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Chief Justice Roberts has a dilemma

CNN Legal Analyst Joan Biskupic and author of "The Chief" explains how Chief Justice John Roberts balances his conservative nature and his desire to protect the court from accusations of political bias.
Tags: News, Cnn, Stories, John Roberts, Roberts, Joan Biskupic


READ: 2012 Supreme Court decision upholding Obamacare

The Supreme Court in 2012 upheld the Affordable Care Act in a 5-4 ruling. The behind-the-scenes maneuvering by Chief Justice John Roberts is the subject of a new book by CNN's Joan Biskupic.
Tags: Supreme Court, Obamacare, Cnn, John Roberts


Redistricting Edge Saved GOP From Deeper Midterm Losses

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Democrats won more votes, regained control of the U.S. House and flipped hundreds of seats in state legislatures during the 2018 elections. It was, by most accounts, a good year for the party. Yet it wasn’t as bad as it could have been for Republicans. That’s because they may have benefited from a built-in advantage in some states, based on how political districts were drawn, that prevented deeper losses or helped them hold on to power, according to a mathematical an...
Tags: Texas, News, Maryland, Obama, Eric Holder, Massachusetts, Ap, Pennsylvania, Gop, South Dakota, House, Wisconsin, Redistricting, Nevada, Republican, North Carolina


Argument analysis: Justices seem receptive to inmate’s juror-discrimination claims

The Supreme Court heard oral argument yesterday in the case of an African-American death-row inmate in Mississippi who was convicted by a jury that included just one African-American juror. The inmate, Curtis Flowers, argues that the jury selection in his case violates the Constitution – especially because the lead prosecutor had a long history of eliminating potential African-American jurors from the jury pool. After nearly an hour of oral argument that included the first questions by Justice C...
Tags: Featured, Mississippi, Supreme Court, Law, Kentucky, Davis, Evans, Johnson, Flowers, John Roberts, Roberts, Howe, Alito, Mississippi Supreme Court, Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer


A “view” from the courtroom: Trials of Mississippi

Today will bring an intense hour of argument about race in jury selection in the case of a Mississippi man who has been tried six times by the same prosecutor, which will culminate in a series of short questions by Justice Clarence Thomas, his first during oral argument in three years. But first, there are a couple of lighter moments. Justice Thomas questions petitioner’s lawyer in Flowers v. Mississippi (Art Lien) Chief Justice John Roberts announces that Justice Stephen Breyer has the co...
Tags: Google, Featured, Mississippi, Supreme Court, Law, Washington, Kentucky, Walmart, United States, New Jersey, Davis, Manhattan, Evans, Nielsen, Johnson, Flowers


Opinion analysis: Washington state motor-fuel tax violates Yakama Treaty

With a three-justice plurality opinion, a two-justice concurrence in the judgment and two dissents, Washington State Department of Licensing v. Cougar Den appears unusually fractured at first glance. But the disagreements among seven of the justices are relatively small, turning largely on whether and why Washington’s motor-fuel tax really burdens the Yakama treaty right to travel. Only the dissent by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, indicates a fundamental disagreemen...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Washington, United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Thomas, State, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Roberts, Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Breyer, Elena Kagan, Clarence Thomas


Empirical SCOTUS: Is the court tracking right or Roberts left?

Although Supreme Court justices’ votes are not purely the product of ideological preferences, some of the most important cases the justices decide come down to 5-4 splits along ideological lines. This was during the 2017 Supreme Court term. Even though Chief Justice John Roberts was in the conservative camp for many of these split decisions last term, he voted with the court’s liberals in Artis v. District of Columbia and authored the majority opinion, which was joined by the court’s liberal j...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, United States, District Of Columbia, Thomas, John Roberts, Roberts, Roberts Court, Alito, Carpenter, William Rehnquist, Shelby County, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Artis, Sandra Day O'Connor


Opinion analysis: Justices uphold broad interpretation of immigration detention provision

In Nielsen v. Preap, four justices joined Justice Samuel Alito yesterday to adopt an expansive interpretation of a mandatory-immigration-detention statute. In Demore v. Kim, in 2003, the Supreme Court interpreted 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c) to require detention (without bond hearings) for the broad class of potentially removable immigrants identified in the statute. With their decision in Nielsen v. Preap, the Supreme Court further broadened this mandatory-detention provision to cover immigrants who, res...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Dhs, Kim, Nielsen, Department Of Homeland Security, Thomas, John Roberts, Roberts, Alito, Stephen Breyer, Breyer, Elena Kagan, Samuel Alito


