Confederate Plate Controversy Rides to SCOTUS

On March 23 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument in Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc., No. 14-144, considering whether the Texas DMV’s denial of a license plate design featuring the Confederate flag violated the First Amendment. U.S. Law Week's Jessie Kamens and Patrick Gregory preview each side's positions.

Lobbying the Press? The Many Fronts of the Latest Obamacare Battle

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments March 4 in King v. Burwell, one of the most anticipated cases of the Supreme Court’s high-profile term. But long before the attorneys took the podium at the high court to attempt to convince the justices, the battle to shape other’s opinions was already set in motion.

The Problem of Child Abuse Victims and the Confrontation Clause

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument March 2 in Ohio v. Clark, No. 13-1352, about whether a possible child abuse victim’s statements to a teacher qualify as “testimonial” statements subject to the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause.

Round Three: Obamacare and the Supreme Court

On March 4 the justices will once again consider a major challenge to the Affordable Care Act in King v. Burwell. Will the Justices knock out a major piece of the controversial legislation, or will it survive intact? U.S. Law Week’s Kimberly Robinson and Jessie Kamens preview the parties’ positions in advance of the court’s March 4 oral arguments.

Supreme Court’s Stay of Execution in Challenge to Controversial Lethal Injection Cocktail Comes Too Late for One Inmate

The Supreme Court finally agreed to stay the executions of Oklahoma inmates challenging the state’s controversial lethal injection cocktail. But while the stay means that the court will have the opportunity to hear the remaining inmates’ case, it comes too late for the former lead plaintiff, who was executed shortly after a 5-4 Supreme Court decision not to stay his execution.

Grassroots Group at It Again: 99Rise Releases Video of SCOTUS Protest

The decorum of Supreme Court proceedings was shaken briefly last week when 7 demonstrators interrupted the Chief Justice to protest against the court’s controversial decision in Citizens United. Once again, the group responsible for the disturbance has posted a video of the protest, and their website indicates that this won’t be the last time.

Friends in High Places: Amicus Practice at the U.S. Supreme Court

It’s always good to have friends in high places, especially when those friends are amicus curiae supporting your case at the U.S. Supreme Court. Drawing on her 30-year career at the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center, McKenna Long & Aldridge's Robin Conrad talks amicus practice and the high court, including the “cardinal rule” of amicus practice and the strange bedfellows that can emerge.

First Amendment Feud: Free Speech Controversy Reignited

Kicking off the new year with its favorite topic—free speech—the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Reed v. Town of Gilbert on Jan 12. Will the case reignite a controversy that’s been brewing since the end of last term? U.S. Law Week’s Jessie Kamens and Kimberly Robinson examine this possibility.

Up For Reinterpretation: Supremes Take On Informal Rulemaking

A pair of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court Dec. 1 could be a “game-changer” for the government if the high court agrees agencies can interpret their rules without going through a “burdensome” notice-and-comment period. But business groups say notice-and-comment periods give them a seat at the table.

Facebook, Rap and Illegal Threats

Do Rap and Facebook change what is an illegal threat? The nine Supreme Court justices may not know much about rap music or the social media site Facebook, but the defendant in Elonis v. United States is asking the justices to consider them when it decides what constitutes a threat in the federal statute.

The Gag Rule of Five?

The rule of providing a courtesy fifth vote to stay an execution of death puzzles many, and highlights the need for more transparency from the self-proclaimed "most transparent branch" of government.

Ohio - 'The Heart of It All' for Election Controversies

Ohio is well known as a political battleground state, and recent battles over Ohio election law have involved the rights of jailed voters, early voting, laws against "false" political speech and the speech rights of judicial candidates. Is Ohio a bellwether for more litigation nationally leading up to 2016?


Mortgage Mess: Supreme Court Wades into Deep Circuit Divide

The Truth in Lending Act is meant to protect consumers… but to what end? Lenders say they shouldn't bestuck with draconian rescission remedies in order to protect mortgage borrowers, but borrowers say that'snecessary to deter what one U.S. Law Week editor calls "Lenders Behaving Badly." Check out U.S. Law Week's audio preview before the Supreme Court enters the fray Nov. 4.

