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

June 2011 Archives

Twitter, Facebook, Huh? Justice Roberts Talks Social Media

Does the use of social media undermine the credibility of the U.S. Supreme Court?

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts spoke about the use of Facebook and Twitter among the Nine at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judicial Conference last Saturday. At the conference, which was covered by CSPAN, Justice Roberts talked about the inner workings of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Fourth Circuit judicial conference took place in White Sulphur Springs in West Virginia last weekend.

Supreme Court Denies Cert in Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal Suit

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to revive a lawsuit against two defense contractors, which alleged that the defense contractors' employees engaged in torture at Abu Ghraib prison.

The lawsuit was filed in 2004 after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal became public and was brought against CACI International Inc. and L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. The former provided interrogators at Abu Ghraib while the latter provided interpreters to the U.S. military, reports Reuters.

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects California Video Game Law

The verdict is in on the California video game law. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 vote on the video game issue, reports Reuters, ruling the video game ban as unconstitutional.

The California law restricted the sale of violent video games to minors. California video vendors brought suit against the state of California alleging that the law violated freedom of speech under the First Amendment.

In the last blog post, we discussed the California video game case as it came before the U.S. Supreme Court and the oral arguments in the case.

End of the Anna Nicole Smith Trial? U.S. Supreme Court Decides

The Anna Nicole Smith trial has finally come to an end. Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the heirs of deceased model Anna Nicole Smith, reports the New York Times.

The former Playboy Playmate had been involved in estate litigation well before her untimely death. She was married to oil tycoon Howard Marshall II and was tangled up in a bitter battle over his estate for several years.

SCOTUS Reverses Halliburton Securities Class Action Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court decision on the securities class action against Halliburton might be a few weeks old, but it's still pretty fresh on the news circuit. That's likely because it involves a famous company, notorious for its ties with former U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney.

The dark side of this case came at the Fifth Circuit level, when the Court of Appeals upheld a ruling from the district court, saying that the plaintiffs had not satisfied the requirements to bring a securities class action against Halliburton, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 23.

Under Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals precedent, plaintiffs in a securities class action were required to prove "loss causation." Loss causation, according to the Fifth Circuit, was the element that required the plaintiff to show that the defendant's deceptive conduct caused the plaintiff-investor's claimed economic loss.

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Walmart Class Action Lawsuit

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the giant retail chain today in the Walmart class action lawsuit. The sexual discrimination lawsuit was blocked from being tried as a class action as the Supreme Court delivered the news, overturning a ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The gender discrimination lawsuit would have allowed 1.5 million women to proceed against the retailer as a class, potentially costing Walmart billions of dollars, reports MSNBC.

Mike Newdow's Lawsuit Against the Pledge of Allegiance Rejected

Michael Newdow is at it again. But unfortunately for him, the U.S. Supreme Court is putting the kybosh on his crusade against religion in schools. After the First Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his argument that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance were an endorsement of religion in schools, Newdow had high hopes that the high court would review.

But it is one more down for atheist activist Mike Newdow; the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case, without issuing any comment.

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Cert in Texas Habeas Petition Case

The U.S. Supreme Court granted a petition of certiorari to hear a Texan prisoner's habeas case. The case comes to the U.S. Supreme Court from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case before the Supreme Court involves a Texan murder convict, Rafael Arriaza Gonzalez. While the facts of his murder case are irrelevant to the U.S. Supreme Court, the procedural posture is.

Gonzalez did not file his habeas petition within the one year statute of limitations in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, writes Courthouse News. For years, he has been arguing his case before the Texas state courts and before the U.S. federal courts.

Of Copyrights and Caselaw: Steinbeck Heirs Denied Cert

John Steinbeck's heirs won't be standing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court anytime in the near future. The U.S. Supreme Court denied their petition for certiorari in a dispute centered around the copyrights to the famous author's works.

The case was filed by Thomas Steinbeck, the sole surviving son of John Steinbeck. Currently, Thomas and his daughter, Blake Smyle, receive a portion of the proceeds from Steinbeck book sales, reports The Associated Press.

California Prisons: Governor Jerry Brown Has a Plan

Here's the latest on the California prison debacle:

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order to the Golden State: Fix your prisons! The U.S. Supreme Court order essentially upheld a lower court ruling that required California to reduce the number of inmates in its jails by 23 percent.

The State of California has overcrowded prisons with deplorable conditions. But what to do?

Earlier this week, reports The Wall Street Journal, California unveiled a plan to deal with the prisons problem. The plan involves moving low-level offenders to county jails and building new prisons to accommodate more serious offenders.

California Video Game Law Before U.S. Supreme Court

Should the U.S. Supreme Court rule that states have the right to enforce a violent video game ban, in restricting the sale of violent video games to minors? Would any such restriction be a violation of free speech under the First Amendment?

According to a poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Public Mind, fifty-seven percent of American voters think that states should be able to regulate the sale of violent video games whereas thirty-nine percent say that these decisions are best left to the parents. The telephone poll was conducted nationwide and consisted of 800 registered voters.

US Supreme Court Oks Idaho Football Player's Terror Detention

Let's discuss the tale of Abdullah Al-Kidd. His case was recently reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. But before we jump into the court's decision, we need to lay out the facts of the case and what really happened to Abdullah Al-Kidd.

Al-Kidd, a U.S. born athlete who once played football for the University of Idaho, was detained when boarding a plane for Saudi Arabia, back in 2003, writes The Spokesman Review. The reason for his detention? He was allegedly a material witness with his testimony needed in the case against Sami Omar al-Hussayen. Both Al-Kidd and Hussayen had been at the University of Idaho and both had also done charity work for a Muslim charity that came under federal scrutiny for suspected ties to terrorism.

First Elena Kagan, Now Clarence Thomas: The Case for Recusal

The Obamacare lawsuit recusal train is on the move. Next stop -- Justice Clarence Thomas.

Justice Thomas' impartiality is being called into question by Democrats with regards to the possible healthcare lawsuit. Of course, the lawsuit has yet to reach the Supreme Court, as it is currently in the district courts.

Nevertheless, people on both sides of the Obamacare debate are calling for judicial impartiality. First, Justice Elena Kagan's impartiality was brought into question in light of her role of crafting the Government's defense for Obamacare in her role as Solicitor General. Now, Democratic representative Anthony Weiner is calling for Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from the potential Obamacare lawsuit if and when it reaches the U.S. Supreme Court.

Justice Stephen Breyer Breaks Collarbone in Bike Accident

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer broke his collarbone over the Memorial Day long weekend as he was riding his bike in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Associated Press reports that the seventy-two year old Judge is no stranger to bike accidents. In fact, his 1993 bike accident was far worse, when he punctured a lung and suffered broken ribs after being hit by a car while riding across Harvard Square.