Argument preview: Justices to tackle important agency-deference question

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this post ran on January 28, 2019, as an introduction to this blog’s symposium on Kisor v. Wilkie, as well as at Howe on the Court, where it was originally published. Next week the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Kisor v. Wilkie, which arises from a dispute over benefits for a Marine who served in the Vietnam War. Although it may sound dry, the case could be one of the most consequential of the term, because the justices will decide whether to over...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Court, Marines, Va, Chevron, Robbins, Thomas, Antonin Scalia, APA, John Roberts, Scalia, Howe, Clarence Thomas


Argument analysis: Justices grapple with meaning of final decision made after a hearing

In Monday’s oral argument in Smith v. Berryhill, the justices confronted a split among the courts of appeals as to whether an SSI disability claimant can obtain judicial review of the Social Security Appeals Council’s dismissal of his appeal as untimely under 42 U.S.C. sec. 405(g). Section 405(g) provides that “[a]ny individual, after any final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security made after a hearing to which he was a party, … may obtain review of such decision by a civil action.” ...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Social Security, Commission, Smith, Social Security Administration, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Roberts, Ginsburg, U S Court of Appeals, Sotomayor, Kimberly


Argument analysis: Sorting out a thorny statute-of-limitations question in False Claims Act case

The Supreme Court engaged in a relatively lively argument today over a thorny issue of statutory interpretation under the False Claims Act: how two separate statute-of-limitations provisions apply to whistleblower, or “qui tam,” actions when the federal government has not intervened in a suit brought by a private party, or relator. “These types of actions are exceptional in many ways,” Chief Justice John Roberts observed about the qui tam suits brought under the 1863 statute that was meant to ba...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Iraq, Afghanistan, United States, Fca, Graham, Hunt, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Roberts, Alito, U S Court of Appeals, Samuel Alito


Trump’s Supreme Court Appointees Take Opposite Sides In Two Cases

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s two Supreme Court appointees were on opposite sides of two of three cases that the justices decided Tuesday. The two new justices have solidified conservative control of the Supreme Court, but they do not march in lockstep, at least in the small corners of the court’s work dealing with Indian treaties and maritime law. In one case, Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the court’s liberal justices in ruling that a Washington state Indian tribe doesn’t have to p...
Tags: News, Supreme Court, Scotus, Navy, Washington, Senate, Barack Obama, Ap, United States, Donald Trump, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Trump, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito


Argument preview: Justices to tackle partisan gerrymandering … again

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this post ran on February 4, 2019, as an introduction to this blog’s symposium on Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek, as well as at Howe on the Court, where it was originally published. Every 10 years, the federal government conducts a census. The states then use the data from the census to draw new maps for their state legislatures and federal congressional districts. The maps often take politics into account – for example, to protect incumbents. Bu...
Tags: Featured, Maryland, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Court, Pennsylvania, United States, Wisconsin, Party, North Carolina, John Delaney, Charlotte, Raleigh, John Roberts, Roberts


Tuesday round-up

Today the justices will hear oral argument in Cochise Consultancy v. United States, ex rel. Hunt, which asks whether the “discovery” exception to False Claims Act statute of limitations applies to private parties in cases in which the government has not intervened. David Engstrom had this blog’s preview. Lauren Devendorf and Tyler Schmitt preview the case at Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. Subscript Law provides a graphic explainer. [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose...
Tags: Mississippi, Supreme Court, Law, Washington Post, Washington, Court, Bloomberg, Atlantic, Gop, United States, New York Times, Kansas, Beltway, Louisiana, Usa Today, Flowers


Argument preview: Justices consider availability of punitive damages in maritime unseaworthiness case

The few admiralty cases the Supreme Court hears often address common-law questions resembling those that normally arise on land and are generally within the province of state courts. These maritime adventures tend to involve a deep journey into relatively esoteric doctrinal areas, requiring the court to determine its proper judicial role as well as to make appropriate substantive choices. This term’s second admiralty excursion, The Dutra Group v. Batterton, presents another such occasion. On M...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Circuit, Dutra, Miles, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, 9th Circuit, Townsend, U S Court of Appeals, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy


Nonfiction: The ‘Enigma’ Who Is the Chief Justice of the United States

Joan Biskupic’s “The Chief” examines John Roberts’s life and his career on the Supreme Court.
Tags: News, United States, Joan, John Roberts, Roberts, Joan Biskupic, Books and Literature, United States Politics and Government, Supreme Court (US, Constitution (US, John G Jr, Biskupic, The Chief (Book