Ginsburg on Women and the Constitution

Kimberly Robinson's coverage of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's talk on "Women and the Constitution" near the document's 227th birthday.

What Do You Get When You Cross Obamacare and Palestine? Supreme Court Conflict!

What could be a more controversial topic than the Israel-Palestine conflict? Well, maybe implementation of "Obamacare." But the combination of the two? Mind = Blown! During its upcoming term, the Supreme Court will consider the Executive's refusal to put into operation Congress's attempt to shift the official stance on the status of Jerusalem in Zivotofsky v. Kerry , No. 13-628. Here's a preview of the case, custom-made to rile people up. Proceed with caution.

Supreme Court Unanimously “Un-Unanimous” on Religion

As if there wasn't enough tension at the Supreme Court-Left v. Right; Republican v. Democrat; Male v. Female; Harvard v. Yale-it looks like you can add one more set of competing interests to that list: establishment clause v. free exercise clause. Kimberly Robinson gives us a quick look at her investigation into the courts "religion cases" this term.  

Major Renovations at the Supreme Court or Just a New Coat of Paint? What Recent Unanimity Means for the Future

Writing U.S. Law Week's Supreme Court Term in Review , Kimberly Robinson learned a lot about the court's recent brush with unanimity (Just a phase? New lease on life? Crash diet?), or as some called it, "faux-nanimity." Some see the volume of unanimous opinions as a sign the court wants to build consensus, moving ahead cautiously, but decisively. Still others view it as an unstable arrangement that left plenty of precedent in the crosshairs for future terms.

Checking In With SCOTUS Term 2014: Civil Procedure, IFPs and Flying Pigs?

It's time to bid a fond farewell to the Supreme Court's 2013-2014 term. But as we usher out Hobby Lobby , Aereo  and McCutcheon , so we must welcome in a new crop of cases, and wonder just what the justices have in store for us come October. So far, the list includes prison beards, Facebook threats and fish shredding…so just a hunch, it should be pretty interesting!

‘People Search Engine’ Spokeo Hopes SCOTUS Finds It in the Crowd

Privacy is one of the hottest legal topics out there right now, and when it comes to "people search engine" Spokeo, there are privacy issues in spades. But the company's current fight at the Supreme Court comes down to the old tried-and-true issue of standing and whether misrepresenting someone's education and experience causes any actual harm. So sit back, stay tuned and see how long you can resist looking yourself up on Spokeo!  

Prison Beards Get Backing of Bishops, Ex-Cons and Tocqueville

Facial hair has things all stirred up over at the Supreme Court. Specifically, religious groups and a host of others have been filing briefs in support of one Arkansas inmate’s challenge to the state’s “no beard” policy on religious freedom grounds. Throw in a handwritten cert petition and a law professor facing questions about his past representations, and you’ve got the makings for a real page-turner at SCOTUS.

Justices Say Wife's Effort to Poison Rival Didn't Violate Federal Chemical-Weapon Law

The federal antiterrorism law that makes it illegal to stockpile or use chemical weapons was not properly invoked to prosecute a woman who tried to poison her husband's mistress, the Supreme Court ruled today. The decision avoids the larger constitutional question of whether Congress can use treaties and the Constitution's necessary and proper clause to intrude into matters of local criminal conduct.

Supreme Court Justices Just ‘Junior Varsity Politicians’? Breyer Talks State of Legal Profession at ALI Dinner

Law students often see judges as "junior varsity politicians," U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer told a dinner audience last night at the American Law Institute's annual meeting. And there are lots of people who wouldn't mind a job as a junior league politician. So, if the legal profession doesn't have an answer to this problem, it better find one, Breyer told a group of lawyers, judges and academics over coffee and dessert.

Punches and Puns: The Supreme Court’s Decision in Petrella v. MGM

Sick of all the boxing references following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Petrella v. MGM , aka the Raging Bull  case? If yes, then for your own safety and mental health, DON'T READ ANY FURTHER! But if you've got a strong chin and you like your legal news heavy on sports metaphors, then, by all means, step into the ring!

What’s Your State’s Official Religion?

