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

Speaking at the University of Minnesota Law School earlier this week, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that the Sixth Circuit cases on same-sex marriage were going to be crucial to the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decisions.

If the Sixth Circuit upholds bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, "there will be some urgency" on the High Court's part to intervene, Ginsburg told the audience.

The topic of the week for me seems to be legal writing. And my favorite type of post is the "poll the audience" post because it means I can be a spineless scribe and take no stance whatsoever.

So, after writing an advice column for law students and young attorneys about legal writing, I decided to shelve my "Sexiest SCOTUS Justice" topic for a few more weeks and instead ask you, dear readers, who you think the best and worst writers among our Supreme Court justices?

A note: I'm including a few suggestions from myself, the press, blogs, and Twitter friends, but I'll include all nine justices in each poll, just in case.

Marcia Coyle, a long-time Supreme Court reporter and the author of a great book on the Roberts Court, sat down earlier this week with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her chambers.

This interview went a bit deeper than a lot of recent interviews, and covered a broad range of topics, with Ginsburg's statements on these five topics standing out to me the most: the death penalty, Justice Sonia Sotomayor's dissents, gay marriage, law school, and the "Notorious RBG" fan club.

The U.S. Supreme Court has stayed the Fourth Circuit's decision in the Virginia gay marriage case, which means licenses won't be handed out to same-sex couples tomorrow. Anyone surprised by this? Thought so.

And despite a national trend toward increased support for same-sex marriage, at least one state is still staunchly opposed. Any guesses?

And finally, who wants to see a Supreme Court justice dump a bucket of ice water on his or her noggin? (Answer: We all do!)

With only two years left in his presidency, and no apparent Supreme Court vacancies in sight, is President Obama ever going to nominate another justice?

Following the president's remarks on that very topic this week, The Wall Street Journal's Jacob Gershman did the math, and it looks like Obama may indeed get that chance, at least statistically speaking. According to Gershman, 82 percent of U.S. presidential terms have overlapped with at least one vacancy on the Supreme Court.

That's a pretty high number, but how could he have arrived at that figure? Let's take a closer look.

With the High Court still on summer vacation, there are no hard-hitting legal issues before the Court quite yet (unless you count Justice Sonia Sotomayor rounding up kids to hug Hillary Clinton as "hard-hitting").

As a result, we have three important current events from the world of the Supreme Court this week to tide you over until October -- or at least, until our next blog post:

Some would argue that the Supreme Court is utterly predictable: We all know that Scalia is going to go scour the statutes, Thomas is going to complain about Commerce Clauses (dormant or otherwise), and Sotomayor is going to tick off her colleagues.

And with 9-0 decisions at a high point (66 percent this term, versus an average of 44 percent over the preceding five terms), prediction can't be that difficult, can it?

According to Prof. Josh Blackman, the creator of FantasySCOTUS, the "power predictors" hit 75 percent. Next season, FantasySCOTUS players will go up against more than a few SCOTUS nerds with lucky guesses: They'll battle a predictive algorithm designed by Blackman and his colleagues, one that predicts individual justices' votes 70.9 percent of the time, and overall affirm/reverse decisions 69.7 percent, tested against 7,000 past cases.

Many liberals want Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to retire immediately, despite her status as a liberal lion and the leader of the "left" side of the bench. Conservatives want her to stick around, again, despite her political leanings and even though she's shown no signs of slowing down whatsoever.

Why? Everybody is worried about Ginsburg's potential replacement. If she retires while President Barack Obama is in office, and before this year's midterms, there's a good chance she'll be replaced with a like-minded judge, leaving the 4-4-Kennedy split. Republicans, obviously, would prefer that she hold out, hoping that 2016 brings a conservative to White House (and one to her seat as well).

We've said it before, and so has Justice Ginsburg: As long as she's able, she's not planning to step aside for anyone. But an interesting article in The Daily Beast argues that it's already too late -- a filibuster would block a liberal replacement anyway.

How many times have you stared at Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and thought to yourself, "I can't help but wonder ... isn't RBG just an older Carrier Bradshaw?" Of course you have not. But if you understand that reference at all, you'll love the newest Supreme Court parody making the rounds around the Internet.

If you don't, well, we have a list of interesting cases set for the fall. Also, even though we just talked about the death penalty on Friday, the courts are ridin' again, west sidin' again, with the Ninth Circuit staying an execution pending a challenge to a state's secret lethal injection drugs. It's an issue that we've seen crop up repeatedly, nationwide, over the last couple of years, and now, it's a circuit split.

It's also the second anti-death penalty ruling to come from the Ninth Circuit's territory (the other decision was from a district court in California) in less than a week, both of which could end up on the Supreme Court's docket.

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.