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 week’s show we discuss the following two cases: Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Florida (11–626) - A structure does not fall within the scope of Federal Maritime jurisdiction unless a reasonable observer, looking to the home’s physical characteristics and activities, would consider it designed to a practical degree for carrying people or things over water. Boyer v. Louisiana (11-9953) - Is a seven year delay caused by a lack of state funds available to pay attorneys to defend an indigent defendant in a capital case a violation of the 6th Amendment’s Speedy Trial Clause? The case documents are HERE (SupremeCourtReview.com)
On this week’s show we discuss the following three cases: Missouri v. McNeely (11-1425) - Does the exigent circumstances exception to the 4th Amendment's warrants requirement permit police to subject a suspected drunk driver to a blood test on the ground that the alcohol level in the suspect’s blood is dissipating with each passing second. Ryan v. Gonzales (10-930) and Tibbals v. Carter (11-218) - Federal law does not provide a state prisoner a right to suspension of his federal habeas proceedings when he is adjudged incompetent. Los Angeles County Flood Control Dist. v. Natural Resources Council, Inc. (11-460) - The flow of water from an improved portion of a navigable waterway into an unimproved portion of the same waterway does not qualify as a “discharge of a pollutant” under the Clean Water Act. The case documents are HERE
We discuss two cases granted review concerning the constitutionality of two anti-gay marriage laws. The cases are United States v. Windsor, which challenges a federal law - the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenges an amendment to the California State Constitution, enacted by Proposition 8, a ballot initiative. The case documents are HERE
This week the Court heard four cases in oral arguments, granted certiorari to two new case, issued a per curium opinion, granted, vacated and remanded an Obamacare challenge and Justices Breyer, Ginsburg and Sotomayor issued a dissenting statement regarding the Court's refusal to hear an insanity defense case. The grants of certiorari released today will be covered on next week's show. On this week's show we report on the following cases: Vance v. Ball State University Under Supreme Court precedent an employer is vicariously liable for severe or pervasive workplace harassment by a supervisor of the victim. If the harasser was the victim’s co-employee, however, the employer is not liable absent proof of negligence. This case asks whether a co-employee constitutes a "supervisor" if they are vested with the authority to direct and oversee their victim’s daily work but do not have the authority to hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer, or discipline their victim. Delling v. Idaho May states do away with insanity defenses in criminal trials without violating the Due Process Clause? Idaho does not permit a defendant to benefit from an insanity defense where he knew what he was doing, but had no capacity to understand that it was wrong. Liberty University v. Geithner Does Obamacare run afoul of the Free Exercise of Religion Clause in the Constitution by forcing religious institutions to participate in the healthcare insurance system even though some of its plan members might use funds to procure birth control, abortions, or other care that would violate the religious beliefs of the institution? Case documents are HERE
On Tuesday, the Court issued one opinion and issued statements regarding a stay of execution. Last week the Court granted review to four new cases. On this episode we review the following three cases: Maryland v. King (12-207) - Whether the Fourth Amendment permits the warrantless collection of DNA from those arrested for serious crimes solely for use in investigating other offenses for which there is no individualized suspicion. Shelby County v. Holder (12-96) - Whether Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which continues to single out states with a history of voter discrimination for special treatment, is still a valid exercise of Congress's 14th and 15th Amendment powers or is now obsolete. Peugh v. United States (12-62) - Whether a sentencing court violates the Ex Post Facto Clause by using the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines in effect at the time of sentencing rather than the Guidelines in effect at the time of the offense, if the newer Guidelines create a significant risk that the defendant will receive a longer sentence.
This week the Court heard six cases in oral arguments, issued its first opinion of the 2012 Term and did not grant certiorari to any new cases. On this program we discuss the following two cases: Lefemine v. Wideman (12-168) - Were anti-abortion protesters properly denied attorney's fees in their suit against police officers who prohibited them from displaying graphic pictures of aborted fetuses even though they were successful in obtaining a permanent injunction against the officers? Amgen Inc. v. Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds (11-1085) - Did a district court err in certifying a shareholder class based on the fraud-on-the-market theory without requiring proof that the purported misrepresentations that caused them to buy at an inflated price were material or was the district court correct that materiality is a merits issue not relevant at the certification stage? Case documents are HERE
Despite being closed on Tuesday due to hurricane Sandy, the Court this week heard six cases in oral arguments and granted certiorari to four new cases. We review the following cases: Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons - Does the first-sale doctrine (which permits the owner of a copyrighted work to resell or otherwise dispose of the copy without the copyright owner's permission) apply to copies made and legally acquired abroad and then imported into the United States for resale? Dog Sniff Cases - Do police need probable cause to use trained narcotics detection dogs outside a place to attempt to determine whether narcotics exist inside a place that police do not have probable cause to enter and is probable cause to enter established when a dog issues an alert to its handler signaling that it believes narcotics to be present? Clapper v. Amnesty Int'l USA - Do attorneys, journalists, and labor, legal, media, and human rights organizations have standing to challenge the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which authorize the government to collect certain international communications, some of which may include those of law abiding U.S. citizens and residents? PPL Corporation v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue - When considering the creditability of a foreign tax should courts employ a substance-based approach that considers factors such as the practical operation and intended effect of the foreign tax? McQuiggin v. Perkins - Is there an actual-innocence exception to the requirement that a petitioner show an extraordinary circumstance that “prevented timely filing” of a habeas petition? Case documents are HERE
