retail, Inc. v. United States of America, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the agency exceeded its power.