Amid signs that the ruling was a very easy one to reach, the Supreme Court on Monday allowed the state of Michigan to deny a man accused of murder a legal defense that he previously had but then lost the right to use at a second trial. Allowing the withdrawal of a mental defect defense after the fact, the Court ruled unanimously, did not violate the man’s constitutional rights to fair treatment. It took the Court less than four weeks to prepare that ruling.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the Court in Metrish v. Lancaster (docket 12-547), a case that had been argued on the final hearing day of the Term, on April 24. The decision, while interpreting generously the power of a state supreme court to cast aside a string of lower state court rulings allowing a legal defense, did not appear to make much new law on retroactivity doctrine. Continue reading »
Returning for the first time in three decades to the constitutionality of saying prayers at the opening of a government meeting, the Supreme Court on Monday took on a case involving Town Board sessions in the upstate New York community named Greece, a city of about 100,000 people. For years, it followed the practice of having local clergy — mostly leaders of Christian congregations — recite prayers to start Town Board public meetings.
The case of Town of Greece v. Galloway (docket 12-696) was one of five newly granted cases, all of which will be heard and decided in the Term starting next October. No current member of the Court was serving when the Court last ruled on government prayers in the case of Marsh v. Chambers, in 1983.
The Chief Justice announcing orders (Art Lien)
Continue reading »
With the help of our reporter, Lyle Denniston, we will be live blogging as orders and opinions are issued today. Once you see the window and our initial welcome, we ask that you do not refresh your browser. Updates will appear without the need for refreshing.
- As part of her outreach to poor and immigrant parents, Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke recently at the New York City Department of Education’s English Language Learning Parent Conference, where she urged the audience to work hard to place their children on the path to college and career success. Mark Walsh covers the event for Education Week.
- Stephanie Green of Bloomberg News reports on the gala event held last week by Public Citizen, at which the group awarded retired Justice John Paul Stevens its Lifetime Achievement Award. (Allison included other coverage of this event in Friday’s round-up.)
- In commentary for JURIST, law student Fangxing Li discusses Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the Equal Protection Clause challenge to the university’s use of race in undergraduate admissions decisions, and argues that affirmative action policies may harm diversity more than they contribute to it. Continue reading »
On Monday the Court granted five new cases and issued four opinions in argued cases. The archived Live Blog is here.
On Thursday the Justices will meet for their May 23 Conference. Our list of “Petitions to watch” for that Conference is here.
Every Term, thousands of litigants file petitions for certiorari, asking the Justices to review their cases on the merits. In roughly a dozen, the Justices initially neither grant nor deny review. Instead, they issue an order “invit[ing] the Solicitor General to file a brief expressing the views of the United States” – also known as a “CVSG,” for “call for the views of the Solicitor General.” There is no deadline for the Solicitor General to file these “invitation” briefs, but the government has traditionally filed a group of them in May so that the Justices can consider the petitions before their summer recess begins in late June. We expect the government to file approximately a dozen of these invitation briefs in May.
The Solicitor General has now filed the first batch of briefs in response to those invitations from the Court. The parties to the cases will now have the opportunity to file supplemental briefs responding to the Solicitor General’s submissions. We expect the Justices to consider the following three cases at their June 6 Conference: Continue reading »
The petition of the day is:
Issue: (1) Whether the federal savings bond statute and regulations impliedly preempt longstanding state unclaimed property laws, where the statute and regulations are wholly silent on the treatment of unclaimed bonds and where Congress has expressly preempted state unclaimed property laws in numerous other contexts; and (2) whether application of state unclaimed property laws to unclaimed U.S. savings bonds owned by state residents violates the intergovernmental immunity doctrine, where these laws reflect the states’ exercise of constitutionally reserved escheat power.
The following is a series of questions posed to Floyd Abrams by Ronald Collins on the occasion of the publication of Abrams’s new book, Friend of the Court: On the Front Lines with the First Amendment (Yale University Press, 2013).
Welcome, Floyd. Thank you for taking the time to participate in this Question and Answer exchange for our readers. And congratulations on the publication of your second book.
You’re seventy-six years old and still quite active in litigating First Amendment cases. And now another book about your life in the law, the law of the First Amendment, that is. Would it be fair to say that you love your work?
Yes. I’ve been very lucky in a lot of ways — my family, my law firm, and my good fortune in being able to devote a good deal of my professional and personal time to seeking to protect and expand First Amendment principles.
The title and subtitle of your latest book suggest that you are venturing, on the one hand, to help the Court better understand the First Amendment while, on the other hand, battling those who would undermine the First Amendment. Can you say a few words about your roles as educator and combatant?
Continue reading »
We asked, over two thousand of you responded, and – as we will discuss further down in this post – we are already at work to try to implement some of your suggestions. Many thanks to all of you who took the time to fill out our online survey.
We thought that some of you might be as interested as we were in the responses to the survey – which describe, among other things, who our readers are, where they work, how often they visit the blog, and what features they like the most. (An even more detailed summary of the responses is available here.) Continue reading »
On Tuesday, May 21, the Washington, D.C., chapter of the American Constitution Society will host a discussion of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. Moderator Kimberly Atkins, staff writer at Lawyers US, will be joined by Lori Alvino McGill, who serves as counsel for the birth mother, Kelsi Brown Corkran, counsel to the guardian ad litem, and Charles A. Rothfield, counsel to the birth father. More information is available here.