Elena Kagan Needs to Recuse Herself from Obamacare Case, Says Author of Virginia Law

Supreme Court ethics

    Ronald Goldfarb writes at The Hill: “The ethics standards of Supreme Court justices are kept sacrosanct, by the justices themselves. So while all state and federal judges on all the trial and appellate courts of the United States are subject to a code of conduct, only United States Supreme Court justices are not bound by such, or any other ethical standards except for the impeachment process.”


  • Posted: 03/16/2011
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  • Category: Bench & Bar
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  • Source: thehill.com

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When Scalia dissents, he is writing for law schools

Rep. Sandy Adams: “International Foreign Law: Ban foreign law from courts We make our own laws”

Supreme Court rejects appeal in student fee case

Citizen Link: Supreme Court Victories for Religious Liberty

U.S. Supreme Court still reviewing teacher’s discrimination case against a MI Catholic School

Victory for Catholic student group: U.S. Supreme Court says no to U. of Wis. appeal

U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear appeal in Badger Catholic case

Supreme Court OKs Protests at Military Funerals

Supreme Court: Hospital punished worker for being in Army Reserves

Paul Benjamin Linton legal analysis: President overlooked Supreme Court ruling, Baker v. Nelson, in refusing to defend DOMA

Justice Thomas Responds

Supreme Court confronts conflict between constitutional rights and protecting children

    Washington Post: But the other side of the question is represented by 18 amicus briefs joined by 70 groups across the political spectrum arguing that the 9th Circuit should be upheld. The case raises important questions about parental rights and the rights of children, they said. “The fact that the seized person here was a 9-year old girl requires, as a matter of constitutional law, more vigilance about protecting individual liberty from state abuse,” the Center for Individual Rights said in its brief.


  • Posted: 02/28/2011
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  • Category: Marriage & Family
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  • Source: www.washingtonpost.com

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Interesting Religion Cases at the Supreme Court’s Conference Tomorrow

    John Elwood writes at the Volokh Conspiracy: “Cooke v. Tubra, 10–559 . . . presents the question whether the First Amendment bars a pastor’s defamation claim against the church that employed him when the claim is based entirely on statements made by church officials . . . In addition, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v EEOC, 10–553, involves whether the judicially recognized “ministerial exception” to the Americans with Disabilities Act, bars review of the termination of a parochial school teacher who teaches the full secular curriculum, but also teaches daily religion classes . . . ”


  • Posted: 02/24/2011
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  • Category: Religious Liberty
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  • Source: volokh.com

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Professors ask Congress for an ethics code for Supreme Court

High court rejects new case on 10 Commandments

Court won’t stop Nevada from banning brothel ads

Supreme Court: parental claims against vaccine manufacturers barred

    SCOTUS Blog Live Blog: “09-152 Brusewitz v. Wyatt, Justice Scalia writes for the Court. The vote is 6-2. The Court rules that a 1986 federal law setting up a program to compensate for injuries due to administration of vaccines preempts all design defect claims against vaccine manufacturers by individuals seeking compensation for injury or death. The lower Court is affirmed. The majority opinion is joined by five other Justices. Justice Breyer filed a concurring opinion. Justice Sotomayor disstented joined by Justice Ginsburg. Justice Kagan took no part.” | The AP reports here.


  • Posted: 02/22/2011
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  • Category: Bench & Bar
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  • Source: www.scotusblog.com

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Supreme Court revisiting Obama eligibility case; recusal sought for Obama appointees

    WorldNetDaily: The court has confirmed that it has distributed a petition for rehearing in the case brought by attorney John Hemenway on behalf of retired Col. Gregory Hollister and it will be the subject of a conference on March 4. It was in January that the court denied, without comment, a request for a hearing on the arguments. But the attorney at the time had submitted a motion for Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who were given their jobs by Obama, to recuse. Should Obama ultimately be shown to have been ineligible for the office, his actions, including his appointments, at least would be open to challenge and question. At the time, the Supreme Court acknowledged the “motion for recusal” but it changed it on official docketing pages to a “request.” And it reportedly failed to respond to the motion . . . He also argued that if court members continue to “avoid” the dispute they effectively will “destroy the constitutional rule of law basis of our legal system.”


