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Why do these things always happen on a Friday? Last week, the Supreme Court dropped the bombshell that it was reviewing the Sixth Circuit's same-sex marriage case.

Today, the Court announced that it would hear the appeal of Richard Glossip and two other death row inmates in Oklahoma scheduled to be executed in the next few months. The petition is noteworthy because the inmates are challenging the legality of the lethal injection process itself.

After a nice, long, break, the Supreme Court is raring to go again, starting the second half of its October 2014 term with oral arguments on January 12.

The Court is apparently going to ease back into its job after vacation. This first week lacks the more polemical cases that we'll see later, focusing instead on interpreting regulations and statutes. (When will we get to same sex marriage and abortion?!)

What can SCOTUS watchers expect to see in the first week back? Here's a preview:

"Pneumatics!" begins Chief Justice Roberts' annual year-end report on the federal judiciary. In 1893, The Washington Post heralded the pneumatic tube as a brilliant way to move documents around a large building.

When the Supreme Court building was constructed in 1931, Cass Gilbert incorporated pneumatic tubes in order to distribute information to the press. The lesson, buried at the end of this historical journey: It took 38 years for the Court to embrace this new technology.

One Small Step Toward Transparency: SCOTUS to Post Briefs Online

It's not an uncommon opinion that the U.S. Supreme Court is a bit lacking when it comes to transparency. There are no cameras in the courtroom, opinions are changed without notice after being released, link rot plagues citations to online sources, and court watchers have to rely on third parties to access the briefs that, most of the time, are what makes up the justices' minds.

In other words, there is a lot of room for improvement.

In his end-of-the-year report, Chief Justice John Roberts announced that the Court will take one small step towards an ideal, transparent world: It will soon post all of those ever-important briefs online.

Speak Softly, Carry a Big Brief? Masculine Voices Fall Short at SCOTUS: Study

"Mister Chief Justice, may it please the Court?"

A recent study rated male lawyers as they argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, and nothing correlated with success quite like the masculinity of the lawyers' voice while uttering that phrase. But the real shocker? The more masculine the voice, the less likely the advocate was to win the case, according to the study.

Is it a statistical fluke? And were there any other interesting findings?

2014 in Review: The SCOTUS Stories You Loved Most This Year

We're nearing the end of the year: a time for reflection, a time for planning and resolutions.

Part of our process is to look back and see what you liked, measured by blog traffic. And for 2014, that included juicy justice gossip, a Scalia screw-up, and a few posts about cases that were working their way through the docket.

Here's the big list:

Except for oral arguments and the occasional back-page opinion attached to the order list, it's been a quiet week at the Supreme Court.

On December 1, the Court heard oral arguments in U.S. v. Elonis, the "Facebook threats" case. Last week, the Court heard another one of its more polemical cases, about whether UPS broke the law by not giving lighter assignments to pregnant employees, even though it had done so for injured employees.

Here are some other snippets from this week's Supreme Court news.

RBG Undergoes Emergency Heart Surgery, Resting Comfortably

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is resting comfortably and recovering after undergoing emergency heart surgery earlier today. Last night, during one of her legendary workouts with her personal trainer, she experienced discomfort and was taken to the hospital. This morning, she had a stent put in to alleviate blockage in her right coronary artery. The two-time cancer survivor and leader of the liberal wing of the court is expected to be released in the next 48 hours, reports the Chicago Tribune.

From all of us here at FindLaw, we wish her a speedy and comfortable recovery.

Obamacare Subsidies Case: No Court or Congress Fix Likely?

By now, you probably know what the Obamacare subsidies case is all about. We've written about it plenty, after all.

The outcome of the case will depend on what remedy the Court chooses to fashion to deal with what seems like an obvious drafting error -- the provision that limits the availability of insurance subsidies to those who use state-built exchanges, rather than the federal exchange which covers the many states which declined to build their own. Will the Court "fix" the error by assuming that Congress meant something other than what the text says, or will it punt on the issue and leave it for Congress to deal with?

And if it takes the latter route, is there any chance that Congress will fix the subsidy flaw?

Next Week's SCOTUS Oral Arguments: 3 Exciting, 3 Not So Much

With all the holidays over the next couple of months, the U.S. Supreme Court is going to be in and out of session on a very irregular schedule. Some weeks will only have a few oral arguments, many weeks will have none. And next week? Next week's oral arguments at the Court are some of the most interesting you'll see before the New Year.

There's national security versus a whistleblower. There's sawed-off shotties, destroyed fish, presidential power versus passports, a Truth in Lending Act case, and a case about securities that few beyond the actual parties to the case will actually be paying attention to.

Here are three cases we're excited about, and three that ... well ... every record has a B-side, right?