U.S. Law Week: On The Merits adds a new dimension to U.S. Law Week's
coverage of courts, cases and legal issues. Using both new and
traditional media, we aim to provide visitors with accessible
information on the topics they care about.
December 10, 2014
by Kimberly Robinson
It’s Washington, 2014. Howard Shipley files a Supreme Court petition. Nine weeks later the U.S. Supreme Court wants to sanction him for that petition. The trouble is, no one knows why.
November 26, 2014
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.
November 25, 2014
by Jessie Kokrda Kamens
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.
November 20, 2014
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.
November 10, 2014
Will two redistricting cases out of Alabama provide the Supreme Court with another opportunity to scale back the Voting Rights Act? In this podcast, U.S. Law Week's Jessie Kamens and Kimberly Robinson break down the issues in advance of the Nov. 12 arguments.
October 31, 2014
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?
Separation of powers takes the spotlight again this term in Zivotofsky v. Kerry. Congress and the Executive Branch are in a tug of war over a single, weighty word: Israel.
October 30, 2014
The Truth in Lending Act is
meant to protect consumers… but to what end? Lenders say they shouldn’t be stuck with draconian
rescission remedies in order to protect mortgage borrowers, but borrowers say
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.
September 30, 2014
Sure… they aren’t as flashy as same-sex marriage. But
several procedural issues set to be heard during the Supreme Court’s upcoming
term could end up having a big practical impact. U.S. Law Week’s Patrick
Gregory previews these and other “hot-button” cases before the high court kicks
off its 2014 term next week.
September 25, 2014
Supreme Court oral arguments are serious business… well, most of the time. In
this U.S. Law Week podcast, Kimberly Robinson takes a look at some of the
funniest moments from the U.S. Supreme Court’s latest term. Enjoy!
September 16, 2014
Kimberly Robinson's coverage of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's talk on "Women and the Constitution" near the document's 227th birthday.
August 13, 2014
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.
July 31, 2014
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.
July 23, 2014
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.
July 10, 2014
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!
July 8, 2014
On Wednesday, July 2, U.S. Law Week took to the Twitter-verse to talk about the U.S. Supreme Court's most recent term. We were joined by a group of well-known court watchers who analyzed the most important rulings, chatted about cameras in the courtroom and other issues facing the justices, and looked ahead to identify the cases that will shape the 2014-2015 term.
July 1, 2014
This morning's coverage of events at the U.S. Supreme Court by U.S. Law Week via Twitter.
June 30, 2014
June 26, 2014
June 25, 2014
June 23, 2014
June 19, 2014
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!
June 16, 2014
Today, the Supreme Court held that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act does not immunize a
foreign-sovereign judgment debtor from post-judgment discovery of
information concerning its extraterritorial assets. Additional security on judgment
enforcement may make it easier for financially strapped countries
to attract U.S. investors.
June 12, 2014
June 10, 2014
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.
June 9, 2014
June 2, 2014
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.
May 27, 2014
May 21, 2014
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.
May 20, 2014
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!
May 6, 2014
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
May 5, 2014
The town of Greece, N.Y., did not
violate the establishment clause when it invited predominately
Christian clergy to open its monthly board meetings, the Supreme
Court holds. The Court rejects contention that prayers opening
legislative sessions must be nonsectarian to comport with the First
April 29, 2014
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?
April 28, 2014
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.
April 25, 2014
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
April 24, 2014
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
April 22, 2014
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.
April 16, 2014
On Wednesday, April 23, the U.S.
Supreme Court will hear arguments in CTS Corp. v.
Waldburger. The case takes a look at whether the federal
Superfund law treats state statutes of limitations and statutes of
repose as one in the same. Perry Cooper from BBNA's Toxics Law
Reporter is here for a preview.
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.
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
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.
April 7, 2014
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.
March 28, 2014
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?"
March 27, 2014
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.
March 26, 2014
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.
March 24, 2014
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.
March 21, 2014
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.
March 20, 2014
“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.
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
March 18, 2014
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.
March 13, 2014
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.
March 11, 2014
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.
February 28, 2014
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.
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.
February 25, 2014
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.
February 21, 2014
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.
February 20, 2014
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.
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.
February 11, 2014
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.
January 27, 2014
The U.S. Supreme Court heads into it's mid-term recess. The justices will be back on the bench Feb. 24.
January 17, 2014
The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court get ready to go a couple of rounds with attorneys in a case concerning the rights to the classic film "Raging Bull."
What's the value of an anonymous tip? That's the question facing the Supreme Court in Navarette v. California, a Fourth Amendment search and seizure case set to be argued Jan. 21, 2014.
January 15, 2014
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.
January 14, 2014
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.
January 13, 2014
Some new--and bright--pictures from the Supreme Court.
January 10, 2014
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.
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.
January 9, 2014
The Supreme Court gets set to take on the president's recess appointment powers in NLRB v. Noel Canning.
December 10, 2013
Snow falls on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.
December 6, 2013
Supreme Court ready to dive into international child abduction case.
Supreme Court preparing to hear case about airline that reported pilot to TSA and whether it should be immune from defamation claim under federal law.
Jeff Koelemay previews Mayorkas v. De Osorio, an immigration case dealing with how long children of immigrants must wait for visas.
Attorney Discipline. Post by Post. (AKA, Serial for SCOTUS Nerds)
Up For Reinterpretation: Supremes Take On Informal Rulemaking
Facebook, Rap and Illegal Threats
The Gag Rule of Five?
Redistricting Revisited: The Voting Rights Act in the Cross-Hairs Again?
Term in Review
Freedom of Religion
Search and Seizure
Freedom of Speech
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Securities Class Actions
Church and State