  • Posted: 02/21/2011
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  • Category: Bench & Bar

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U.S. Supreme Court Asked to Review San Francisco’s Anti-Catholic Resolution

Washington Times: “Fast-track Obamacare challenges: Constitutionality of individual mandate should be resolved now”

SCOTUS Petitions to watch includes Ten Commandments case

Supreme Court to Consider Two Important Campaign Finance Cases Friday

House Democrat to seek transparency of Supreme Court conflicts of interest

    The Hill: “Rep. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) said Wednesday he would introduce legislation after next week’s break that would require Supreme Court justices to publicly disclose why they have recused themselves from cases. Murphy said the bill would also require the Supreme Court to develop a process that would allow parties to a case to “request the court to decide whether a particular justice has a conflict of interest.”


  • Posted: 02/17/2011
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  • Category: Bench & Bar
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  • Source: thehill.com

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One giant health care case?

Ginsburg on health care timing

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas talks about ‘life’s calling’ during impromptu visit to Ave Maria University

WI: Badger Catholic case may go to U.S. Supreme Court

Justice Ginsburg Says She Won’t Retire Before 2012; Hints She May Stay Until 2016

Antonin Scalia: European Union and European Court of Human Rights are undemocratic

Gaming the System: At the Supreme Court, could legal precedent be less important than popular opinion?

    Dahlia Lithwick writes at Slate: “Articles of faith, as a rule, don’t change every few months. And yet, just nine months ago, it was an article of faith among court watchers that President Obama’s health care reform plan would be upheld at the Supreme Court by a margin of 7-2 or 8-1. Today it is an equally powerful article of faith that everything rests in the hands of Justice Anthony Kennedy in what will surely be a 5-4 decision. What changed between last March and last Monday?”


  • Posted: 02/03/2011
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  • Category: Bench & Bar
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  • Source: www.slate.com

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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas visiting Ave Maria University

The Supreme Court Is Not Our Benevolent Dictator

Where Judicial Activism Morphs into Disregard

Supreme Court reversals deliver a dressing-down to the liberal 9th Circuit

Common Cause v. Scalia and Thomas

Scalia addresses tea party-organized event

    Associated Press: “Scalia made the short walk from the Supreme Court to the Capitol on Monday to speak at a seminar organized by GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann and the Tea Party Caucus. In remarks closed to the media, Scalia told about 50 members of Congress and their staff to ‘pay attention’ and read up on their roles. Attendees described the associate justice as professorial and occasionally playful.”


  • Posted: 01/25/2011
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  • Category: Bench & Bar
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  • Source: hosted.ap.org

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Roberts to lead delegation of six Supreme Court Justices at Obama address

Supreme Court OK’s suits under Title VII for retaliation against 3rd parties

“US Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal by anti-gays”

Supreme Court’s Reinhardt-watch continues

Advocacy group says Scalia, Thomas may have conflict in campaign finance cases

    New York Times: “When the conservative financier Charles Koch sent out invitations for a political retreat in Palm Springs later this month, he highlighted past appearances at the gathering of ‘notable leaders’ like Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court . . . [Common Cause] is now trying to use that connection to argue that Mr. Scalia and Mr. Thomas should disqualify themselves from hearing campaign finance cases because they may be biased toward Mr. Koch, a billionaire who has been a major player in financing conservative causes.”


  • Posted: 01/20/2011
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  • Category: Bench & Bar
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  • Source: www.nytimes.com

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“Pastor declares ‘civil war’ after Supreme Court rejects DC gay marriage case”

US Supreme Court declines appeal on right to vote

“US Supreme Court denies same-sex marriage appeal in DC”

Ninth Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt Feels High Court’s Wrath

Court to rule on Medicaid cuts

    SCOTUSblog: “The Supreme Court, in the early stages of setting up the cases it will decide during its next Term, agreed on Tuesday to decide whether patients receiving Medicaid benefits, and the providers who serve their health care needs, have a right under the Constitution to challenge a state’s reduction of benefit payments. The Court granted three separate petitions by California officials, but consolidated them for argument and decision together. This was the only newly granted case.”


