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


Tweet Illustrates Sandra Day O'Connor's Struggle as a Woman Lawyer

In the Ruth Bader Ginsburg era, sometimes it's easy to forget what Sandra Day O'Connor went through to become the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

O'Connor was appointed in 1981, ending 191 years of Supreme Court history without a woman on the bench. She retired in 2006, but she and her legacy live on.

While her legal career has largely been written, occasionally that history rewrites itself. Like last week, when Twitter revealed that she was admitted to federal practice as "Mrs. John O'Connor."

Trump DOJ Reverses Position in Purged Voters Case

It's not unusual for a lawyer to switch allegiances -- government prosecutors often turn into private defense attorneys as a career path.

However, it is unusual for the federal government's top lawyers to change position in the middle of a case. In Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Department of Justice has reversed itself in a voting law case that is before the U.S. Supreme Court.

There is a changing of the guard at the Justice Department since President Trump took office, but the voting case comes at an awkward time for the administration and the U.S. Solicitor General's Office.

High Court Announces Electronic Filing

If all courts were like the U.S. Supreme Court, then access to the law would literally be free. They might also take a little longer to allow electronic filing.

The High Court announced that it will make "virtually all filings" available to the public at no cost. It is part of a new electronic filing system, to be up and running by Nov. 13, 2017, and similar to programs already working in other federal courts.

"Attorneys who expect to file documents at the Court will register in advance to obtain access to the electronic filing system," the court said in a press release. "Registration will open 4-8 weeks before the system begins operation."

According to the outspoken and sharply articulate judge Richard Posner, "we have a crappy judicial system" and "most of the [legal] technicalities are antiquated crap." The jurist has recently found himself making headlines not just for the flavorful language of his social commentary, but also for supporting a revolutionary idea for the U.S. Supreme Court: increasing the number of justices to 19.

In a recent interview, Judge Posner expressed support for expanding the judiciary. He explains that the current Court is mediocre and highly politicized due to the political nature of the selection of justices. Additionally, Posner posits that a mandatory retirement age of 80 be implemented for the High Court.

Ginsburg Tells Utah Lawyers to Make a Difference

It's not quite as rare as a solar eclipse, but it is a rare occasion when the U.S. Supreme Court's most liberal justice speaks to lawyers from the most conservative state in the nation.

And it was a moment to applaud, as more than 1,000 attorneys and their families gave a standing ovation to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at a convention of the Utah Bar Association. State Bar president Robert Rice said many lawyers brought their daughters to the event.

"They see her as a role model of not only what young women may be in the legal profession but what lawyers should be and what judges should be," he said.

Five Supreme Court protesters have just been sentenced to six weekends in jail. The group was arrested, and held in custody for 30 hours, after disrupting a 2015 Supreme Court proceeding.

While protesting the Supreme Court is all fine and dandy, doing so inside the actual courtroom is not. The group pleaded guilty to "illegal picketing and haranguing speeches on Supreme Court grounds," earning four of them one weekend in jail, and the fifth receiving two weekends in jail. Additionally, all five defendants have been ordered to stay away from the High Court for one year.

A Preview of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Movie

When it comes to movies based on real life, viewers must allow for some literary license.

Even in the upcoming biopic of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the justice would grant Felicity Jones some flexibility in portraying her. After all, the actress is English.

One thing is certain, however. The movie, set to begin filming in September, will hew to the truth that women have had to fight for equal rights in America.

On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, SCOTUS denied President Trump's lawyers' motion seeking clarification of the Court's recent order lifting the injunction that stopped the controversial travel ban from being enforced. The Court issued a short, two-paragraph, three-sentence, order denying the motion, primarily explaining that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals needs to rule before the High Court will rule again on this issue.

Curiously, the second paragraph to the order is a single sentence that states: "Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, and Justice Gorsuch would have stayed the District Court order in its entirety."

It is a rare occasion when the Supreme Court reverses itself, but what about Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr.?

It has happened, for example, when Chief Justice Roberts changed his vote on Obamacare. In that case, he flipped from the conservative majority to the liberal dissent.

Now court watchers are speculating that he has changed his view on same-sex marriage. Although that decision left the building two years ago, it matters again because there's a little rustling of the tea leaves at the Supreme Court.

'Very Troubling,' Scholar Says as High Court Closes Door on Injury Claims

Erwin Chemerinsky, the constitutional law scholar, may have more published opinions than any justice of the Supreme Court.

That's because media outlets often quote him, and judges generally do not talk to the press. So when Chemerinsky speaks, people usually listen.

Now that he has landed in the dean's chair at Berkeley Law, Chemerinksy also has a bully pulpit for his latest opinion: recent Supreme Court decisions are "very troubling."