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The Founding Fathers Would Have Protected Your Smartphone

The Supreme Court has unanimously reversed (large PDF) the California Court of Appeals in Riley v. California, deciding that police cannot search the contents of a phone without a warrant during an arrest, and that "the fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 25, 2014 - 57 comments

Corporations are people too, my friends. Special, unaccountable people.

How corporations became people you can't sue.
posted by T.D. Strange on Jun 15, 2014 - 75 comments

"Counsel, you are not reading this, are you?"

During oral arguments this week on the Marvin Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States case, Justice Antonin Scalia chastised attorney Steven Lechner for reading from his script. Justice Stephen Breyer broke the tension with these words: "It's all right." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jan 17, 2014 - 76 comments

McCutcheon v. FEC

Supreme Court to consider lifting campaign contribution limits. Reversing McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission would allow unlimited individual campaign contributions.
posted by kliuless on Oct 7, 2013 - 101 comments

"I have never been custodian of my legacy."

In Conversation: Antonin Scalia "On the eve of a new Supreme Court session, the firebrand justice discusses gay rights and media echo chambers, Seinfeld and the Devil, and how much he cares about his intellectual legacy ("I don’t")." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 6, 2013 - 89 comments

Gene genie, let yourself go

After a decade or so of legal back-and-forth between Utah-based Myriad Genetics and medical researchers, the ACLU, and the Public Patent Forum, the US Supreme Court will hear a case next week which attempts to address whether genes — isolated (derivative) or original — can be patented. The stakes are high on both sides: opponents use Myriad's actions to argue that giving short-term monopoly control over humanity's genetic constituency is not in the public interest, while proponents defend the use of patents to spur private research in biotech, alternative energy and other nascent industries.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 12, 2013 - 58 comments

Undue Burden

Jennie Linn McCormack "isn’t the only woman in recent years to be prosecuted for ending her own pregnancy. But her case could change the trajectory of abortion law in the United States": The Rise of DIY Abortions. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 3, 2013 - 66 comments

Tie game. Bottom of the 9th. Bases loaded. Two outs. Three balls. Two strikes. And the pitch...

In less than an hour, the Supreme Court will hand down its final judgment in what has become one of the most crucial legal battles of our time: the constitutionality of President Obama's landmark health care reform law. The product of a strict party line vote following a year century of debate, disinformation, and tense legislative wrangling, the Affordable Care Act would (among other popular reforms) require all Americans to buy insurance coverage by 2014, broadening the risk pool for the benefit of those with pre-existing conditions. The fate of this "individual mandate," bitterly opposed by Republicans despite its similarity to past plans touted by conservatives (including presidential contender Mitt Romney) is the central question facing the justices today. If the conservative majority takes the dramatic step of striking down the mandate, the law will be toothless, and in danger of wholesale reversal, rendering millions uninsured, dealing a crippling blow to the president's re-election hopes, and possibly endangering the federal regulatory state. But despite the pessimism of bettors, some believe the Court will demur, wary of damaging its already-fragile reputation with another partisan 5-4 decision. But those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know. Watch the SCOTUSblog liveblog for updates, Q&A, and analysis as the truth finally comes out shortly after 10 a.m. EST.
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 28, 2012 - 1173 comments

Money Unlimited

Money Unlimited How John Roberts Orchestrated the Citizens United decision. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on May 15, 2012 - 87 comments

United States v. Health Care Reform

This morning marked day two of marathon proceedings in what's likely the most momentous and politically-charged Supreme Court case since Bush v. Gore: the effort to strike down President Obama's landmark health care reform law. While yesterday was a sleepy affair of obscure technical debate, today's hearings targeted the heart of the law -- the individual mandate that requires most Americans to purchase insurance by 2014. With lower courts delivering a split decision before today, administration lawyers held some hope that at least one conservative justice could be persuaded to uphold the provision, which amortizes the risk that makes universal coverage possible. But after a day of deeply skeptical questioning by swing justice Anthony Kennedy and his fellow conservatives [transcript - audio], the mandate looks to be in grave trouble, with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin going as far as calling the day "a train wreck" for the administration. But it's far from a done deal, with a third day of hearings tomorrow and a final decision not expected until June.
posted by Rhaomi on Mar 27, 2012 - 373 comments