  • Posted: 01/19/2011
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  • Category: Miscellaneous
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  • Source: www.scotusblog.com

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Supreme Court rejects appeal by D.C. marriage equality opponents

Jordan Lorence: Humor at the Supreme Court

“DC’s Eleanor Holmes Norton chastises gay marriage foes who ask for Congress to interfere”

Gibbs defends DoJ appeal of DOMA case

Supreme Court rejects appeal to allow DC residents right to vote on marriage

Voters silenced: Sup. Court lets stand D.C. “gay marriage” ruling

“Supreme Court denies conservatives’ appeal in D.C. gay marriage case”

“Supreme Court declines to hear case targeting D.C. marriage equality”

Supreme Court refuses appeal by opponents of marriage redefinition in D.C.

US Supreme Court turns down appeal of child porn conviction

U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear medicaid preemption case

Supreme Court to consider appeal in child porn case that predates federal child porn law

On history’s stage: Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.

    CNN Money / Fortune: “Tapes of Roberts’ arguments before the Court — he delivered 39 of them — bear out what numerous contemporaries recount: He seemed to anticipate every question, and responded instantly in complete, grammatical sentences salted with down-to-earth analogies and an occasionally wicked wit . . . With good health, Roberts could surpass Marshall’s record as the longest-serving Chief Justice (34 years) in March 2040 . . . ‘He’s going to go down as an absolutely historic figure,’ predicts Goldstein, who co-heads the litigation department at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and is also the publisher of SCOTUSblog.com.”


  • Posted: 01/14/2011
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  • Category: Bench & Bar
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  • Source: management.fortune.cnn.com

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Atheist asks Supreme Court to strike down “In God We Trust”

Cert. denied in RLUIPA prisoner free exercise case

High court turns away appeal from “birther” leader

Court refuses to overturn bulletproof vest law; dissent on Commerce power

    Associated Press: “The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a challenge against a federal law making it illegal for criminals to own bulletproof vests. The appeal had questioned Congress’ lawmaking ability under the Commerce Clause . . . Justice Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia said they would have heard the case.”

    SCOTUSblog: “Two Justices of the Supreme Court, in a dissent that may reveal a new division in the Court over Congress’s power to pass legislation under the Commerce Clause, on Monday accused the Court majority of silently accepting ‘the nullification’ of the Court’s recent rulings on that power — especially, the decision in 1995 in Lopez v. U.S.” | SCOTUSblog case page for Alderman v. United States.


  • Posted: 01/10/2011
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  • Category: Bench & Bar

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LA Times: Let Scalia speak

Legal Periodical: Is the Supreme Court a “Majoritarian” Institution?

    Richard H. Pildes, Is the Supreme Court a ‘Majoritarian’ Institution? (December 31, 2010). Supreme Court Review, Vol. 2010, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1733169

    “Using as a starting point the Court’s dramatically countermajoritarian recent decision in the Citizens United case, this article identifies at least six problems with the majoritarian thesis: (1) lack of clarity about who the relevant majority is that purportedly constrains the Court, such as national lawmaking majorities, national popular opinion majorities, or other possible definitions of ‘the majority’; (2) lack of convincing accounts of the mechanisms by which one or another of these majorities manages to constrain the Court; (3) disagreement about whether the Court’s most momentous decisions, such as Brown v. Board of Education, were in fact majoritarian or not; (4) confusion between whether individual Court decisions reflect majoritarian preferences and whether the Court over long periods of time eventually reflects majoritarian beliefs; (5) failure to take into adequate account the changing power of the Court over time; (6) issues about whether data support the majoritarian thesis.

    In addition, this article argues that good reasons exist to believe that the history of judicial review will not necessarily predict its future. However independent the Court might or might not have been in the past of political and popular constraints, the Court is likely to have more autonomy going forward than in the past. The strongest mechanism through which the Court reflects the outcomes of electoral processes, the appointments process, has been attenuated by the much longer average time Justices now serve; seats now become vacant on average every 3.1 years, rather than the 1.6 years that had long been the norm. That makes even more random any linkage between judicial appointments and national electoral outcomes.

    The article concludes by offering Citizens United as a powerful reminder that, despite the best efforts of modern majoritarian theorists, Bickel’s countermajoritarian difficulty endures. Citizens United may prove to be an isolated but important episode – or a harbinger of an assertive new era of judicial review that operates with a good deal of independence from national lawmaking and popular majorities.”


