Summary: What's New at the United States Supreme Court? Each week we bring you up to date coverage of the most recent cases and decisions before SCOTUS, discussing the Supreme Court's most recent grants and denials of certiorari, orders, opinions, oral arguments and constitutional jurisprudence. We also present in-depth special reports on the justices, important constitutional rights and the most controversial legal issues of our time (e.g. Abortion, Affirmative Action, Gay Rights, Women's Rights, Privacy, Campaign Finance, Same-Sex Marriage, Patent Law, Criminal Law and First Amendment Law). An essential podcast for any law school student or layperson interested in learning more about the Supreme Court and the United States Constitution.
On this episode we review the Court's opinion in Grady v. North Carolina, wherein the Court considers whether the state of North Carolina performs an unconstitutional search when it requires a citizen to wear a GPS monitoring ankle bracelet for the rest of his life based only on the citizen's status as a recidivist sex offender and where there is no finding that he is a threat to society.
On this episode we review the oral arguments in San Francisco v. Sheehan, which considers whether Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires law enforcement officers to provide accommodations to an armed, violent, and mentally ill suspect in the course of bringing the suspect into custody.
Do the messages and symbols on state-issued specialty license plates qualify as government speech immune from any requirement of viewpoint neutrality?
In this episode, we review the oral arguments in Ohio v. Clark. In all fifty States, certain individuals—most often, teachers, social workers, and medical professionals—have a mandatory duty to report suspected child abuse that they notice in the course of their work. In this case, the Ohio Supreme Court held both that this mandatory-reporting duty turned daycare teachers into “agents of the state for lawenforcement purposes” and that a child’s out-of-court statements to the teachers qualified as “testimonial” under the Confrontation Clause. It did so even though there was no police involvement in the encounter between the teachers and child. Several other state supreme courts, by contrast, have rejected arguments that these mandatory-reporting statutes turn an individual subject to them into “law enforcement,” and have held instead that a child’s statements to the individual were non-testimonial and thus not subject to the Confrontation Clause. The two questions presented are: 1. Does an individual’s obligation to report suspected child abuse make that individual an agent of law enforcement for purposes of the Confrontation Clause? 1. Do a child’s out-of-court statements to a teacher in response to the teacher’s concerns about potential child abuse qualify as “testimonial” statements subject to the Confrontation Clause?
On this episode we review the Court's oral arguments in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, which considers Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act makes it illegal for an employer “to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s * * * religion.” 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2(a)(1). “Religion” includes “all aspects of religious observance and practice” unless “an employer demonstrates that he is unable to reasonably accommodate” a religious observance or practice “without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business.” 42 U.S.C. 2000e( j). The question presented is whether an employer can be liable under Title VII for refusing to hire an applicant or discharging an employee based on a “religious observance and practice” only if the employer has actual knowledge that a religious accommodation was required and the employer’s actual knowledge resulted from direct, explicit notice from the applicant or employee.
On this episode, we consider the oral arguments this week in King v. Burwell, a controversial case that considers whether a provision of Obamacare that permits the IRS to offer tax credits to individuals who purchase health insurance through an “Exchange established by the State under section 1311" of the Affordable Care Act means that the IRS may not offer tax credits to those who purchased health insurance on exchanges managed by the Federal Government. The future of Obamacare may be at stake.
Whether a wife is entitled to challenge the refusal of a visa to her husband and to require the government to identify a specific reason for the refusal.
On this episode, we consider one of the more controversial cases the Court will decide this term: Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, a case which considers whether the Fair Housing Act permits claims based on arguments that a housing law, while not discriminatory on its face and which was not enacted with discriminatory intent, nevertheless, is having a discriminatory impact.
The Court has granted review to four new gay marriage cases. The cases will address two questions for review by the Court: 1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? and 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state? On this episode, we review the parties arguments and consider how the Court might address these questions.
Whether 18 U.S.C. § 2113(e), which provides a minimum sentence of ten years in prison and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for a bank robber who forces another person “to accompany him” during the robbery or while in flight, requires proof of more than a de minimis movement of the victim.
On this episode we review the Court's opinion in Heien v. North Carolina, which considered whether a police officer’s mistake of law can provide the individualized suspicion necessary to justify a traffic stop.
This week the Court heard six cases in oral arguments and granted review to three new cases. On this episode we dicsuss the following cases: Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans - Do the messages and symbols on state-issued specialty license plates qualify as government speech immune from any requirement of viewpoint neutrality? Brumfield v. Cain - Whether a state court that denies funding to an indigent petitioner who has no other means of obtaining evidence of his mental retardation has denied petitioner his “opportunity to be heard,” contrary to Atkins and Ford v. Wainwright, and his constitutional right to be provided with the “basic tools” for an adequate defense. Department of Transportation v. Association of American Railroads - Section 207 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 empowers Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to jointly develop performance measures to enhance enforcement of the statutory priority Amtrak’s passenger rail service has over other trains. The question presented is whether Section 207 effects an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to a private entity. Warger v. Shauers - Whether Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b) permits a party moving for a new trial based on juror dishonest during voir dire to introduce juror testimony about statements made during deliberations that tend to show the alleged dishonesty.
Are Facebook rants that direct threats at a specific person criminally actionable or does the First Amendment protect such expression? Should a pregnant woman who has been told by her doctor that she can no longer lift heavy boxes at work prevail in a lawsuit against her employer, UPS, who says that they only grant light duty assignments to those who are injured on the job or are disabled. Should a law that directs a minimum ten-year prison sentence for any bank robber who forces a hostage to accompany them be applied to a person who, after attempting to rob a bank, took refuge in the home of a senior citizen and asked them to move nine feet with them into another room of the home? We review the Court's oral arguments this week considering these questions.
Should a state be able to tax its residents income even if earned out of state and subject to out of state taxes without giving its residents a credit for the taxes they paid to other states? May the Alabama legislature classify voters based on race for redistricting purposes under the rationale that they are simply attempting to maintain the same demographics in their districts as existed prior to the results of a new census? We review the Court's oral arguments considering these questions.
May the federal government offer tax credits to cover health insurance premiums for those who buy health insurance on exchanges established by the federal government when a statute only permits such credits for insurance purchased on exchanges "established by the state?" Does the mere possession of a short-barreled shotgun constitute violent felony for the purpose of the Armed Career Criminal Act? May a federal air marshall be protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act for disclosing to media sources a July 2003 memo from the TSA discontinuing air marshals on flight from Las Vegas despite a credible threat of a plot to hijack U.S. airliners?