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"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, [...]

Israeli Passport Controversey

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide an important U.S. foreign relations case next term. Zivotofsky v. Kerry involves whether the power to recognize foreign states and governments is exclusive to the President; or, as in this case, Congress also has the power to determine whether Jerusalem is considered part of Israel. In 2002, [...]

Fourth Amendment

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider an important Fourth Amendment case involving a police officer’s mistake of law. Given that law enforcement is not infallible, the decision in Heien v. North Carolina could have significant consequences. Maynor Javier Vasquez was driving along a North Carolina Highway when he was stopped by police. His [...]

Plumhoff v. Rickard

In Plumhoff v. Rickard, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed what type of law enforcement conduct rises to the level of “excessive force in violation of the Constitution. The 2014 decision may play a role in whether the Ferguson, Missouri police officer that shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown is ultimately prosecuted and convicted. Following [...]

De Jonge v. Oregon: The Right to Peaceable Assemble

De Jonge v. Oregon: The Right to Peaceable Assemble

In De Jonge v. Oregon, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that the right to peaceable assembly is equally as important as the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. The decision also highlights that the right to engage in political discussion must be protected even when the government disagrees with the message. Under [...]