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


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.

Supreme Children's Book Author: Sotomayor Has 3 New Kids Books

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor usually writes for a sophisticated audience.

Some of her most notable decisions have involved children, such as a custody dispute between parents in New York and Hong Kong. But her newest writings are intended for children to read.

Sotomayor is working on books for young people. One is a picture book that she hopes will show "happy endings are possible" even for struggling families.

Prosecutors Can Renege on Plea Deal, Supreme Court Rules

Criminal law is not a shell game, but it sure must look like it to Michael Daniel Cuero.

He pleaded guilty to two felonies and was sentenced to 14 years and four months in state prison. However, the prosecutor missed a prior offense in the deal and amended the complaint.

As a result, Cuero got 25 years to life in Kernan v. Cuero. A federal appeals court said he was entitled to the 14-year deal, but the U.S. Supreme Court reversed and remanded. By the time his sentence is straightened out, Cuero should ask for time served.

Inmate Can't Remember Crime, but Can Be Executed

It was the end of a long road for Vernon Madison.

Convicted of murdering a police officer more than 30 years ago, Madison had avoided his death sentence year after year. He was tried three times and appealed more, including a reversal this year when an appeals court said he was incompetent to be executed because he couldn't remember his crime.

But the U.S. Supreme Court drew the final curtain on Madison's journey through the courts, saying "nothwithstanding his memory loss -- he recognizes that he will be put to death as punishment for the murder he was found to have committed."

When a lawsuit brings both state and federal claims, and all the federal claims are dismissed, and the federal court decides not to exercise supplemental or ancillary jurisdiction over the state law claims, how long does a plaintiff have to file those state law claims in state court?

If you answered 30 days, then you'd be right. If you answered, it depends on how long the statute was tolled, you might also be right. But, a case currently being considered by SCOTUS might finally provide a more definitive answer. In the Artis v. District of Columbia matter, the High Court is being asked to decide whether the state law claim is tolled under federal statute, or if the 30-day filing window/grace period obviates the need for tolling.

A recent opinion piece poses the rather loaded question of whether the U.S. Supreme Court justices are 'front row kids,' and suggests that the judiciary will forever be run by these 'front row kids.' If you are asking yourself what that even means, you are probably not alone, but it'll soon feel like dork deja vu.

In short, a "front row kid" refers to the students in a classroom who sit in the front row, do their homework, raise their hand, and are un-liked by the students who sit in the back of the classroom. Basically, it's a pejorative term referring to society's "elites." Recently, political pundits have used the front row/back row kid analogy to describe the disconnect in partisan politics.

Justices Debate Semantics in Death Penalty Case

If your life were in the balance, it could be disconcerting to hear a debate over semantics.

Like doctors arguing in surgery about whether robots will take their place in the operating room, the debate might be interesting, but not when you're bleeding out.

So it was interesting to court watchers that U.S. Supreme Court Justices were arguing about whether two phrases meant the same thing. It was a death penalty case.

Second Travel Ban Challenge Dismissed

Donald Trump got out of thousands of lawsuits as a businessman, and as president he has escaped another one.

The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed as moot a second travel ban case, which had challenged the President's first revision of his executive order against mostly Muslim nations. That ban has expired and been replaced by another version.

The decision capped an earlier battle with a federal judge, but the same judge has issued an injunction against the President's third ban. Sooner or later, either President Trump or Judge Derrick Watson will be out of options.