Surveillance state located

FBI General Counsel reveals that around 3,000 warrantless GPS trackers were removed after the ruling in U.S v. Jones clarified their illegality (judgement PDF) (previous FPP). The ruling that a mosaic of surveillance technologies may form an issue when considered individually and the FBI's view of likely future judgements on the matter is particularly interesting in the light of the forthcoming cert/standing findings regarding warrantless eavesdropping.
posted by jaduncan on Feb 26, 2012 - 20 comments

United States v. Jones

In a unanimous decision [PDF], the Supreme Court has ruled on United States v. Jones and found that placement of a GPS tracker on a car by police is a violation of the fourth amendment—but is the ruling as clear-cut as it seems? [more inside]
posted by reductiondesign on Jan 23, 2012 - 35 comments

Notes From Guantánamo

My Guantánamo Nightmare. Lakhdar Boumediene was imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay for seven years without explanation or charge until his case made it to the Supreme Court, leading to a decision which bears his name and his release ordered by a federal judge. The NYTimes has his and another account from another former detainee: Notes From a Guantánamo Survivor. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jan 9, 2012 - 63 comments

Supreme court opinions successfully modeled as Facebook like button

Roger Guimera Manrique and Marta Sales-Pardo have shown that "U.S. Supreme Court justice votes are more predictable than one would expect from an ideal court composed of perfectly independent justices." [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Nov 17, 2011 - 47 comments

SCOTUS, Video Games, & Violence

US Supreme Court finds Cali. law restricting sales of violent videogames to adults violates First Amendment. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Jun 27, 2011 - 93 comments

Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project

Court Affirms Ban on Aiding Groups Tied to Terror. "In a case pitting free speech against national security, the Supreme Court on Monday upheld a federal law (PDF) that makes it a crime to provide 'material support' to foreign terrorist organizations, even if the help takes the form of training for peacefully resolving conflicts."
posted by homunculus on Jun 22, 2010 - 59 comments

FantasySCOTUS

FantasySCOTUS. For the Tenth Justice in all of us.
posted by OmieWise on Feb 26, 2010 - 15 comments

Eye of Providence

The Business Plot of 1933 has reached a logical conclusion: the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations may spend freely (pdf) to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress.
posted by four panels on Jan 21, 2010 - 332 comments

By The Content Of Their Character

Today, on the last day of this year's term, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its opinion in Ricci v. DeStefano, the latest in the Court's line of decisions on Title VII and the role of race in employment decisions. The famous case centers on white firefighters' claims of race discrimination following the town of New Haven's decision to scuttle a promotion exam after white test takers performed disproportionately better than black firefighters. [more inside]
posted by Law Talkin' Guy on Jun 29, 2009 - 89 comments

Life and death of a black and white

Texas executes Mexican national who was denied consul visit. [more inside]
posted by mrducts on Aug 6, 2008 - 121 comments

Heller v. D.C. Decided

Heller v. District of Columbia, the U.S. Supreme Court's first actual interpretation of the Second Amendment, has just come down. In a 5-4 decision, the Justices ruled D.C.'s comprehensive handgun ban to be unconstitutional. Antonin Scalia writes for the majority.
posted by Navelgazer on Jun 26, 2008 - 364 comments

