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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. The Facts [...]

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 [...]

Alabama Redistricting Plan

An Alabama voting rights case will once again take center stage at the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices recently agreed to consider two related cases involving how race was used to formulate Alabama redistricting plan. Last term, in Shelby v. Holder, the Court effectively struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires many [...]

What’s on Tap: Same-Sex Marriage Returns to Supreme Court

Same-Sex Marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court may finally address the Constitutional right to same-sex marriage when its next term begins in October. Petitions challenging state laws in Utah, Virginia, and Oklahoma await the justices’ consideration. If the justices agree to grant certiorari, same-sex marriage will become the defining issue for the Roberts Court. In 2013, the Court [...]

Guns Rights

While the U.S. Supreme Court has not issued a ground breaking gun rights case since District of Columbia v. Heller, it continues to refine the scope of Second Amendment protection. The Court’s October 2013 session was no exception. In Abramski v. United States, the Court considered whether a federal statute imposes criminal penalties on any [...]

McCullen v. Coakley

In McCullen v. Coakley, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Massachusetts law establishing “buffer zones” around reproductive health care facilities violates the First Amendment. The justices concluded that even though the restriction is content neutral, it is not "narrowly tailored" because it "burden[s] substantially more speech than is necessary to further the government's legitimate [...]

National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning

President Barak Obama exceeded the recess appointment power granted under the U.S. Constitution when he appointed three members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), according to the unanimous opinion of the Supreme Court. The decision marked the first time the justices had considered the often-used political tool in the Constitution’s 200-year history.  The Facts [...]

Lane v. Franks

The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued an important decision regarding the free speech rights of public employees. The unanimous First Amendment decision clarifies that employees are protected when providing court testimony about matters outside the scope of their ordinary job duties. The Facts of the Case Petitioner Edward Lane served as the Director of Community [...]