MEMORABLE THOMAS OPINIONS (click to download) United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995) United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000) Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005) McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 3025 (2010) Elk Grove Unified School Dist. v. Newdow, 542 U.S. 1 (2004) Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña, 515 U.S. 200 (1995) Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003) Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder, 557 U.S. 193 (2009) Doe v. Reed, 130 S. Ct. 2811 (2010) Morse v. Frederick, 551 U.S. 393 (2007) Board of Education v. Earls, 536 U.S. 822 (2002) Safford Unified School District v. Redding, 08-479 (2009) Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, 08-1448 (2011) Virginia v. Black, 538 U.S. 343 (2003) Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003) Allied-Bruce Terminix Cos. v. Dobson, 513 U.S. 265 (1995) OTHER SOURCES Clarence Thomas, My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir (1st ed. 2007)
The Court granted certiorari to one new case this week. It did not issue any opinions or hear any cases in oral argument. On the week’s show we review the sole grant of certiorari this week in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, which considers whether an Arizona voter ID law is preempted by federal law. Case documents are HERE
What constitutes a critical mass of underrepresented minority students at higher education institutions and once achieved must such institutions discontinue their affirmative action programs? Does federal law require the deportation of a 24-year permanent legal resident for possessing 1.3 grams of marijuana (equivalent to the weight a half of a single penny)? May a state deny citizens of other states access to public records that it permits its own citizens to access? Case documents available HERE
The Court this week heard six cases in oral arguments and did not issue any opinion or grant review to any new cases. We review two cases heard in oral arguments this week and one case granted certiorari last week. Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum (Reargument) - a case in which native Nigerians living in the United States claim that the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, a parent company of the Shell Oil companies, committed violations of international law by subjecting their people to murder, torture, looting and other human rights violations. Under the U.S. Alien Tort Statute, foreign nationals can bring tort claims in U.S. courts - but until now, those claims have always been against individuals. The court will determine whether a corporation can be held liable for torts and human rights violations under the Alien Tort Statute. Missouri v. McNeely (Grant) - considers whether police may forgo a warrant under the exigent circumstances exception to the Fourth Amendment Warrant requirement when collecting a nonconsensual blood sample from a person they believe to be a drunk driver on the grounds that alcohol levels naturally dissipate in the bloodstream such that evidence of the crime is being destroyed with each passing second. Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Florida (Oral Argument) - considers whether a boat turned into a houseboat off the coast of Florida is subject to Federal Maritime jurisdiction. ORAL ARGUMENT TRANSCRIPTS AND AUDIO (click to download) Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. (10-1491) Audio Transcript Lozman v. Riviera Beach (11-626) Audio Transcript Kloeckner v. Solis (11-184) Audio Transcript United States v. Bormes (11-192) Audio Transcript Johnson v. Williams (11-465) Audio Transcript Arkansas Game and Fish Comm'n v. United States (11-597) Audio Transcript CERTIORARI GRANTED Gabelli v. Securities and Exchange Commission (11-1274) Levin v. United States (11-1351) Missouri v. McNeely (11-1425) Maracich v. Spears (12-25) Delia v. E.M.A. (12-98) Millbrook v. United States (11-10362)
As the Court prepares for the start of the 2012-2013 term on Monday, we prepare you for some of the more interesting issues the Court is expected to confront this term. AFFIRMATIVE ACTION (click to download lower court opinion) Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (11-345) GAY MARRIAGE (click to download lower court opinion) Gill v. Office of Personnel Management Perry v. Brown VOTING RIGHTS ACT (click to download lower court opinion) Texas v. Holder Shelby County v. Holder Nix v. Holder ENVIRONMENTAL TAKINGS (click to download lower court opinion) Arkansas Game & Fish Comm. v. United States (11-597)
DOWNLOAD BY DONATING $2 OR MORE HERE: (you will receive an email once your donation has been received with a link to download the file) (NOTE: you do not need to use this page to send your donation - any donation for $2 or more received by the Paypal account for email@example.com will be sent this special episode) MEMORABLE THOMAS OPINIONS (click to download) United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995) United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000) Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005) McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 3025 (2010) Elk Grove Unified School Dist. v. Newdow, 542 U.S. 1 (2004) Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña, 515 U.S. 200 (1995) Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003) Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder, 557 U.S. 193 (2009) Doe v. Reed, 130 S. Ct. 2811 (2010) Morse v. Frederick, 551 U.S. 393 (2007) Board of Education v. Earls, 536 U.S. 822 (2002) Safford Unified School District v. Redding, 08-479 (2009) Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, 08-1448 (2011) Virginia v. Black, 538 U.S. 343 (2003) Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003) Allied-Bruce Terminix Cos. v. Dobson, 513 U.S. 265 (1995) OTHER SOURCES Clarence Thomas, My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir (1st ed. 2007)
This week the Court issued five opinions, dismissed an argued case as improvidently granted and granted certiorari to ten cases. Among the decisions issued this week were some of the most controversial of the term. In this episode we review the following cases: Miller v. Alabama, wherein the Supreme Court decided that the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment prevents the application of mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole to juveniles. Arizona v. United States, wherein the Court determines whether an Arizona law that seeks to better enforce federal immigration laws in Arizona by enacting its own enforcement regime violated the supremacy clause by encroaching upon an area of the law in which the federal government is thought to have exclusive authority to legislate. United States v. Alvarez, wherein the Court considers the Stolen Valor Act, a federal statute that makes it a crime to lie about having received military medals of honor, including the Congressional Medal of Honor - the Court determines whether the Act constitutes an unconstitutional intrusion upon Free Speech. OPINIONS (click to download) Arizona v. United States (11-182) Miller v. Alabama (10-9646) American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock (11-1179) National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (11-393) United States v. Alvarez (11-210) DISMISSED AS IMPROVIDENTLY GRANTED First American Financial Corp. v. Edwards (10-708)
Supreme Podcast senior reporter Rod Ventura files a report on the media coverage and public interest concerning the Healthcare case and its outcome.