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


What a week! And we were worried that we'd be topic dry once the Supreme Court's summer session hit.

As is our usual Friday bit, we're going to do a roundup of Supreme Court-related headlines. This time, Utah is seeking a stay on "interim" marriages (same-sex couples married before the Supreme Court's grant of a stay), the Tenth Circuit rules against Oklahoma's ban, and Florida gets its first pro-gay marriage opinion.

And then there's California: foie gras and the death penalty.

She came, she saw, she got remanded. And now, she'll petition the Supreme Court for another grant of certiorari after the Fifth Circuit once again ruled against her.

Abigail Fisher didn't get into the University of Texas at Austin. Others, who were arguably less qualified, did under the university's "holistic" approach to admissions, which considers race as a positive, but not dispositive factor. She's now lost twice at the Fifth Circuit, so why might the Supreme Court be her best hope?

It's because a handful of justices are really are itching to end affirmative action.

Gay marriage is coming to the Supreme Court, sooner rather than later. And for the dozens of cases proceeding nationwide, expending resources to litigate on a state-by-state basis, the answer can't come soon enough.

How soon are we talking? Could it happen this year? And which state(s) will be the ones to get there? Utah will obviously be the first to file certiorari, as we noted last week, but will the court take the first case in the cert. pool?

Happy Friday afternoon. If you're still stuck behind a desk, and done reading about LeBron James and Jeremy Lin, you're probably looking for something else to tide you over until you sneak out early.

We've got your back. Here is a roundup of the biggest end-of-the-week Supreme Court news, including Chief Justice John Roberts' alleged lie and the Supreme Court's next dates with Obamacare and gay marriage:

Supreme Court cases are interesting. But equally interesting is what happens next.

For example, who would've thought that last year's decision in Windsor would, within one year, lead to more than twenty court decisions in favor of gay marriage. Even in Justice Antonin Scalia's worst nightmares, it didn't happen that quickly.

The Court's term just ended, but the fallout has been immediate: the ruling against a Massachusetts abortion protest buffer zone has already led local governments to reevaluate their own variants of the laws, while the media continues to lament the Court's decision in the contraceptive coverage cases, especially after the Court issued a controversial order late last week regarding exemption paperwork.

And, of course, the left is still freaking out about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's age and unwillingness to retire.

Last week, the Supreme Court decided that closely-held corporations had religious rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), which were violated by the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act ("ACA"), in the much-publicized Hobby Lobby decision. In reaching that decision, the Court noted that filing a Form 700 accommodation "constitutes an alternative that achieves all of the Government's aims while providing greater respect for religious liberty."

Yet, days later, the same Court granted an emergency injunction of a non-profit Illinois college contesting the Form 700 accommodation, which according to them -- the solitary act of filling out a form -- violates their religious liberties.

All eyes have been on Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court's decision on the contraceptive mandate. But what about the other Supreme Court decision from the Court's final day, also authored by Justice Samuel Alito?

Is Harris v. Quinn a decision that we shouldn't be overlooking?

If we had told you that today's Obamacare birth control mandate would be a matter of statutory interpretation, and that five conservative justices would vote against the mandate in the name of corporations' religious rights, would that at all surprise you?

Today's decision was exactly that: closely held corporations have religious rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and therefore, can't be forced to provide birth control to their employees through Obamacare-mandated health coverage. The decision is based on the text of the statutes themselves, as well as the holding that there are less restrictive means for providing birth control: having someone else pay for it by extending the exception for religious nonprofits to closely held corporations with religious owners.

Huh?

This is a weird opinion. That's not to say that it is correct or incorrect: facing a balance between free speech rights of peaceful anti-abortion protestors and a woman's right to obtain reproductive health services, the Court sided with free speech unanimously, while five justices suggested that there might be other avenues for protecting those headed in to abortion clinics.

But just a few years ago, the Court upheld a buffer zone in Colorado, one which was barely mentioned in the McCullen opinion. Also, the opinion bends over backwards to hold that the statute is content-neutral, only to strike it down anyway under a lower standard of scrutiny as insufficiently tailored, all while Justice Scalia protested in concurrence.

The question has never been whether the Obama administration would lose in the Noel Canning recess appointments case -- it was how badly they would lose. And lose they did, though the damage was limited by a Justice Stephen Breyer opinion that meandered through history to come up with a recess is a real recess if it's more than three and probably not less than ten unless it's a really scary vacancy rule.

Needless to say, Justice Antonin Scalia wasn't happy. He was so unhappy, in fact, that he not only wrote a classic Scalia rant, but he also read his concurrence from the bench -- an odd and rare move that typically only happens with passionate dissents.