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Presidents from George Washington to Barak Obama have issued executive orders to help facilitate the management of the country. Because such actions are often not expressly authorized by statute, but rather derived from the President’s executive power under the U.S. Constitution, they are subject to legal challenge. In Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer, [...]

Yates V. United States

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in Yates v. United States. The case involves a Florida fisherman who was convicted of violating the Sarbanes-Oxley Act when he destroyed several dozen undersized fish. The specific issue before the justices is whether the anti-shredding provision of the corporate responsibility law is limited to the destruction [...]

Zemel v. Rusk: Supreme Court Upholds Travel Restrictions

Zemel v. Rusk: Supreme Court Upholds Travel Restrictions

The Ebola scare has raised questions regarding the legal authority of the United States government to institute travel bans from countries in West Africa. In Zemel v. Rusk, the U.S. Supreme Court held that travel restrictions, if made in a non-discriminatory manner, are constitutional when implemented in the interests of national security. Prior to 1961, [...]

Purcell v. Gonzalez

After a federal judge the concluded the Texas voter identification law placed an unconstitutional burden on the rights of minority voters, the U.S. Supreme Court inexplicably issued an emergency order giving it the green light. While the justices may ultimately strike down the law, it appears the majority believed their hands were tied when it [...]

"Ebola virus particles" by Thomas W. Geisbert, Boston University School of Medicine - PLoS Pathogens, November 2008 direct link to the image description page doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000225. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ebola_virus_particles.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Ebola_virus_particles.jpg

New York and New Jersey are currently imposing mandatory quarantines to stop the spread of Ebola. The U.S. Supreme first recognized the authority of the states to exercise their police power to protect the public health in 1905. The case, Jacobson v. Massachusetts, remains the leading authority on the scope of government authority to enforce [...]

Republican River

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in Kansas v. Nebraska and Colorado, which involves a tri-state dispute over water rights to the Republican River. While the subject matter of the suit largely boils down to a very high-profile breach of contract, the case is unique because it invokes the Court’s original jurisdiction. Most [...]

Vacco v. Quill: The Right to Die and the U.S. Constitution

Vacco v. Quill

The planned death of a 29-year-old California woman with brain cancer has placed the legality of “death with dignity” laws back in the spotlight. Brittany Maynard, who moved to Oregon where physician assisted suicide is legal, is using her remaining days to voice her support for the ability of terminally ill patients to decide when [...]

Redistricting

The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to take on Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, which involves a legal challenge to Arizona’s method of redrawing Congressional districts every ten years. The Court’s ruling could impact efforts to remove partisan politics from the process. In 2000, Arizona voters approved an amendment to the state [...]

Arizona Church

Religion is set to reclaim center stage when the U.S. Supreme Court’s new term begins this fall. One of the cases to watch is Reed v. Town of Gilbert. The case involves whether an Arizona town’s sign ordinance violates the First Amendment by restricting the ability of a local church to promote its services. The [...]

Loving v. Virginia: The Court’s Last Key Marriage Decision

Loving v. Virginia

As momentum builds for the U.S Supreme Court to address the legality of same-sex marriage bans, it is fitting to discuss the Court’s 1966 decision in Loving v. Virginia. By a unanimous vote, the justices struck down a Virginia law prohibiting interracial marriage as unconstitutional. In June of 1958, two residents of Virginia, Mildred Jeter, [...]