I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the role clerks play and how they influence the way cases are accepted and decided. Obviously they play a huge role in Cert. Pool (which Justices Stevens and Alito forgo) as well as writing the opinions once they are ready to be distributed. In today’s order’s list (here), [...]

The Supreme Court yesterday heard arguments in Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, a case revolving around Navy sonar exercises off the coast of California and their potential impact on the environment. Justices on both sides of the normal ideological division seemed unpersuaded by the NRDC. Justice Breyer at one time asked, I will express [...]

Apparently I’m late on this, but Adam Liptak at the New York Times reports that Justice Alito has opted out of the Cert. Pool. The Cert. Pool is a system in which Justices pool together their clerks to review cert petitions more efficiently. One clerk will review petitions and draft a memo that is circulated [...]

The Court convened Monday to begin the new term and first heard oral arguments in Altria Group v. Good. The case revolves around whether or not federal labeling regulations on the use of ‘light’ or ‘low-tar’ cigarettes preempts state deceptive advertising claims. Theodore Olsen opened arguments on the day on behalf of the tobacco companies [...]

The Court last week decided to end months of speculation in Louisiana v. Kennedy when it struck down a motion for rehearing and simply issued a revised opinion. The move is not unprecedented but it is extremely unusual and done only in very specific circumstances. The modified opinion can be found here. Justice Kennedy wrote [...]

Earlier tonight, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama joined Pastor Rick Warren at his California megachurch for an event pegged as “The Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency.” The interviews, each an hour in length, were separated by thirty-six tense seconds in which the presumptive nominees shared the stage (and an awkward hug [video here!]). [...]

First, Davis v. FEC came down against the “Millionaire’s Amendment.” Alito read from his majority opinion. Not terribly surprising, but almost certainly an interesting read. Interestingly enough, the Court took down disclosure requirements and contribution limits. Contribution limits went down for not being equally applied across the board and “disclosure requirements, which were designed to [...]

The Supreme Court today handed down a series opinions on the penultimate day of the term. Major thanks should go to SCOTUSblog for getting these opinions online minutes after the Court announces them. I’ll eventually change the links to redirect to the Supreme Court’s website, but thanks go to SCOTUSblog for letting us read the [...]

US v. Williams (opinion) stole the spotlight amongst last week’s decided cases and for good reason. The court narrowed scope of the PROTECT Act and upheld its basic tenants against first amendment claims. Another case, US v. Ressam, struck me as being particularly interesting. The facts of Ressam (opinion) aren’t terribly complex. Ahmed Ressam tried [...]

The Supreme Court handed down one of the most high-profile decisions of its term, the lethal injection case Baze v. Rees. The Court upheld Kentucky’s use of the execution method, holding that “that petitioners have not shown that the risk of an inadequate dose of the first drug is substantial.” Chief Justice Roberts wrote the [...]



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