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

Recently in People and Events Category

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been many things in her long life: an activist, an advocate, a disc jockey, an opera star, not to mention a Supreme Court justice. Now, she's about to add another row to her resume: Justice Ginsburg, spoken-word artist.

That's right, Her Notoriousness has been working on a short spoken-word album, the justice revealed last night at a speech at the Kennedy Center. "Some thoughts can't be expressed in a majority opinion," Ginsburg explained. "Or in an opera, for that matter."

Well, this is awkward. Just as Neil Gorsuch faced a barrage of hard hitting questions for the third day in a row, the Supreme Court overruled him on a controversial opinion from 2008. Senator Dick Durbin took the judge to task over that ruling, where the judge rejected a challenge by the parents of an autistic boy who claimed that his school had failed to provide him the educational services required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Since the student was making some progress toward his goals, the school had met its legal responsibilities, Gorsuch concluded.

But today, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that more than just de minimis progress was required. Gorsuch learned of the ruling during a brief break, allowing him to address it during his testimony.

You don't get to the Supreme Court without passing through the crucible of a Senate confirmation hearing -- and sometimes you don't get to the Supreme Court even then. But Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's SCOTUS nominee, survived the first day of his hearing relatively unscathed.

Here are the highlights, from the politics to the polyester to pro football.

There's been a lot of talk about Justice Ginsburg's workout regime these days -- the 84-year-old justice does bench 70 pounds, after all. But that's not the only Supreme Court workout worth noting.

While she was on the Court, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor began an early morning workout class at the Court. And she kept it going since then. Until now that is. After more than 35 years, Justice O'Connor's workout class is being forced to relocate.

Happy birthday, RBG! The Supreme Court Justice was born this day in Brooklyn, New York, 84 years ago. She is currently the oldest, and the shortest, member of the Supreme Court.

Justice Ginsburg's age has some worrying that she won't be on the Court for much longer. And whether you agree with her jurisprudence or not, there's no questioning that the Supreme Court wouldn't be the same without Justice Ginsburg. Thankfully, RBG doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon.

A president looking to make his mark on the Supreme Court, the logic goes, should nominate younger jurists for the bench. After all, a Neil Gorsuch, at age 49, is likely to have a few more years of adjudicating before him than, say, a 63-year-old Merrick Garland.

That common sense assumption is an accurate one, of course. Younger justices end up serving longer on average, according to a recent analysis by the Pew Research Center. But there are a few important exceptions.

No Supreme Court justice is more conservative than Clarence Thomas, right? With his hardline originalism, his narrow reading of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, his rejection of the Dormant Commerce Clause and stare decisis, Justice Thomas sits proudly on the farthest right wing of the Court.

Except, when it comes to conservatism, Justice Thomas could soon find himself out ranked. Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Tenth Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch, is significantly more conservative than both Justices Scalia and Thomas, according to a review of his Tenth Circuit decisions.

Antonin Scalia died one year ago today, yet his influence on American law, and the Supreme Court in particular, remains as large as it ever was. His originalist and textualist approach to the law remains well-established. That approach "changed the way almost all judges, and so almost all lawyers, thank and talk about the law," Justice Kagan said when dedicating the Antonin Scalia Law School in October.

Republicans successfully held off President Obama's nomination for Scalia's replacement in order to ensure that a jurist in Nino's model was able to take "Scalia's seat." Now Neil Gorsuch could be joining the bench, continuing Scalia's legacy.

And while there's plenty to learn from Scalia's approach to statutory interpretation, his skill at writing, or his influence on his colleagues, one recent tribute reminded us of this important lesson from the late justice: always make it home for dinner.

As President Trump's travel ban rockets to the Supreme Court, the administration's Justice Department remains noticeably understaffed -- at least when it comes to the solicitor general. Responsible for arguing on behalf of the federal government in the Supreme Court, the solicitor general's seat remains unfilled. The most likely nominee, Charles J. Cooper, withdrew his name from consideration on Thursday, saying he was no longer interested in the nomination process "after witnessing the treatment of my friend Jeff Sessions."

So, if not Cooper, who might it be?

President Trump has made multiple aggressive critiques of the judiciary in the less than three weeks he's been in office -- and not often in diplomatic terms. Angered by a nationwide temporary restraining order against his executive order on immigration, for example, the president decried a federal judge in Seattle as a "so-called judge" and warned that "If something happens blame him and the court system."

Then, while speaking to law enforcement officers yesterday, the president took aim at the Ninth Circuit panel hearing an appeal from that order, wondering how a court could not grasp concepts that even "a bad high school student would understand."

If such attacks have left the legal community exasperated, they've also started taking a toll on Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Tenth Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch, who reportedly called the attacks "demoralizing" and "disheartening," the New York Times reported yesterday.