There's a bumper sticker that says "Barbecue is my religion." Just a guess, but it's probably pretty popular in Texas. Floridians are often dubbed sun worshippers.  In the rarest of rare events, if the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots and Bruins all win on the same day, the entire state of Massachusetts whispers "Hallelujah" in perfect unity. The "Church of Baseball" may not find adherents throughout the entire state of North Carolina, but it has a major foothold in the greater Durham area. These kinds of "unofficial" state religions don't raise too many eyebrows, but the idea of an "official," state-sanctioned theology strikes many as odd or even terrifying. On Monday, however, in a concurring opinion supporting the U.S. Supreme Court's endorsement of legislative prayer in Town of Greece v. Galloway , Justice Clarence Thomas defended the proposition that states reserve the power to "establish" their own religions even in the face of the First Amendment.

Does Navarette Show Scalia’s Evolution on the Fourth Amendment?

Justice Scalia seemed to steal the show April 22 with his dissent in the Fourth Amendment case Navarette v. California , criticizing the majority for weakening protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. But this time, his opinion comes with some baggage-namely, a 2009 dissent from denial of cert written by Chief Justice Roberts and joined by Scalia that looks like a precursor to the majority opinion in Navarette . Did Scalia simply mean to express his desire that the court take up the issue of stopping suspects based on anonymous tips, or is the 4.5-year-old opinion evidence of a sea change in Scalia's thinking on the issue?

I Once Caught a Fish Thiiiiis…Small?

Boy have I got a fish story for you! On Monday, April 28, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of a fisherman convicted of violating Sarbanes-Oxley for tossing back undersized grouper and replacing them with longer fish.

Supreme Court Preview: We Apologize if This Podcast is ‘Insolubly Ambiguous’

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to wrap up its oral arguments next week in a term that has been unusually heavy in IP and patent-related cases. Two of those patent cases, Nautilus v. Biosig Instruments  and Limelight Networks v. Akamai Technologies , are scheduled for argument on Monday and Wednesday respectively. Tony Dutra joins us for a preview of the cases, which cover patent claims involving heart rate monitors and a content delivery system that keeps the Internet from breaking down.

Supreme Court Preview: They May Search My Smokes, but They’ll Never Search My Smartphone

Can searching a crumpled up pack of cigarettes really be the same as searching a cell phone that displays a call history, text messages and pictures? That's the question facing the U.S. Supreme Court as they get ready to hear arguments in United States v. Wurie  and Riley v. California on Tuesday, April 29. Hugh Kaplan talks to us about searches "incident to arrest," the Fourth Amendment and some possible outcomes in Tuesday's cases.

Voters' Rejection of Race-Based Preferences in Michigan Affirmed by Split Supreme Court

The Supreme Court holds that Michigan's voter-approved constitutional amendment that prevents the state from using "race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin" to "grant preferential treatment" to any individual seeking "public employment, public education, or public contracting," does not violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Under the plurality opinion, states can implement affirmative action programs but they are not required to and can even do away with already existing programs if they so desire.

Supreme Court Preview: This Is How Rube Goldberg Would Watch TV

More and more, Americans consume TV and other video content online. On Tuesday, April 22, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in ABC v. Aereo , a case that looks at whether capturing over-the-air broadcasts and streaming them to subscribers over the Internet violates federal copyright law. U.S. Law Week's lead Supreme Court reporter Kimberly Robinson gives us a preview of the case.

Supreme Court Preview: I Cannot Tell a Lie (There’s an Election Going On)

A case that has already garnered the attention of political satirists and the ACLU, Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus  has even managed to pit the Ohio attorney general against himself. On April 22, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments over an Ohio law criminalizing false statements meant to influence elections. Patrick Gregory joins us for a preview of the case, from the First Amendment, freedom of speech arguments at its core, to the standing and ripeness issues on the surface.

Supreme Court Preview: In Search of Discovery Under the FSIA

U.S. courts have held that Argentina owes NML Capital billions of dollars. But the problem of executing those judgments is a tricky one where the assets of a foreign sovereign are the target. On Monday, April 21, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments over the scope of post-judgment discovery available to NML in the fund's bid to track down as many Argentinean assets as it can, whether or not it can actually go after them under U.S. law.

Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital, Ltd.: The Overlooked Solution to the FSIA Post-Judgment Discovery Problem

With the U.S. Supreme Court set to address the authority of federal courts to issue post-judgment discovery in aid of judgment or execution in cases under the FSIA, Wiley Rein attorney Brendan J. Morrissey suggests that the answer to the issue before the court is in the federal rules. In particular, he says that the general discovery limits of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26 should set the parameters of permissible post-judgment discovery "in all cases." That reasoning will resolve the FSIA issue before the court and provide clarity in all post-judgment proceedings, he says.

Supreme Court Preview: Just Add Computer? SCOTUS Processes 'Computer-Implemented' Inventions

It's been a big term for the U.S. Supreme Court when it comes to patent law. But Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int'l  may just be a cut above. The case, which some have predicted could spell the end for software patents in the U.S., sees the court taking another look at Section 101 of the Patent Act and asking: "What kinds of 'inventions' are eligible for patent protections?"


‘Et tu, Breyer?’ Lessons From Antiquity on Protecting the President

Secret Service = good; Praetorian Guard = bad.

That's the analogy Justice Breyer used during yesterday's Supreme Court arguments in Wood v. Moss , over allegations that two Secret Service agents protecting former President George W. Bush violated the First Amendment rights of protesters by moving them away from the president. Legal Editor Jeff Koelemay covered the argument and took a moment to recount Breyer's historical aside.

My Hobby Lobby Day at SCOTUS: Inside & Out

Wind and snow on the plaza of the U.S. Supreme Court gave way to heated debate in the courtroom, as the justices took up two cases challenging Obamacare's "contraceptive mandate." Law Week's lead SCOTUS reporter Kimberly Robinson gives her take on the scene yesterday, shares some pictures and recaps the day that was Hobby Lobby .

Some People Really Need to Get a Hobby

Seats for arguments in high profile cases at the U.S. Supreme Court can be very hard to come by. That's why some people choose to camp out on the sidewalk near SCOTUS to try and ensure that they get to witness history. The line for the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga  contraceptive mandate cases formed on Friday. With snow predicted tonight, it could be a long wait until arguments commence tomorrow at 10:00 am.

Supreme Court Preview: Bush’s Decision to Dine Al Fresco Sparks Secret Service Fiasco

How far should courts be willing to extend immunity to Secret Service agents accused of herding protesters away from former President George W. Bush, where the protesters allege that the relocation was due to their anti-Bush sentiment? Wood v. Moss , set for argument at the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26, pits the First Amendment and freedom of speech against perhaps the greatest national security interest faced by the U.S.-protecting the life of the president.

Supreme Court Preview: Do IRA’s Experience Life After Death?

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on Monday, March 24, in Clark v. Rameker , a case that incorporates elements of bankruptcy, estate and tax law all in one. The parties want SCOTUS to decide if an inherited IRA can be accessed by creditors when the beneficiary declares bankruptcy. Patrick Gregory is here to give us a preview of the case and the legal issues involved.

Supreme Court Preview: Birth Control Is the Next Front in Obamacare’s Legal Battles

Obamacare's "contraceptive mandate," the legal and regulatory requirement that company-sponsored health plans provide coverage for birth control free of charge, comes under the microscope Tuesday at the U.S. Supreme Court. At the root of the debate is a fundamental question of constitutional law: Do corporations have and can they exercise religious rights under the First Amendment? Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. hope that SCOTUS will find that such rights not only exists, but that the government has violated them by way of the birth control requirement. Kimberly Robinson sits down with us for an audio preview of the case.


Call It the ‘MacGyver’ Fix: Aluminum Foil May Solve Cell Phone Search Dilemma.

Can the problem of warrantless cell phone searches be solved with nothing more than a sheet of aluminum foil? A group of law professors thinks so, and they argue in an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court that allowing such searches would overlay legal rules from the "world of typewriters and carbon paper" onto digital devices that can put thousands of documents in the palm of your hand. The brief comes as SCOTUS gets ready to hear arguments in Riley v. California  and United States v. Wurie  on April 29.

High-Tech Companies Want Justices' Heads in the Cloud Before Aereo

A pair of intellectual property cases set for argument at the U.S. Supreme Court in April have prompted some of the nation's leading technology companies to file briefs warning the justices that their decisions in ABC v. Aereo and Nautilus v. Biosig Instruments could have a tremendous impact on innovation, particularly in the field of cloud computing.

