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This special edition of The National Law Journal focuses on the 2006-07 term of the U.S. Supreme Court, one that many commentators view as ushering in a new conservative era. An overview by staff reporter Marcia Coyle discusses some of the significant cases demonstrating this historic shift and also examines the apparent overruling of several precedents. Guest columns and opinion pieces provide in-depth analyses of major cases. Charts illustrate the justices’ voting patterns as well the reversal rates of lower courts. In addition, there are summaries of the 67 signed opinions that the high court issued during the term. SUPREME COURT REVIEW Prevailing Winds The end of the first full term of the newly constituted Roberts Court marked the beginning of a historical, sharper shift to the right that may go unchallenged for the next decade or longer. Further, in a number of decisions, such as the abortion, campaign finance and religion cases, the majority said it was not overruling precedents, but the decisions’ practical effect seemed to do so. WINNERS & LOSERS Most talked about cases of the 2006-07 term Summaries of 10 of the recent term’s most talked-about cases, along with a listing of the winning and losing attorneys. CLOSE-UPS ON THE TERM MAKING ARGUMENTS One litigator leads the pack Maureen E. Mahoney, head of the appellate and constitutional practice groups at Latham & Watkins, not only argued more cases than any other private practitioner � a total of four � but she won three of the four and all in a variety of areas of the law. BEHIND THE SCENES Law school clinics play a role Five clinics from law schools at Stanford, Yale, Northwestern University, the University of Texas and the University of Virginia represented either parties or amici in cases this term, and another Supreme Court clinic � at Harvard � plans to join the effort this fall. LEGAL ANALYSIS CIVIL RIGHTS CASES A conservative shift By Sonja R. West A few things are certain about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions this term in the area of civil rights. It is obvious, for example, that the court is split in a sharp 5-4 divide that highlights the absence of retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. It is also clear that a powerful new conservative majority has emerged, led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and solidified by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. What is less certain from these opinions, however, is the true extent of their reach. Court watchers, and even the justices themselves, are debating whether this term’s decisions were exercises in judicial modesty or a sweeping overhaul of important precedents. BUSINESS CASES Friendly to corporations By Adam H. Charnes and James J. Heffernan Jr. Following the appointments of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court, many court watchers predicted that the court would move in a more pro-business direction. The 2006 term proved these predictions emphatically correct. By any measure, those wins � some in cases decided by a 5-4 margin � included the cases most important for the business community. While it remains to be seen whether this degree of success be will repeated in future terms, it seems clear that the Roberts Court � at least as currently constituted � is significantly friendlier to business than was the Rehnquist Court. CRIMINAL CASES Sentencing issues By Brooks Holland The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2006-07 criminal decisions may not have generated as much fanfare as the court’s decisions on subjects like abortion, the environment, equal protection and the First Amendment. Yet criminal cases constituted almost a third of the cases decided this term, nearly half of them decided 5-4. The term’s criminal docket thus offers not only the usual important legal updates, but also valuable insight into the Roberts Court, especially on sentencing issues. Two cases, Cunningham v. California and Rita v. U.S. presented the Supreme Court with Sixth Amendment sentencing issues under Apprendi v. New Jersey and its progeny. EMPLOYMENT CASES The legacy of ‘Ledbetter’ By Lisa J. Banks and Debra S. Katz The U.S. Supreme Court, with its newest justice, Samuel A. Alito Jr., leading the way, has undergone a sea change in its approach to employment law this term, taking an axe to the protections afforded by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal law prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, and greatly restricting employees’ rights to seek redress for pay discrimination. The court’s decision in its most important employment case, and its failure to decide two others on the merits, will likely lead to far more litigation for both employers and employees in this area of the law. OPINION & COMMENTARY ‘MORSE V. FREDERICK’ A narrow win for schools By Clay Calvert & Robert D. Richards If Joseph Frederick had added just two words to his handcrafted banner displaying the message “Bong Hits 4 Jesus,” the outcome of Morse v. Frederick might have been completely different. What are the words? “Legalize pot.” Two justices in that narrow majority made forcefully clear that political messages remain at the core of protected student expression. In the end, though, the decision is vastly disappointing. It does nothing to answer the important and timely question of just how far a school’s authority may reach in punishing expression, such as the kind that students transmit through electronic means like homemade Web pages, social-networking sites, text messages and e-mail � arguably the most muddled area of student speech rights today. THE SCHOOL INTEGRATION CASES Misguided approach By Richard A. Epstein Much of the bitter division in the U.S. Supreme Court’s two decisions on racial integration stems from the profound differences in setting the objectives of public education. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. thinks that the legacy of Brown v. Board was eliminating explicit racial classifications. Thus he was prepared to strike down programs in both cities that denied white students transfers to certain schools solely on the ground of race, regardless of any laudable motivation. But no private institution uses its discretion to adopt segregationist policies. Private plans, borne of identity politics, offer a real benchmark for testing the legitimacy of the various state programs. Nothing done in either Louisville, Ky., or Seattle goes beyond those private race-conscious solutions. Why then throw a monkey wrench in the public sector? ‘SCOTT V. HARRIS’ Justices go Hollywood By Bennett L. Gershman The U.S. Supreme Court, we have learned this term, has succumbed, like most Americans, to the Die Hard/Terminator culture of Hollywood. That culture presents murder, major mayhem and all-out destruction to generate not only fear and excitement, but also enthusiastic rooting for the hero at the center of the action. In Scott v. Harris, the court, relying on a filmed account of police action, acted less like a group of principled jurists and more like a disaster-film audience. THE 2006-07 TERM AT-A-GLANCE The Justices’ Track Record Number of opinions, dissents and concurrences written per justice, with number of dissenting votes cast against majority opinions. Lineups in 5-Vote Majorities The court decided 24 cases by five-vote majorities, or 36% of the term’s signed decisions. Lower-Court Reversal Rates Number of cases, and percent reversed or vacated, circuit by circuit. Voting Alignments in Nonunanimous Cases A cross-reference of justices and the percentage of cases in which they agreed. Unanimous Decisions The court decided 37 cases unanimously or unanimously with concurrence last term, compared to 48 for the 2005-06 term. DECISION ROUNDUP The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2006-07 Decisions During its 2006-2007 term, which concluded on June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court issued 67 signed opinions on cases briefed and argued before it. Listed here are the summaries of those decisions.

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