Al Odah v. U.S. and Boumediene v. Bush

Al Odah v. U.S. and Boumediene v. Bush go before SCOTUS Streaming on C-Span today. The Center for Constitutional Rights (great podcast) will argue before the Supreme Court today:
Immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision in Rasul, The Center for Constitutional Rights and cooperating counsel filed 11 new habeas petitions in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of over 70 detainees. These cases eventually became the consolidated cases of Al Odah v. United Statesand Boumediene v. Bush, the leading cases determining the significance of the Supreme Court’s decision in Rasul, the rights of non-citizens to challenge the legality of their detention in an offshore U.S. military base, and the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

posted by ao4047 on Dec 5, 2007 - 29 comments

"we upheld against proportionality attack a sentence of 40 years' imprisonment for possession with intent to distribute nine ounces of marijuana" - Justice Kennedy

DrugPolicyCases.com - Yakov Spektor, a New York-based attorney, combed through two decades of US Supreme Court opinions "to discern certain trends in the Court's treatment of various issues" related to the War on Drugs. The collection of opinions are organized by case, author and topic.
posted by daksya on Nov 26, 2007 - 8 comments

Supreme Court Alters 12(b)(6) Standards

The Supreme Court issued its opinion Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly [pdf] today. Although superficially an antitrust case, the Court examined the standard of review under 12(b)(6) and concluded that the old "no set of facts" standard should be officially retired.
posted by monju_bosatsu on May 21, 2007 - 34 comments

Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

New Justices, New Rules: How the Supreme Court's Validation of the Federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act Affects Women's Constitutional Liberty and Equality. A two-part FindLaw analysis of Gonzales v. Carhart.
posted by homunculus on May 8, 2007 - 26 comments

SCOTUS requires EPA to consider global warming

In a 5-4 opinion [pdf], the Supreme Court concluded today that the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases that may contribute to global warming, and must examine the scientific evidence of a link between those gases contained in the exhausts of new cars and trucks and climate change. Justice Stevens wrote the majority opinion, and Justice Scalia wrote a dissent, joined by Roberts, Thomas, and Alito. ScotusBlog summary here.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Apr 2, 2007 - 30 comments

Money continues to count as speech.

SCOTUS strikes down campaign finance restrictions [pdf]. The Supreme Court issued an opinion today in Randall v. Sorrell, striking down limits on campaign contributions and campaign spending imposed by the state of Vermont. The Court, in a fractured opinion (six separate opinions, including two dissents), concluded that restrictions on both contributions and expenditures ran afoul of the First Amendment. More from Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog. Expect more from Rick Hasen later today.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Jun 26, 2006 - 81 comments

Luttig resigns Fourth Circuit post.

Luttig Resigns. Judge J. Michael Luttig, long considered a front-runner for a Supreme Court nomination, at least until he was passed over by President Bush, has resigned his position on the Fourth circuit. Luttig will take over as general counsel to Boeing. Read Boeing's press release and Luttig's resignation letter [pdf].
posted by monju_bosatsu on May 10, 2006 - 29 comments

The Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment provides, in part, that "...no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause." The Supreme Court has issued its (yet another) 8-0 opinion, authored by Justice Scalia in the case of United States v. Grubbs, overturning the Ninth Circuit decision. Justice Souter filed a concurring opinion. Grubbs deals with the question of anticipatory warrants, and it is the first time that the Court has addressed the practice. It appears that under this ruling, preemptive warrants can issue without existing probable cause, but merely on the supposition that probable cause will exist in the future.

Some legal scholars had anticipated that at least the more conservative members of the Court would rule against anticipatory warrants. After all, under Blackstone's analysis of the common law rule that contributed to the Fourth Amendment, as noted by Professor Orin Kerr in the NYU Journal of Law and Liberty symposium on the subject, warrants "issue" when they are signed by the judge, and not when the precedent condition occurs. Professor Chris Slobogin disagrees. Kerr has posted a preliminary analysis of the decision on his new blawg. The case has previously been discussed by the smart people over at the Volokh Conspiracy.
posted by Pontius Pilate on Mar 22, 2006 - 45 comments

Just how important are law clerks?

