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The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that absent reasonable suspicion, police extension of a traffic stop in order to conduct a dog sniff violates the Constitution’s prohibition of unreasonable seizures.

The decision in Rodriguez v. United States reflects the Court’s growing trend of strengthening Fourth Amendment search and seizure protections. Officer Struble pulled over Denny Rodriguez for driving on a highway shoulder, a violation of Nebraska law. After Struble attended to everything relating to the stop, including checking the driver’s licenses of Rodriguez and his [...]

Fourth Amendment and Technology: Can They Co-Exist?

The decision in Torrey Dale Grady v. North Carolina builds on the Court’s prior decisions regarding the relationship between the Fourth Amendment and technology.

The decision in Torrey Dale Grady v. North Carolina builds on the Court’s prior decisions regarding the relationship between the Fourth Amendment and technology. The Facts of the Case Torrey Dale Grady was convicted of two sexual crimes in North Carolina. After serving his sentence for the second crime, the state wanted subject him to [...]

America’s First Privacy Case: Meyer v. State of Nebraska

In Meyer v. State of Nebraska, the Supreme Court struck down a law that prohibited foreign languages from being taught until the ninth grade. The 1923 decision paved the way for a number of more memorable privacy decisions, including Griswold v. Connecticut, Roe v. Wade, and Lawrence v. Texas. In 1919, the state of Nebraska [...]

When Does Redistricting Violate the Voting Rights Act?

The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued its much-anticipated decision in Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama and Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama, which addressed whether the state of Alabama engaged in racial gerrymandering during its latest round of redistricting.

Given that the Court sent the case back to the federal court, it is still unclear whether the state’s redistricting plan will stand. However, at least one justice predicts that the majority decision will have a significant impact on voting rights jurisprudence. The Facts of the Case As detailed in greater depth in our case [...]

The U.S. Supreme Court gave online retailers a significant victory in the Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl case,when it held that the Tax Injunction Act (TIA) does not prohibit them from challenging a Colorado sales tax scheme that requires out-of-state retailers to collect and report information about consumer purchases.

It is unclear, however, how long the ruling in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl will stand. In a concurring opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy expressly called on the Court to overturn Quill v. North Dakota, in which the justices previously held that state laws requiring retailers that do not have a physical presence in the state [...]

Grand Jury Power in Death Penalty Cases

death-penalty

The criminal law case raises interesting questions with regard a defendant’s rights under both the Sixth and Eighth Amendments. The Facts of the Case In 1998, Timothy Hurst was convicted of the first-degree murder of Cynthia Harrison, a fellow employee at Popeye’s Restaurant. By a vote of 7-5, a sentencing jury later voted that Hurst [...]

SOX Conviction for Violating Sarbanes-Oxley Act Overturned

The U.S. Supreme Court recently held that a Florida fisherman did not violate the Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s anti-shredding provision when he tossed undersize fish overboard in order avoid a fine from wildlife officials.

Much like its decision last year in Bond v. United States, the Court appears to be sending a message about over prosecution in regards to violating the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The Facts of the Case On August 23, 2007, John Yates was commercial fishing off of Florida’s Gulf Coast the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission [...]

The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced that it would release audio recordings of the upcoming same-sex marriage hearing on the same day. Oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges are scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on April 28, 2015.

Lawyers for both sides will have a total of 90 minutes to address whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex. The remaining hour will be devoted to oral arguments whether states must recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. The decision to provide same-day audio comes [...]

Later this term, U.S. Supreme Court will consider its first death penalty case since 2007. The issue in Glossip v. Gross is whether a new sedative used in lethal injections violates the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The drug at use, in the Glossip v. Gross case — midazolam — was used in several bungled executions, including one widely publicized incident in which the prisoner began speak and move around after being declared unconscious. The Facts of the Case The state of Oklahoma uses three drugs in its lethal injection executions, all [...]

Railroad Commission vs Pullman Co.: The Abstention Doctrine

His arguments in part rest on the abstention doctrine set forth in Railroad Commission vs Pullman Co., 312 U.S. 496 (1941).

His arguments in part rest on the abstention doctrine set forth in Railroad Commission vs Pullman Co., 312 U.S. 496 (1941). In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court held that if a state court can readily resolve an issue based on state law, a federal court should not intervene. The Facts of the Case The [...]