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

August 2012 Archives

Orders in the Court: SCOTUS Grants Two More Cases for 2012 Term

It seems like only yesterday we were parsing the Supreme Court healthcare decision while drinking a quad-shot latte. Now, only 30 days separate us from First Monday and the Supreme Court’s 2012 Term.

Where, oh where, did our summer go?

In case you’re not already buzzing with anticipation from your own coffee habit, there were two new grants in Friday’s Supreme Court orders: Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles and Descamps v. United States.

Is it Ethical to Hire a Line Stander for a Supreme Court Hearing?

If you read this blog regularly, you've probably gathered that we love court hearings. It may be nerdy, but we think they're really interesting.

Real-life courtrooms may not be anything like the legal dramas on TV, but they still provide the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, and the hurdles of civil procedure. For some Supreme Court observers, however, real agony occurs on the sun-drenched steps of First Street: There's limited space in the courtroom for a Supreme Court hearing, and many won't make it inside.

So what's a court-watcher to do?

And Then There Were 7: Court Receives Another Gay Marriage Case

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, a Boston-based gay rights advocacy firm, filed a petition for certiorari last week with the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The case is Pedersen et al. v. Office of Personnel Management et al.

The firm, representing six married same-sex couples and one gay widower from Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire, asked the Court to take the case directly from the district court in Connecticut, bypassing the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, reports SCOTUSblog. All three states recognize gay marriage.

Supreme Court Stays Texas Execution

The Supreme Court stayed John Balentine’s execution on Wednesday, giving the man more time to prove that his trial lawyer was ineffective.

It was the Texas death row prisoner’s third stay of execution, reports Reuters. He was scheduled to die by lethal injection just one hour later.

If You Can Name a Justice, You're Better Off Than Most Americans

If you're reading this blog, you're probably aware of the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court is populated by nine justices. You probably even know their names.

(If you haven't taken a moment recently to congratulate yourself on that accomplishment, maybe you should do so now. Go ahead. We'll wait.)

Why is a passing familiarity with the Supreme Court an accomplishment, you ask? Because two-thirds of Americans can't name a single Supreme Court justice, according to a recent FindLaw.com survey.

SCOTUS and the Military: Should Veteran Visits be Publicized?

Andrew Cohen published a two-part series in The Atlantic this week on the relationship between the Supreme Court and the military. In the second part, entitled, “Why Don’t the Justices Ever Visit Military Hospitals?” Rosen wrote:

In an age of where the justices of the United States Supreme Court routinely peddle books on television, speak abroad at lavish events, and lecture at ideological venues, it feels odd that there is such a gulf — both physical and metaphysical — between the justices and the American service member. And yet there it is. It’s not just that the Court is bereft of war veterans for the first time since 1936, a clear disconnect in this age of our so-called “endless war,” it’s that the justices, for as long as anyone can remember, don’t ever seem to ever publicly honor the sacrifice of military service.

Granted: Supreme Court Child Custody Case to Consider Mootness

Supreme Court cases often seem removed from our daily lives. We may not like the outcome of a prison strip search case, or agree that grand jury witnesses should receive absolute immunity (even when they lie), but most of us can’t imagine ourselves being personally affected by such decisions.

So most people — lawyers excluded — tend to ignore what happens in the Court. (The healthcare case was a rare exception.)

A Supreme Court child custody case, however, is likely to grab the attention of families and family law practitioners alike.

DOJ Won't Ask for Supreme Court Review of CFAA Hacking Decision

In April, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a federal hacking charge against a California man, finding that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which outlaws computer use that “exceeds authorized access,” was inapplicable to the case. For months, we’ve wondered whether the Justice Department would appeal that decision to the Supreme Court.

This week, we got our answer. The DOJ has decided not to petition for Supreme Court review, reports Wired.

Music and Law: A Match Made in (Secular) Heaven

During the summers, everyone's so starved for Supreme Court news that any utterance from one of the Nine is met with excitement. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's recent discussion about the intersection of music and law was no exception.

If you haven't read about Justice Ginsburg's talk on opera and the Constitution at the American Bar Association's annual meeting, The Wall Street Journal has more on her "Arias of Law" panel here.

But should it be big news? There are plenty of musical musings about the law, even outside of the Court's preferred lyrical genre.

Can New Bill Thwart Westboro Baptist Church Protests?

We're all familiar with the Westboro Baptist Church protests by now. Westboro members, most of whom are related to church leader Fred Phelps, picket funerals, fashion shows, and plenty of other churches.

Various states have tried to curtail the Westboro Baptist Church protests, and now it's the federal government's turn. This week, Congress passed the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012. The bill is heading to President Obama's desk for a signature, according to the Huffington Post.

Justice Ginsburg Joins Supreme Court Bobblehead Club


She’s a legend among women’s rights advocates, a cancer survivor, and Nino’s bestie. Now, she’s a Supreme Court bobblehead.

The Green Bag, an “entertaining” law journal, has produced 16 Supreme Court bobbleheads since 2003, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the latest jurist to be immortalized in resin, according to George Mason University’s School of Law.

Behold the greatness, after the jump.