Supreme Court People and Events News - U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court - The FindLaw U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Summaries Blog

Recently in People and Events Category

In this week's 'More Perfect' recap, our weekly look into NPR's new Supreme Court podcast, we're looking at the 'imperfect plaintiffs' behind some of the Supreme Court's most important cases.

Actually, we're looking at just two imperfect plaintiffs, John Lawrence and Tyron Garner. That's Lawrence as in ITAL Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court case that overturned state bans on sodomy. It's a case that starts with police bursting in on Lawrence and Garner, disrobed in their apartment, and ends with one of the most important gay rights victories ever. It's the case that helped lay the foundation for Windsor and Obergefell a decade later. But the story behind Lawrence might not be what you were expecting.

When the Supreme Court deadlocked on President Obama's immigration reform plan, it marked a major defeat for the president. The four-to-four tie left in place a Fifth Circuit ruling halting Obama's immigration reforms, essentially bringing an end to a program that would have prevented the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants -- and which the president had hoped would be one of his signature achievements.

But less than a month later, the government is asking for a second chance, petitioning for a rehearing once the court gets its ninth justice. Such rehearings are incredibly rare, but they are not unprecedented. To make its case, the government turned to the Court's own history, noting that an equally divided Court had reheard similar cases before -- many from the late 1800's. Hey, precedent is precedent.

Justice Anthony Kennedy has long been the Supreme Court's swing vote, usually swinging a little right of center. Though a Republican and a Reagan appointee, Kennedy has never been as ideologically rigid as some of his more conservative colleagues. He's joining the conservative majority one day, then penning groundbreaking gay rights opinions on the next.

But if Justice Kennedy has been hard to pin down in the past, the Court's most recent term might have made it a bit easier to box him in. Could this be the term Justice Kennedy came out as a liberal?

Think the Supreme Court is too staid for hipsters? Think again. Ever since Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes grew out a killer 'stache, the Court has been home to secret hipsters, and every Court has had its most hipster justice. Justice George Sutherland sported a beard that would put most Brooklynites to shame, for example, and Justice Thurgood Marshall's glasses had a very Rivers-Cuomo-circa-1994 vibe. Some say they didn't even have lenses.

So, who is the biggest hipster on today's Court? Here's the definitive ranking.

Muhammad Ali won his first world heavyweight championship when he was just 22 years old. "I am the greatest! I shook up the world. I'm the prettiest thing that ever lived," he declared after his victory. And he was more or less right. Ali would go on to win that title twice more, establishing himself as one of the most talented athletes of the 20th Century.

But Muhammad Ali wasn't just an athlete. He was a civil rights champion and a major cultural and political figure. And after he refused to fight in the Vietnam War, he was a champion in the Supreme Court as well. Here's a look back at Ali's legal win.

The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Virginia's court-imposed redistricting yesterday, ruling that three Virginia Congressmen could not show that they were harmed by the new plan. The ruling brings an end to a long-standing dispute over Virginia's congressional districting which arose after a federal district court ruled in 2012 that the state's redrawn congressional map relied too heavily on race, segregating black voters into already majority-African American district.

Representatives Randy Forbes, Robert Wittman, and David Brat, all Republicans, sought to challenge that ruling. But none of the Congress members were representatives of the district at issue and none of them could show how they would be harmed if the old plan was not reestablished, the Supreme Court determined in a short, unanimous decision written by Justice Brennan.

After a few slow weeks, the Supreme Court dropped five new opinions this morning. They're not just small-beans disputes either -- rather, they include two of the Court's most important cases of the term, both of which touch on important constitutional issues. Those are Zubik v. Burwell, a challenge to Obamacare's contraception mandate, and Spokeo v. Robins, a dispute over whether privacy violations are sufficient to confer standing.

Here's a quick and dirty review of those opinions, with more to come in the following days.

Merrick Garland, chief judge of the D.C. Circuit and President Obama's pick for the Supreme Court, submitted his completed questionnaire to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. The questionnaire is a routine part of the Supreme Court nomination process -- and, given the unprecedented fight over Garland's nomination, part of the White House's attempt to pressure the Senate into acting. (The Judiciary Committee hadn't even requested that Garland complete the questionnaire.)

We read the whole thing, so you don't have to. (Alright, we read some of it. The full response included thousands of pages of supporting documents. The public version is a mere 142 pages long.) Here are some of the highlights.

The Supreme Court heard the final oral argument of the season last Wednesday. And while we're still waiting for decisions in many of those cases, we can now get a sense of which attorneys had the biggest impact on the Court this term -- at least when measured by their participation in cases argued.

In fact, we can get more than a sense, we can get exact numbers, thanks to the folks at Empirical SCOTUS who counted up the Court's top litigators so you don't have to. Let's take a look at the results.

The Supreme Court heard its final oral argument of the term this morning, and it was a fittingly weighty one: the case of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. McDonnell was convicted on corruption charges in 2014, stemming from his relationship with a Richmond businessman who gave him nearly $200,000 in gifts and loans.

McDonnell currently faces two years in prison for public corruption, but he may end up going free without serving a single day, if today's oral arguments are any indication. A majority of the Supreme Court justices seemed ready to significantly limit, or maybe even strike down, the federal bribery statute used to convict the governor.