Thursday round-up

Briefly: At The Daily Caller, Kevin Daley notes that “Chief Justice John Roberts has made common cause with the Supreme Court’s liberal bloc as late, breaking with his conservative colleagues on cases relating to abortion, the death penalty and President Donald Trump’s revised rules for asylum seekers,” and that “[i]n isolation, it’s difficult to know what to make of the chief’s votes.” In an op-ed for Fox News, Kristen Waggoner hopes that the recent settlement between Colorado and Christian ba...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Colorado, Indiana, Atlantic, Fox News, Christian, Illinois, Donald Trump, Madison, Round-up, John Roberts, International Finance Corporation, Jam, NLRA, Marbury


SCOTUS Map: February and March 2019

At a February 1 Hastings Law Journal symposium honoring retired Justice Anthony Kennedy’s 43 years as a federal judge, Kennedy bemoaned what he sees as the lack of “rational, enlightening dialogue” and the dissipation of the “social framework of decency.” Of the Supreme Court’s two newest justices (and former Kennedy clerks), Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, Kennedy had only ringing endorsements: “[Gorsuch is] going to be a wonderful judge, just like Brett.” The San Francisco Chronic...
Tags: New York, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, California, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Kennedy, Sonia Sotomayor, Brown, John Roberts, Board of Education, Brett, Roberts, San Francisco Chronicle, Ginsburg


Empirical SCOTUS: Who’s in the majority?

Although few people ever have the opportunity of sitting on the Supreme Court, some similarities exist between this upper echelon of judging and other jobs. One parallel has to do with job satisfaction. Judges who make it all the way to the Supreme Court should feel accomplished and contented because of their achievements, but there also must be at least a continuum of job satisfaction among the justices. That is not to say that any justice necessarily dislikes the job, just that they may not en...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Austin, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Kennedy, Douglas, Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Fisher, Roberts, William Rehnquist, Clarence Thomas, Burwell, Anthony Kennedy, William Douglas


Interim Stat Pack for October Term 2018

With six out of eight argument sessions for the 2018-2019 Supreme Court term behind us and 21 written opinions down (17 in argued cases and four summary reversals), here is the March 2019 SCOTUSblog Interim Stat Pack. This Stat Pack includes statistics related to this term’s arguments and opinions through March 4, 2019. The whole Stat Pack can be viewed  . The information in the Stat Pack covers various aspects of the court’s decisions. The analyses look at the court as a whole as well as at the...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, John Roberts, Elena Kagan, Gorsuch, Thomas Alito, Ruth Bader Ginsburg Stephen Breyer Sonia Sotomayor, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas Samuel Alito, Kavanaugh Kavanaugh


Friday round-up

Amy Howe reports for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court, that yesterday Justices Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan testified about the Supreme Court’s budget at a congressional hearing, “field[ing] questions about cameras in the courtroom, law clerk diversity, partisan attacks on the judiciary, and the #MeToo movement.” Jess Bravin reports for that, according to Kagan, “Chief Justice John Roberts is weighing whether to create a code of conduct for members of the Supreme C...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Washington Post, Court, Indiana, Round-up, John Roberts, Jeffrey Toobin, Cato Institute, Robert Barnes, Howe, Jess Bravin, Alito, Elena Kagan, Kagan, Heritage Foundation


Funding the one percent

Justices Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan appeared this afternoon before the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government of the House Committee on Appropriations. They were invited to discuss the Supreme Court’s budget requirements for fiscal year 2020, but they also fielded questions about cameras in the courtroom, law clerk diversity, partisan attacks on the judiciary, and the #MeToo movement. Perhaps most notably, Kagan disclosed that Chief Justice John Roberts is studying a code ...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Donald Trump, Bishop, Calif, John Roberts, Roger Stone, Roberts, Howe, Torres, Granger, Alito, Elena Kagan, Kagan


Symposium: June Medical should be summarily reversed

Jonathan B. Miller is Chief of the Public Protection & Advocacy Bureau in the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the Massachusetts Attorney General or the Office. June Medical Services, LLC v. Gee potentially presents an opportunity for the newest lineup of the Supreme Court, including Justice Brett Kavanaugh, to revisit constitutional protection of abortion. In a move that surprised many, the justices stayed the U.S. ...
Tags: Health, Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Massachusetts, Citizens United, Medicare, Louisiana, Trump, John Roberts, Centers for Medicare, Medicaid Services, U S Court of Appeals, Federal Election Commission, Bullock