David Garrow reviewed Justice Blackmun's papers, released to the public in 2005, and concludes that towards the end of his career, Blackmun's clerks all but signed his opinions. In an interview, discussing senility and Supreme Court Justices, Garrow argues that there has been "a dramatic increase over the last 35 or 45 years in the amount of the justices’ work that is performed by their law clerks," and recommends a "reduction to two or, even better yet, one clerk" from the four clerks available per Justice now. Garrow also comments on the now-deceased Chief Justice Rehnquist, who suffered from an addiction to painkillers in the 1980s. Garrow's view is controversial, though, and Legal Affairs published several responses in the same issue. Other law professors have weighed in, including Dan Markel, Mark Tushnet, and some of the folks at the Volokh Conspiracy. So how large is the impact of law clerks?
posted by monju_bosatsu on Feb 15, 2006 - 63 comments

Supreme Court Oral Argument MP3s.

The Oyez Project has placed online mp3s for all of the arguments from the 2004 term of the United States Supreme Court. The 2004 terms spans all cases argued between October 4, 2004, and April 27, 2005, including United States v. Booker and United States v. FanFan, Roper v. Simmons , Raich v. Gonzales, Kelo v. City of New London, McCreary County v. ACLU, and Van Orden v. Perry. [slightly more inside]
posted by monju_bosatsu on Feb 7, 2006 - 25 comments

Alito's First Vote

Alito's First Vote. In his first significant act on the Supreme Court, Justice Alito splits with his conservative colleagues, and votes to refuse to let Missouri execute a death-row inmate contesting lethal injection. You can read the (very short) order on page four of yesterday's order sheet [pdf]. More commentary at SCOTUSblog, and discussion of Alito's approach to the death penalty is available at Sentencing Law & Policy.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Feb 2, 2006 - 38 comments

Supreme Court rules in Ayotte.

The Supreme Court decided Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood today, vacating the lower court's ruling that the parental notification statute was unconstitional. Instead, the Court instructed the lower court to consider narrower relief. The Court, in an opinion [pdf] written by Justice O'Connor, held that if enforcing a statute that regulates access to abortion would be unconstitutional in medical emergencies, invalidating the statute entirely is not always necessary or justified, for lower courts may be able to render narrower declaratory and injunctive relief. [more inside]
posted by monju_bosatsu on Jan 18, 2006 - 33 comments

Supreme Court upholds Oregon's assisted suicide law.

Supreme Court upholds Oregon's assisted suicide law. Justice Kenedy wrote the opinion for the majority, concluding that Ashcroft did not have the authority to sanction doctors under the Controlled Substances Act. Justice Scalia dissented, joined by Justice Thomas and Chief Justice Roberts. Thomas also wrote a separate dissent. The Washington Post has the opinions, and you can get the pdf from the Supreme Court's website.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Jan 17, 2006 - 44 comments

Grokster shuts down

Grokster shuts down after their Supreme Court defeat [pdf] this summer, Grokster has chosen to settle its case with MGM et al., admit to wrongdoing, and stop distributing its software. Their website now displays the message: "There are legal services for downloading music and movies. This service is not one of them.". Another victoy for Hollywood in the intellectual property war. Who's next?
posted by falconred on Nov 7, 2005 - 32 comments

Supreme Court Round-up for 6/27/05

The Supreme Court's Big Day

The court chose not to review the controversy surrounding "reporter's privilege" in withholding the names of confidential sources; meaning reporters may continue to be jailed or fined for refusing to name sources in court.
 
In Brand-X, the Court decided 6-3 that cable providers did not have to allow competitors to access their lines (the way DSL companies do). FCC opponents had been hopeful the Court would find the other way, opening new markets for competition and service options.

The Court ruled one of two Ten Commandment displays are unconstitutional. The decalogue display on a courthouse wall in Kentucky was found 5-4 to be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion because it was serving a religious purpose. However, the Ten Commandments display on the grounds of Texas' state capitol were found to be constitutional.

