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ACA’s Contraception Mandate

On the last day of the session, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. By a vote of 5-4, the justices ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) so-called “contraception mandate” violates Religious Freedom Restoration Act when applied to closely held corporations. The Facts of the Case The Court [...]

Riley-v-california

The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued its most important privacy decision in four decades. In Riley v. California, the majority held that police officers must obtain a warrant prior to searching a suspect’s cell phone during the course of an arrest. Factual History The Court’s opinion addressed two cases that raised similar Fourth Amendment concerns. [...]

Elonis v. United States: Supreme Court to Consider Online Threats

Threats of causing actual harm to someone has never been considered protected speech under the First Amendment.  The U.S. Supreme Court will now review online threats made on Facebook and Twitter, in  Elonis v. United States. The case involves a series of violent Facebook messages, which ultimately landed a Pennsylvania man in jail. The Facts [...]

Bond v. United States: Another Case of Constitutional Avoidance

The U.S. Supreme Court sidestepped the most complex issues in Bond v. United States in yet another case of constitutional avoidance. Rather than address the limits of the federal government’s power to implement international treaties, the Court ruled that the Chemical Weapons Convention simply did not apply. The Facts As many commentators have highlighted, the [...]

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to come to the aid of New York Times reporter James Risen. He is facing jail time after refusing to comply with a subpoena seeking the identity of a source used for his book, “State of War.” The government maintains that the source is Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA [...]

IQ Score

A divided Supreme Court has withdrawn some of the discretion it gave to the states to determine when an individual convicted of murder is too intellectually incapacitated to be executed. The five to four majority held that states cannot use a fixed IQ score as the measure for incapacity to be executed. Freddie Lee Hall [...]

Supreme Court Decides the “Raging Bull” Case

Raging Bull

The Supreme Court recently decided the case of Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. (MGM), involving the question of how to decide if a copyright case is brought in a timely manner. The Copyright Act sets forth a three-year statute of limitations, yet a literal interpretation could allow lawsuits brought several years after the relevant events occurred. [...]

EPA regulation

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld an EPA regulation that will delegate the duty to stop or at least reduce polluted air from blowing from one state into another. The 6-2 decision in Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation was a clear victory to those trying to reduce air pollution caused by power plants. [...]

Prayer before government meetings

The long-awaited ruling in The Town of Greece v. Galloway has finally arrived after seven years of litigation and six months after oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court. A 5 – 4 divided Court upheld the offering of prayer to open government meetings. The court focused on the history and tradition of legislative prayer [...]

search cellphone

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in two cases, Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie, both of which involve challenges to the search of an arrestee's cell phone without a warrant. Both California and the federal government argued that cellphones should be treated similar to an arrestee's wallet and fair game [...]