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U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court Takes Up Issue of Felons Being Forced to Give Up Guns

The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari yesterday on whether a Florida man convicted of drug crimes could be forced to give up his firearms, Reuters' Lawrence Hurley reports. Tony Henderson, a former Border Patrol agent, wanted to sell the guns or transfer ownership to his wife, but the lower courts have ruled that the federal ban on felons possessing firearms terminates all their ownership rights.

Divided #SCOTUS Lets Texas Voter ID Law Go into Effect

The U.S. Supreme Court, 6-3, has allowed Texas' new voter ID law to go into effect for next month's elections, The Huffington Post reports. In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the law could impose "'an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters.'"

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzalez Ramos found that the law was enacted with a racially discriminatory purpose, HuffPo also reports.

The majority's order was unsigned.


First Amendment Banned From Supreme Court's Plaza

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the First Amendment rights of protesters to convene at the funerals of soldiers and at abortion clinics, The New York Times' Adam Liptak notes in a Sidebar column. But the right of protest does not extend to the plaza outside the Supreme Court. The D.C. Circuit has heard arguments on whether the law banning protests on the plaza can comport with the First Amendment.

"People with power and connections can use the plaza" for commercial or professional filming or when attorneys and parties address the media on the plaza immediately after oral argument before the justices, Liptak writes. But ordinary protesters cannot.

Supreme Court's Mea Culpa On Same-Sex Marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected several appeals on Monday in cases in which judges have overturned various states' bans on same-sex marriage. That caused a spur of nuptials among happy same-sex couples until "Justice Anthony Kennedy mistakenly blocked the start of same-sex marriage in Nevada in an order that spawned confusion among state officials and disappointment in couples hoping to be wed." Now a court spokesperson says that order was a mistake, according to the Associatied Press: "Kennedy's order issued a day earlier was an error that the justice corrected with a second order several hours later."

#SCOTUS Appears Split on Paying Workers for Security Screening

During oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court today, the justices appeared split on whether having to go through an extensive screening after working in an Amazon warehouse is something workers should be paid for or is more akin to checking out at the end of one's shift, Tony Mauro, writing in Supreme Court Brief, reports. "Former Solicitor General Paul Clement, arguing his 75th case before the justices, asserted on behalf of the employer that 'the exit screenings are a logical part of the egress process' that does not require payment to workers," Mauro reports.

BREAKING: Supreme Court Won't Review Same-Sex Marriage

Breaking news from the Associated Press: the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected appeals from five states which had their bans on same-sex marriage overturned. The appeals are from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. The result? Same-sex marriage will be legal in 30 states and in the District of Columbia.

Supreme Court Takes Up Campaign Contribution Rules for Judges

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the case of a Florida judicial candidate who argues the state's ban on letting candidates for the bench directly seek campaign contributions violates her First Amendment rights, the Associated Press reports. "The Florida Supreme Court upheld the ban in May, saying it was justified because such conduct raises an appearance of impropriety and may lead the public to question a judge's impartiality," AP further reports. The candidate argues the law is meaningless because campaign committees can directly seek contributions.

This Supreme Court Term 'Could Define Legacy of Chief Justice'

Adam Liptak, writing in the New York Times, prognosticates that this term of the U.S. Supreme Court could define Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.'s legacy with possible cases about whether gay Americans have a constitutional right to marry and about federal subsidies to consumers who purchase health-care coverage through federally run insurance exchanges. "Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is entering his 10th term, and it is one that could define the legacy of the court he leads. Should the court establish a right to same-sex marriage, it would draw comparisons to the famously liberal court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, said David A. Strauss, a law professor at the University of Chicago," Liptak reports. The justices have not decided whether to take up cases involving same-sex marriage or Obamacare yet.

Prospective Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Looms Over Supreme Court Term

Robert Barnes, writing in the Washington Post, says the possibility of a landmark ruling for same-sex marriage and LGBT rights is looming large over the Supreme Court's upcoming term. A ruling in favor of same-sex marriage "could serve as a surprising legacy of an otherwise increasingly conservative court," Barnes notes. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who has authored the most important decisions in protecting the rights of LGBT Americans, likely would be the swing vote in that decision.

Barnes also notes that the court could take up challenges to state laws restricting access to abortion and challenges to the federal subsidies for consumers who bought health insurance on federally run Affordable Care Act exchanges.

Going to the Supreme Court? Half the Time, Just Five Firms May Represent You

A small, elite group of law firms is handling a larger portion of the U.S. Supreme Court's docket, Tony Mauro reports in The American Lawyer: "In the term that ended in June, the justices decided a meager 67 argued cases, less than half the caseload they handled in 1990. Three firms argued seven cases each, and two argued in six—meaning that just five firms fielded lawyers in half of the court's cases."

The firms that handled seven cases were Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Goldstein & Russell.

The firms that handled six cases were Bancroft and Sidley Austin.



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