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

September 2018 Archives

Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the United States Supreme Court has shaken out like none other before it.

Despite the pop culture protests and multiple allegations of sexual assault, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted, along strict partisan lines, to advance the confirmation vote to the full Senate. For those who watched Kavanaugh and Ford's testimony, the differences were both shocking and subtle.

During a recent panel discussion at Columbia Law School on "strategic litigation as an approach to policy change," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg provided some rather damning words of wisdoms for lawyers and law students everywhere:

"If you are a true professional, you will use your degree to help make things a little better for other people."

Basically, Justice Ginsburg, who is not just a trail-blazer but a pop culture icon, is pointing a finger at the legal profession and saying that lawyers need to do more pro bono work.

In the wake of the allegations made by Christine Ford against Brett Kavanaugh, two more women have come forward with their own accounts.

As of yet, only one of the two other women have publicly come forward though. Debbie Ramirez, a former Yale classmate of Kavanaugh's, has described a college dormitory party she attended, where Kavanaugh is alleged to have exposed himself to her, in front of several others. And though Kavanaugh steadfastly denies these allegations, reports seem to suggest that Ramirez's account has been substantiated by others.

High Court Denies Emergency Request to Stop Donor Disclosures in Campaigns

In a victory for voters, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an emergency stay concerning secrecy of donors to political nonprofits.

Crossroads GPS, a nonprofit Republican group, tried to stop a lower court decision that ordered the disclosures. But the High Court denied the emergency request.

In Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington v. Federal Election Commission, a federal judge ordered the elections commission to come up with better disclosure rules. The U.S. Supreme Court basically said what she said.

While SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh has already faced one of the most hotly contested and contentious confirmation hearings in Supreme Court history, the hearing isn't over yet. The Senate Judiciary Committee has requested that Christine Blasey Ford testify before the committee this coming Monday. The conservatives on the committee are hopeful that there will be no further delays.

Ford, a professor of clinical psychology at Palo Alto University, has come forward as the anonymous letter writer that accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when the two were in high school. And while Kavanaugh has steadfastly denied the allegations, there seems to be more than just one side to this story.

When it comes to the High Court, most if not nearly all of the focus tends to fall on the cases and judges. However, a recent SCOTUSblog piece takes a look at which attorneys and law firms have fared the best before the High Court in recent years.

The Empirical SCOTUS piece shows that over the past five terms, looking only at attorneys that have made four or more appearances at the Court during that time, only one attorney and one firm have perfect records. The piece also details who had the most overall wins, and even the most wins in particular categories like First or Fourth Amendment, or Patent cases.

For law students at Harvard, and across the country thanks to YouTube, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan recently gave some open advice.

However, the discussion is just informative for lawyers as it is for law students, as Justice Kagan also shares quite a bit about herself, her fellow justices, and how she views the legal profession. The open-ended questions led her onto entertaining tangents too, like how Justice Breyer (who was her antitrust professor when she was a student) is the funniest justice, and his hypotheticals are easily funnier than Scalia's famous retorts, at least in her opinion.

The confirmation hearing for Judge Kavanaugh may have concluded, but the controversy hasn't seemed to die down one bit. 

From deep probing questions over baseball tickets to one Senator claiming to be bribed and extorted, the chaos that started in the hearings continues and likely won't conclude until after the votes are in. And since the vote of the Senate Judiciary committee is scheduled for this week, and the full senate vote scheduled for the last week of September, the headlines are really heating up. 

Below is a quick recap of two of the hotter topics surrounding Kavanaugh's confirmation.

In recent years, big oil has faced increasing pressure from state and local governments due to potential violations of environmental laws and due to the increasing visibility of climate change.

Massachusetts has been pursuing an investigation against Exxon since 2016. Unfortunately for the state's AG, Exxon isn't being cooperative. And after the state secured a victory before the State's Supreme Court demanding the oil company respond to the state's investigatory demand, Exxon recently petitioned SCOTUS, seeking review of the state High Court decision.

If you've been following the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, then you've undoubtedly heard and seen the chaos. In addition to the clear partisan divide being exacerbated by and played out via an ongoing discovery dispute, protesters have been more vocal than ever before, causing countless interruptions throughout both the first and second days.

Already, there has been over 70 arrests (no word on charges), and protesters even showed up dressed up as "Handmaids" from the new, hit, dystopian series, "The Handmaid's Tale." Recently, we asked if people really cared about the Supreme Court, and it seems the answer is rather clear.

Read on below to learn more about the timeline and what to expect for the rest of Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing.