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

September 2017 Archives

Justice Kennedy in the Middle of the Cake Case

Everybody has opinion about how U.S. Supreme Court Justices will vote, but experts say one opinion really matters in the wedding cake case.

In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a baker refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker, said it was against his religion.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case this term, but court-watchers will be listening for cues from Justice Anthony Kennedy. Experts say he will likely cast the deciding vote.

Supreme Court Postpones a Decision on Trump's Travel Ban

President Trump extended his travel ban to individuals from Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela, which prompted the U.S. Supreme Court to delay a decision on his previous travel order.

With some modifications from the High Court, the prior executive order against six other nations is already in effect. And according to legal experts, the new order has a better chance of standing up in court.

The justices were preparing to hear arguments on Oct. 10, but they have removed the case from their calendar pending further consideration.

Do Judicial Interruptions Reveal Conflicts on the Supreme Court?

If your momma told you not to interrupt somebody, she was on to something that legal researchers have now discovered.

According to a new study, the frequency of interruptions between the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court correlates to their voting patterns. As you might intuit, the divisions increase with the interruptions.

"We find that on average a judicial pair is 7 percent less likely to vote together in a case for each interruption that occurs in the case between the judicial pair in the oral argument," law professors say.

Justice Ginsburg Promises a 'Momentous' Supreme Court Term

With the U.S. Supreme Court set to open Oct. 2, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is warming up the crowd.

Speaking at Georgetown Law, she promised it will be a "momentous" term with issues such as the President's travel ban, religious freedom, voting rights, and same-sex marriage. But the notorious RBG also entertained, especially when asked how she choose her early career.

"How did I decide to become a flaming feminist litigator?" she posed, evoking smiles and chuckles from the crowd.

Ginsburg to Congress: Stop the Nonsense

When the late Justice Antonin Scalia was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1986, the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed him.

In contrast two decades later, nearly two dozen Senators -- voting along party lines -- opposed the nomination of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. A pattern of partisan opposition emerged as Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan came before the lawmakers for consideration.

"My hope -- and I hope I will live to see it in this lifetime -- is that our Congress will get over this nonsense," said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Pioneering Gay Rights Activist Dies: Edith Windsor's Legal Legacy

Edith Windsor, who won a pioneering case for same-sex marriages, has died.

She was not a lawyer, but she won a case that secured her legacy in civil rights history. Two past presidents honored her after news of her passing.

"Few were as small in stature as Edie Windsor -- and few made as big a difference to America," said former President Barack Obama.

Title VII Sexual Orientation Suit Filed at Supreme Court

It's not that the case came from the Deep South, but Judge Robin Rosenbaum knew the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals was in deep trouble.

As she wrote in her long dissent in Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, the Eleventh Circuit majority was about 50 years behind the times. Now the U.S. Supreme Court will decide if it's time to bring the appeals court up to date.

The question is whether an employer may discriminate against a person based on sexual orientation. Is that still a question in 2017?

Trump Lawyers Back the Baker Against Gay Couple

No shorts, no shoes, no shirt, no service. But what about gay couples?

That's the question baker Jack Phillips poses to the U.S. Supreme Court in a showdown between gay and religious rights. For now, the U.S. Justice Department has answered the question: no service.

"Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights," Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall argues in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Supreme Court to Consider Attorney's Fees in Prison Beating Case

After all that Charles Murphy suffered at the hands of prison guards, his case is going to the U.S. Supreme Court over another issue: attorney's fees.

The High Court has docketed the case, Murphy v. Smith, to decide whether a portion of a judgment means "up to 25 percent" or "exactly 25 percent" for attorney's fees under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983. The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals said that Murphy has to pay 25 percent of the fees from his award.

Murphy's attorneys, who won a $307,733 judgment, said the appeals court cut too much into the recovery for attorney's fees to be paid by the plaintiff. They want the defendants -- prison guards who beat him -- to pay more.