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

April 2012 Archives

Filarsky Tells Delia to Read SCOTUS Opinion in Hell

Supreme Court litigants rarely obtain celebrity status after decisions are rendered. Norma McCorvey, better known as Jane Roe, is probably the most famous former litigant because she switched sides and became a pro-life advocate in 1995. Most people don't know that Brown v. Board of Education plaintiff Oliver Brown was a welder, or that Ernesto Miranda died after a bar fight. Winners typically slip from their Supreme Court victories back into their normal lives.

California attorney Steve Filarsky, however, managed to extend his Supreme Court fame for a few extra minutes.

There's No Ethnic Profiling in Arizona S.B. 1070?

In A League of Their Own, Coach Jimmy Dugan, (played by Tom Hanks), chastises one of the Rockford Peaches after a botched play, saying, "Are you crying? There's no crying. There's no crying in baseball."

As Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr. stepped up to the plate in Wednesday's oral arguments about Arizona S.B. 1070, Coach Chief Justice John Roberts offered a similar warning from the bench.

Paul Clement, Donald Verrilli: Rematch This Week with S.B. 1070

In a normal year, the Supreme Court's review of the Arizona immigration law -- S.B. 1070 -- might have been the case to watch.

This year, however, has been anything but normal.

In March, the Supreme Court heard six hours of oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The two attorneys responsible for most of the arguments in the healthcare debate were Paul Clement and Donald Verrilli. The pair will meet again on First Street this Wednesday in the second-biggest case of the year: the Arizona immigration law appeal.

Opinion Recap: SCOTUS on Human Rights, Patent Law, and the Mets

The Supreme Court has been busy again this week, with two notable cert orders on Monday, three cases in oral argument, and four new decisions.

Tuesday, we told you about the Court's opinion in Filarsky v. Delia. Here's what you need to know about the week's other opinions.

Private Attorneys Working for Government Get Qualified Immunity

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Tuesday that a private attorney temporarily retained by the government to carry out its work is entitled to seek qualified immunity from a civil rights lawsuit.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the unanimous court, overturning the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the case.

Supreme Court Orders: Copyright Protection and Enron Rejection

There are two notable cases listed among Monday's Supreme Court orders: Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons and Skilling v. U.S.

Kirtsaeng is a grant, and Skilling is a denial. Let's take a minute to discuss what we will and won't be talking about during the October 2012 term.

SCOTUS to Consider Pharmaceutical Rep Overtime Exemption

The Supreme Court will kick off its April sitting on April 16, considering a circuit split in Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp.

The case addresses whether a pharmaceutical sales representative (PSR) is an “outside salesperson,” and thus exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime pay requirements. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals previously ruled that PSRs are exempt from overtime pay. In its In re Novartis Wage & Hour Litigation decision, the Second Circuit ruled that PSRs should get overtime wages.

Will SCOTUS Correct Sentencing Disparities in Dorsey?

When the Nine head back to the Bench next week, they’ll move on from the epic six-hour healthcare arguments and consider sentencing disparities in Dorsey v. United States and Hill v. United States.

The Supreme Court granted cert in the cases to determine whether the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 can be applied to sentencing for an offense that occurred before the Act’s effective date. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held that the Act does not apply to defendants who committed crimes before the Act’s enactment, but were sentenced after it became effective. The First and Eleventh Circuits disagree.

Grand Jury Witnesses Get Absolute Immunity, Even When They Lie

Discussions of the Supreme Court last week were focused on three things: (1) rehashing the healthcare argument, (2) speculating about the justices’ reaction to Justice Department’s judicial review homework assignment, and (3) the prison strip search decision in Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington.

There was, however, a second opinion from the Court that we should discuss: Rehberg v. Paulk.

Fifth Circuit Judge Criticizes Obama's Supreme Court Comments

A lot of people -- even non-lawyers -- are talking about Marbury v. Madison today. The case that established judicial review may not be as popular as Brown v. Board of Education or Roe v. Wade, but most Americans discussed it at least once during school.

The masses are talking, tweeting, and status-updating about Marbury because yesterday President Obama expressed faith that the Supreme Court will uphold the Affordable Care Act, saying "I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress." Obama's bravado was greeted with criticism that the president -- a Harvard-educated lawyer and former constitutional law professor -- was overlooking the fact that judicial review hasn't been "unprecedented" since 1803, says The Wall Street Journal.

Get Ready to Get Naked: SCOTUS Upholds Prison Strip Search

We credit the Supreme Court with expertise over pretty much everything because the Court has the final say in any issue it reviews. In particular, the Nine are deemed to know more about nudity than any other group in America because they are frequently called upon to decide whether nudity is obscene and if it should be punished.

The Court, however, does not approach the propriety of prison strip searches, with the same “I-know-it-when-I-see-it” confidence as most cases involving nudity. On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld a New Jersey prison strip search policy, noting that the “a regulation impinging on an inmate’s constitutional rights must be upheld if it is reasonably related to legitimate penological interests.”