Symposium: In the Louisiana abortion case, maybe the best defense is a good offense

Michael C. Dorf is the Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law at Cornell University. He blogs at  dorfonlaw.org . Chief Justice John Roberts surprised some observers when he joined his four more liberal colleagues to grant a stay of the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in . The stay blocked Louisiana’s law requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. The petitioners argued that the Louisiana law was substantially similar to the Tex...
Tags: Health, Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Senate, Court, Mitch McConnell, Nebraska, Knox, Louisiana, SEIU, Cornell University, Trump, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts


Symposium: Undue burden, balancing test or bright line? Court should take the Louisiana admitting-privileges case to clarify the meaning of Whole Woman’s Health

Catherine Glenn Foster is the president and chief executive officer of Americans United for Life. The U.S. Supreme Court’s last pronouncement on abortion came in 2016, in the jurisprudential netherworld between the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and the appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch. Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt invalidated portions of Texas’ HB 2, including a requirement that doctors performing abortions maintain patient-admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their ...
Tags: Health, Texas, Featured, Mississippi, Supreme Court, Law, Planned Parenthood, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Scalia, The Supreme Court, Baton Rouge, U S Court of Appeals, Stephen Breyer


Abortion could return to the Supreme Court: In Plain English

In 2016, Justice Anthony Kennedy provided the fifth vote to strike down a Texas law that required doctors who perform abortions to have “admitting privileges” – the right to admit patients – at a local hospital. But Kennedy retired last year. So when two doctors who perform abortions, along with an abortion clinic, came to the Supreme Court in January, asking the justices to bar Louisiana from enforcing a similar law, many court-watchers saw the case as a bellwether for the Supreme Court’s abort...
Tags: Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Louisiana, Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Roberts, Howe, Anthony Kennedy, Kavanaugh, Merits Cases, Supreme Court They, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas Samuel Alito Neil Gorsuch


Woodstock 50 Said To Face Financial Woes

With Woodstock 50 scheduled to take place in just six months, event organizers have not released an initial lineup. Woodstock 50, intended to mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic Woodstock Music & Arts Festival, is scheduled to take place from 16-18 in Watkins Glen in Upstate New York a few miles from the original festival grounds. Since the festival was first announced in January, few additional details about the event have come to light, leading to speculation about the event’s fi...
Tags: Music, New York Times, Times, Jay, Woodstock, Halsey, Bruce Houghton, John Roberts, Upstate New York, Santana, Bethel Woods, LANG, Watkins Glen, Dentsu, Dentsu Aegis Network, Michael Lang Joel Rosenman


Opinion analysis: The doctrine that dare not speak its name

A laid-off railroad worker goes head to head with the world’s fourth-largest publicly traded corporation over a $3,765 payment that — the worker says — is owed to him because the corporation’s negligence caused him to fall through a snow-covered drainage grate and suffer a severe knee injury. The Trump administration backs the corporation, while a trial lawyers’ group with close ties to the Democratic Party comes in to support the worker. The Supreme Court sides with the corporation, but only ov...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, United States, Social Security, Wisconsin, Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chevron, Justice Department, Irs, National Labor Relations Board, Bnsf, Trump


A “view” from the courtroom: Third Mondays

The title above is not a new Supreme Court podcast, to replace the recently shelved “First Mondays” (which we hold out hope will be unshelved someday). No, it refers to days like today, when the court meets on a Monday after hearing two weeks of arguments to issue orders and opinions. Such days often get a bit less attention than argument days, or opinion days later in the term when bigger decisions tend to be announced. But they have their charms. Today we will have three opinions from the benc...
Tags: England, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Washington, Nasa, United States, Cbs, Mars, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Oracle, Mother Teresa, Copyright Office, John Roberts, Sally


Ginsburg’s Recovery Entailed Churning Opinions Out Faster Than Colleagues

WASHINGTON (AP) — Now we know what Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was doing as she recuperated from lung cancer surgery: churning out opinions for the court at a faster clip than any of her younger colleagues. Eleven days before her 86th birthday, Ginsburg was in fine form as she announced two of the court’s three opinions on Monday. One of those was for a case argued in January, when Ginsburg was absent from the court while she recovered from the December surgery. Last month, on her second day b...
Tags: News, Supreme Court, Scotus, Washington, Ap, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Roberts, Ginsburg, Alito, Clarence Thomas Justice Samuel Alito, Summer Concepcion, AP story