The Court finally decided the MGM v Grokster case. The Court found unanimously that the file sharing service can be held liable for the copyright infringement of their users.
posted by falconred on Jun 27, 2005 - 56 comments

Scalia questioned on sodomy at NYU

Justice Scalia faces probing question at NYU due to previous dissenting opinion in Texas sodomy case. Questioner responds to the controversy. via
posted by peacay on Apr 15, 2005 - 54 comments

Grin and bear it.

Seizure of land for the public good or unconstitutional cash grab? Originally, the power of eminent domain was used by government to condemn property for the public good, usually to build railroads or highways or bridges. This power has been expanded to redevelop dilapidated neighbourhoods, and ultimately, "economic development" (public good by way of jobs and taxes). What will you do when Pfizer wants to build a research facility *on* your backyard and your government helps them do it? Hint: it's nothing new, just wait for 2008 or 2012 (maybe).
posted by loquax on Feb 23, 2005 - 40 comments

The Fourth Amendment grows narrower

The Supreme Court, in a 6-2 decision Monday, ruled that police do not violate the Fourth Amendment when they use a drug-detecting dog to locate illegal drugs in the trunk of a car during a legal traffic stop. The decision, and dissents from Ginsburg and Souter.
posted by trharlan on Jan 24, 2005 - 45 comments

Taking the Long View

Only in 1967 did Loving v. Virginia overturn vigorously-enforced laws against interracial marriage in these 15 states--Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Only in 1964 did the Civil Rights Act overturn laws against equal access to voting, public accommodation, and public education. Only in 1963 did the Equal Pay Act mandate that men and women be paid the same wage for the same work at the same job. History isn't a superhighway, leading us in straight lines toward utopia. We fall back and we move forward, but over the past fifty years, the United States has become considerably more inclusive and equality of access to opportunity has widened. Take a look at this article from the Atlantic Monthly in 1956--1956!--if you don't believe me.
posted by Sidhedevil on Nov 4, 2004 - 190 comments

Supreme Court ducks pledge question.

The Supreme Court ruled today that Michael Newdow did not have standing to sue on behalf of his daughter in challenging the recitation of the pledge in a public school classroom in California.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Jun 14, 2004 - 81 comments

SCOTUS goes gay

Supreme Court wisely rules that you can't legislate morality and that privacy between consenting adults is a-ok as the Texas sodomy law (that applies to homosexuals only) is struck down. Ruling invalidates other remaining sodomy laws on the books. Dancing in the streets ensues. And as usual, Scalia gets to add his wisecracks in the dissent. [via SCOTUSblog]
posted by mathowie on Jun 26, 2003 - 142 comments

Ronald Dworking on affirmative action.

Ronald Dworkin on affirmative action at the University of Michigan and in the Supreme Court.
posted by monju_bosatsu on May 6, 2003 - 17 comments

civil disobedience

National Organization for Women v. Scheidler Is being heard by SCOTUS today. The case may decide whether non-violent civil disobedience can be prosecuted under federal RICO laws. Here's the ACLU's amicus brief. And comments from NRO's Rod Dreher.
posted by Ty Webb on Dec 4, 2002 - 26 comments

Three Supreme Court Justices publicy oppose executing teenage criminals.

Three Supreme Court Justices publicy oppose executing teenage criminals. In a rare move, Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Stevens made a public statement in a delay request to state their opposition to executing someone who committed murder before the age of 18. With the Court already banning the execution of the mentally retarded this year, is this another sign of a soon-to-be next step in the abolishment of the death penalty? Or does the average American still believe that regardless of what time, when you do the crime you walk the line?
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Aug 30, 2002 - 49 comments

Is the Consitution a "living" document?

Is the Consitution a "living" document? Following "Scary" Scalia's arguments, the Dread Scott decision was a wise and appropriate one, right?
posted by darren on Mar 14, 2001 - 20 comments

Damn Supreme Court. Just when you thought this was a free country, now they're telling strippers to keep their G-strings on.
posted by veruca on Mar 29, 2000 - 10 comments

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