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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 [...]

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 [...]


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 [...]