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear 'I Heart Boobies!' Case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, March 10, declined to hear a case about students at a Pennsylvania middle school who wore bracelets with the slogan "I heart boobies!" in support of breast cancer awareness. The case raised issues of how to weigh students' First Amendment rights against a school's ability to address lewd speech.

Supreme Court Preview: Is IQ Alone Enough to Determine Life or Death?

Can someone with an IQ above 70 be considered "mentally retarded" and therefore ineligible for the death penalty under the Eighth Amendment? That's the question for the U.S. Supreme Court in Hall v. Florida , set to be argued on Monday, March 3. Hugh Kaplan previews the case for us ahead of the arguments at SCOTUS.

Supreme Court Preview: Halliburton Case Goes to the Heart of Securities Class Actions

The question of whether securities class actions will survive the U.S. Supreme Court's current term may seem farfetched, but it's one that some people are starting to ask. As SCOTUS gets set to tackle Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc. , we're joined by Phyllis Diamond for a preview of the March 5 arguments and a look at the future of the fraud-on-the-market theory.


Generals and Lawyers and Bears (at the Supreme Court) -- Oh My!

Following the arguments in yesterday's greenhouse gas cases (Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA), the petitioners' attorneys enjoyed some sunny weather on the Supreme Court plaza, along with some interesting wildlife not native to SCOTUS.

Halftime at the Supreme Court: Tom Goldstein Talks SCOTUS

SCOTUSblog's Tom Goldstein, U.S. Law Week and Bloomberg BNA teamed up on Wednesday, Feb. 19, to bring you "Halftime at the Supreme Court," a webinar covering the court's October 2013 term at the mid-way point. Same-sex marriage, gun rights, affirmative action, recess appointments and big name SCOTUS cases like Hobby Lobby  and Halliburton  were all part of the hour-long discussion, available here .

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Cases: Supreme Court Argument Preview

When EPA began regulating greenhouse gas emissions from the tailpipes of cars and other mobile sources, did the agency force itself into regulating GHG emissions from stationary sources, such as power plants and factories? The U.S. Supreme Court will tackle this question on Monday, Feb. 24, when it hears arguments in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA .  

Highmark and Octane: Supreme Court Argument Preview

Is awarding attorneys' fees an effective way to combat the problem of abusive patent litigation conducted by entities often referred to as "patent trolls"? The availability of such awards, and the standard by which the Federal Circuit reviews them, are up for debate at the U.S. Supreme Court in Highmark v. Allcare Health Management Systems and Octane Fitness v. Icon Health & Fitness .

A Few Pictures From SCOTUS

A few pictures I snapped at the U.S. Supreme Court while justices were away on their mid-term recess. There's a lot to see there for anyone interested in the court's history.

Abortion Protest Case at Supreme Court

Pictures from the Supreme Court on the day of oral arguments in McCullen v. Coakley , a free speech case about the ability to protest at abortion clinics.

No Jurisdiction in California Over Daimler for Alleged Human Rights Abuses in Argentina

Today, the Supreme Court held that DaimlerChrysler, a foreign corporation, is not subject to general personal jurisdiction in California, for conduct allegedly committed by a subsidiary in Argentina. Foreign companies must have more of a connection to a state than Daimler had before foreign plaintiffs can sue the foreign parent company in a U.S. court about alleged misconduct of a subsidiary abroad.

Supreme Court Argument Preview: EBIA v. Arkison

The legacy of Anna Nicole Smith will be front and center when the Supreme Court hears arguments in Arkison , a bankruptcy case that looks to resolve questions left unanswered by the court's landmark decision in Stern v. Marshall , which involved the estate of the late model/actress.

Supreme Court Argument Preview: U.S. v. Quality Stores

Nothing in this world is certain, except death and taxes. But what about FICA taxes? And what about FICA taxes on severance payments made by a company closing up shop? We take a look at United States v. Quality Stores ahead of arguments at the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Argument Preview: Sprint v. Jacobs

The scope of Younger abstention is the issue facing the U.S. Supreme Court in Sprint Communications, Inc. v. Jacobs . This Law Week audio preview provides an introduction to the facts and issues involved in the case.