Supreme Court: The New Term
The National Law Journal
With its blockbuster health care, immigration and other high-profile decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court's last term would seem to be a hard act to follow. Remarkably, the new term may do just that. From a summer that saw (and heard) more from the justices than usual right up to the highlights of the arguments currently on the docket, The National Law Journal continues its coverage of the latest developments at the high court.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2012
For the Supreme Court, a hot summer
Departing from custom, the justices kept talking and talking, to the delight of the news media and court aficionados.
OCTOBER 1, 2012
A term under construction
The justices already have agreed to revisit affirmative action in a case involving the University of Texas. They also are being asked to restrict one of the most important tools of human rights activists, and they may erect new obstacles to class actions. The court's internal temperature may rise a few degrees more if, as expected, the justices agree to review one or more challenges involving same-sex marriage.
Key cases to watch in the 2012-13 term
From affirmative action to drug-sniffing dogs, a look at the potential highlights of the high court's docket.
High court practitioners preview upcoming term
At a roundtable discussion last month panelists looked ahead to a term that could be as important as the last one.
OCTOBER 9, 2012
Affirmative action returns and civil rights group is watching
Debo Adegbile, acting president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, talks to NLJ about two key civil rights doctrines before the Court this term: affirmative action, and federal supervision of election procedures under the Voting Rights Act.
OCTOBER 29, 2012
In Clapper case, court considers standing, surveillance
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday appeared divided over whether to allow a group of lawyers, journalists and human rights researchers the ability to challenge a government surveillance tool that critics say intercepts protected communications and violates privacy and speech rights.
OCTOBER 31, 2012
Justices growl at government arguments in drug sniffing dogs cases
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared troubled by police use of drug sniffing dogs that point their noses too close to the front doors of homes.
NOVEMBER 5, 2012
Court wades into class action questions once again
Lawyers for two of the world's largest cable and biotechnology companies urged the U.S. Supreme Court in separate cases on Monday to impose higher hurdles on federal court certification of class actions.
DECEMBER 3, 2012
First indictment brought under law passed in response to 'animal crush' ruling
A federal indictment announced in Houston last week could set up a legal challenge to the law passed by Congress in 2010 after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an earlier statute criminalizing depictions of animal cruelty. Ashley Richards and Brent Justice were indicted for creating and distributing eight animal "crush" videos that involved torturing puppies, kittens and chickens.
DECEMBER 5, 2012
Justices appear uneasy with ramifications of international custody dispute
The U.S. Supreme Court appeared to find no easy way to resolve an international child custody battle between a U.S. Army soldier and a Scottish woman, a battle with important ramifications for the power of federal courts.
DECEMBER 19, 2012
Colleagues, former clerks recall legal career of Robert Bork, who died at 85
Former federal appeals judge, solicitor general and failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork is being remembered as both a conservative legal trailblazer and a divisive nominee who set the contentious tone of high court confirmation hearings ever since.
JANUARY 9, 2013
In win for Nike, court finds covenant made trademark litigation moot
The Supreme Court supported efforts by Nike Inc. to rid itself of a rival's trademark suit by promising not to pursue its own lawsuit against the competitor, Already LLC.
JANUARY 14, 2013
High court won't hear bid to shield inmate from possible death penalty
A bid to sidestep federal custody and possibly the death penalty for a Rhode Island state prisoner failed when the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in the case.
JANUARY 16, 2013
Brief of the Week: Challenging settlement over Segways for veterans at Disney World
Civil rights attorney David Ferleger, an anti-war demonstrator in the Vietnam era, sees no irony in his representation of disabled military veterans seeking to overturn the Walt Disney Co.'s ban on their Segways in its theme parks. He sees only another important civil rights battle in his long war on disability discrimination.
Justices appear to favor federal courts as forum for patent malpractice cases
Lawyer malpractice cases, usually handled in state courts, rarely find their way onto the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court. But the high court took up a Texas legal malpractice casenot to decide if the lawyers involved really messed up, but rather to determine whether it should have been litigated before state court or federal court. The reason for the uncertainty is that the alleged malpractice occurred during a patent infringement caseand patent issues are the province of federal courts.
JANUARY 30, 2013
In milestone, group of gay-identified lawyers sworn in to Supreme Court bar
A group of openly identified gay lawyers was sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court bar at a court session earlier this month, an apparent first. The 30 lawyers sworn in on January 22 were members of the National LGBT Bar Association and were identified as such by court clerk William Suter in announcing their group admission to the court.
FEBRUARY 13, 2013
Sotomayor now opposes cameras at the court
It has happened again. Yet another justice who spoke favorably as a nominee about allowing cameras in the Supreme Court has gone native and now thinks it's a bad idea. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in several stops on her often televised book tour, has opined that televising oral arguments "could be more misleading than helpful" to viewers who have not delved into the issues before the court.
FEBRUARY 19, 2013
After long recess, court adds major campaign-finance case, issues four opinions
Welcoming back reporters after the court's long winter recess, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. told the press corps that the court would soon be issuing several opinions, adding that if anyone had scheduled a lunch, "you might want to push it back."
FEBRUARY 20, 2013
Justices all agree: State courts can hear patent malpractice cases
State courts may hear claims alleging legal malpractice in the handling of a patent case, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled. The justices handed victory to a trio of attorneys who had challenged a Texas Supreme Court decision holding that the patent malpractice lawsuit against them belonged in federal, not state court, where they had prevailed.
Decision on informing clients of deportation risks is not retroactive, court rules
A 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring criminal defense attorneys to inform noncitizen clients of the deportation risks of guilty pleas is not retroactive, the justices held on Wednesday.
FEBRUARY 25, 2013
In a cert denial, a rare prosecutorial chastisement
In a rare and forceful slap down of a federal prosecutor, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, devoted a nearly five-page statement on Monday to the prosecutor's racially charged remark during a drug conspiracy trial in Texas.
FEBRUARY 26, 2013
Justices, in 5-4 decision, say challengers to major surveillance law lack standing
The U.S. Supreme Court ended a nearly five-year effort by a coalition of lawyers, human rights workers, media organizations and others to challenge the constitutionality of the nation's major federal surveillance law.
Supreme Court torn over constitutionality of taking DNA samples from arrestees
The conflicting tug of personal privacy and crime-solving technology tore at the Supreme Court as justices considered whether the Fourth Amendment permits police to take DNA samples from arrestees who have not been charged with or convicted of a crime.
FEBRUARY 27, 2013
An embattled Voting Rights Act
The fear of civil rights groups and others that the U.S. Supreme Court might deal a lethal blow to a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 appeared to play out in real time on Wednesday in arguments before the justices.
A rare win for class action plaintiffs in one case, but prospects dim in another
The Supreme Court continued its extensive exploration of class action litigation, handing a rare victory to plaintiffs in one case while hearing arguments in another that could come down on the side of defendants.
High court limits SEC's time to seek civil penalties
In seeking civil penalties for fraud, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission must bring an enforcement action within five years of the alleged misconduct, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled. The court rejected the SEC's argument that the clock should start running from the date the fraud was discovered, or at least could have been discovered.