  • Posted: 01/06/2011
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  • Category: Bench & Bar
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  • Source: ssrn.com

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Feminists up in arms over Scalia’s 14th Amend remarks

California Lawyer interviews Justice Scalia: The Originalist

    California Lawyer: “In its most important aspects, the Constitution tells the current society that it cannot do [whatever] it wants to do. It is a decision that the society has made that in order to take certain actions, you need the extraordinary effort that it takes to amend the Constitution. Now if you give to those many provisions of the Constitution that are necessarily broad . . . an evolving meaning so that they have whatever meaning the current society thinks they ought to have, they are no limitation on the current society at all.”


  • Posted: 01/03/2011
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  • Category: Bench & Bar
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  • Source: www.callawyer.com

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Justice Roberts: End partisan feuds over judgeships

    SCOTUSblog: “Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., with a not-so-subtle suggestion that the Senate should stop playing politics with nominations of judges to the federal courts, on Friday called for a ‘long-term solution to this recurring problem.’ In another notable feature of his annual year-end report on the federal judiciary, the Chief Justice notified Congress that the Court itself, through belt-tightening, will be asking for less money in its new budget than it did last year. The text of the report can be read here.”


  • Posted: 01/03/2011
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  • Category: Bench & Bar
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  • Source: www.scotusblog.com

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SCOTUSblog: Feb., March arguments. day by day

    SCOTUSblog: “The Supeme Court on Wednesday released the schedules of oral argument for the next two sittings — the February and March public sessions. The February calendar is here; the March calendar is here. The Court will have one further argument session scheduled this Term, beginning on Monday, April 18. The morning arguments begin at 10 a.m.; any afternoon argument begins at 1 p.m.”


  • Posted: 12/28/2010
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  • Category: Bench & Bar
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  • Source: www.scotusblog.com

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Sotomayor protests court’s refusal of appeals

Sotomayor, Kagan shift Supreme Court debates to the left

    Los Angeles Times: “For most of the last two decades, Supreme Court conservatives led by Justice Antonin Scalia dominated the debates during oral arguments. They greeted advocates for liberal causes with sharp and sometimes caustic questions, putting them on the defensive from the opening minute. But the tenor of the debate has changed in recent months, now that President Obama’s two appointees to the court, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, have joined the fray and reenergized the liberal wing.”


  • Posted: 12/28/2010
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  • Category: Bench & Bar
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  • Source: articles.latimes.com

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Supreme Court petition to watch: Do Equal Terms and Unreasonable Limitations provisions of RLUIPA violate Establishment Clause

Law Review: Originalism and Summary Judgment

    Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Originalism and Summary Judgement (December 16, 2010). Ohio State Law Journal, Vol. 71, No. 5, p. 919, 2010; Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 10-38; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 10-47. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1727436

    “Over the last several years, the Supreme Court has revolutionized modern criminal procedure by invoking the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial to strike down several sentencing innovations. This revolution has been led by members of the Supreme Court who follow an ‘originalist’ method of constitutional interpretation. Recent work by the legal historian Suja Thomas has raised the question whether a similar ‘originalist’ revolution may be on the horizon in civil cases governed by the Seventh Amendment’s right to a jury trial. In particular, Professor Thomas has argued that the summary judgment device is unconstitutional because it permits judges to resolve a set of cases – those where the sufficiency of a party’s evidence is in dispute – that could only be resolved by juries at the time the Seventh Amendment was ratified. In this Article, I argue that Professor Thomas’s historical findings are an insufficient basis from which an originalist might conclude that summary judgment is unconstitutional. In order to conclude that the Seventh Amendment requires juries to resolve cases where the sufficiency of a party’s evidence is in dispute, an originalist would need to know more about the jury trial in 1791 than the fact that juries had the exclusive power to resolve such disputes. Not everything that juries did in 1791 was understood to be unchangeable absent a constitutional amendment. In order to separate the things that juries did that were important to the Seventh Amendment from the things that they did that were not, one must assemble a frame of reference external to the jury practices themselves. This external frame of reference might be assembled from many places – a comparison of founding-era lexicons to the constitutional text, an examination of founding-era statements on the question, an assessment of the original purposes of the Seventh Amendment, etc. – but it has to be assembled from somewhere. Professor Thomas has not yet focused her energies here. As such, more work may need to be done before an originalist would conclude summary judgment is unconstitutional.”


  • Posted: 12/21/2010
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  • Category: Bench & Bar
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  • Source: ssrn.com

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