15 Stories

Obama Way Behind Bush, Clinton on Picking Judges

His federal court picks have generally been more moderate, too: NYT

(Newser) - In a deliberate strategy designed to save political capital, President Obama has nominated dozens fewer federal judges than either George W. Bush or Bill Clinton did in their first terms, potentially greatly reducing his long-term judicial impact on the United States, reports the New York Times . So far, Obama has... More »

Supreme Court's New Go-To Tool: the Dictionary

Justices citing definitions more and more in decisions

(Newser) - John Roberts may be the chief justice of the United States, but he recently pulled out a dictionary to learn the meaning of “of” for a ruling. Justices are looking more and more to dictionaries to help them settle cases—a trend that worries both legal experts and dictionary... More »

Justices Cite Free Speech in Animal Abuse Videos

They seem ready to strike down law

(Newser) - The Supreme Court seems likely to back an appellate court ruling that said depictions of animal cruelty are protected as free speech by the First Amendment. In arguments today, the justices considered the case of a man convicted of selling dogfighting videos under a 1999 law that equates videos of... More »

Quietly, O'Connor Fills In on Appellate Courts

(Newser) - Three years after retiring from the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O'Connor is still on the bench—in federal appellate courts across the country, where the high court's first woman justice has quietly been filling in as a substitute judge. O'Connor has heard nearly 80 cases and written more than a... More »

Sotomayor's a Rookie Again

(Newser) - After 17 years as a federal judge, Sotomayor knows her way around a courthouse. But her new workplace is filled with quirky customs and rituals and questions about how to fit in. When do you speak up? How do you find your way around a building torn apart by renovation?... More »

Dems Stoked Over GOP's Judiciary Pick

Accusations of racial insensitivity continue to dog Sessions

(Newser) - Democrats are hoping Arlen Specter’s replacement on the Senate Judiciary Committee, a white Southerner with a history of racial provocation, will help paint the Republican image into a corner, Politico reports. As the GOP’s chief questioner of President Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee, Jeff Sessions will “... More »

Ginsburg Wants Another Woman at High Court

Justice bemoans her male colleagues' 'lack of understanding'

(Newser) - Among the many people calling on Barack Obama to name a woman to fill his first Supreme Court vacancy, one voice stands out: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the sole female on the nation's highest bench. In a frank interview with USA Today, the justice says that some of her male colleagues... More »

Clarence Thomas Strays From Righty Line

Slams Bush team, backs consumer protection in recent case

(Newser) - Clarence Thomas might be the Supreme Court’s rightmost justice, but he’s “never been shy about breaking with conventional wisdom,” writes David G. Savage in the Los Angeles Times. In the latest such instance, he upheld injured patients’ right to sue drug companies, arguing that “agency... More »

Supreme Court Rules Against Utah Sect

Monument won't fly; public statues are 'government speech'

(Newser) - The Supreme Court today denied a Utah sect the right to erect a monument in a public park, settling a case that had serious implications for free speech and freedom of religion, the New York Times reports. Members of the Summum religion are free to espouse their beliefs in the... More »

Supreme Court Needs Term Limits: Legal Eagles

Urge end to lifelong terms, judges' case selection

(Newser) - The US judicial system is in need of a serious overhaul, law experts write in a letter to congressional leaders. They argue that Supreme Court justices shouldn’t keep their posts for life, instead taking 18-year terms before a shift in status, the Washington Post reports. Further, they say, the... More »

Justice Ginsburg Has Surgery for Pancreatic Cancer

Doctors remove cancerous tumor from Supreme Court's lone woman

(Newser) - Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent cancer surgery today, NPR reports. The court’s only current female jurist, 75, was to have a tumor removed from her pancreas at a hospital in New York. Ginsburg underwent successful treatment for colon cancer 10 years ago. Her pancreatic cancer was discovered... More »

Spry Justices May Forestall Obama Court Makeover

Aging Stevens, Ginsburg show no sign of retiring, defying conventional wisdom

(Newser) - One of the boons for the next president was thought to be the chance to appoint a justice or two to the Supreme Court. But though John Paul Stevens is 88 and Ruth Bader Ginsburg 75, neither has indicated an intention to retire. Ginsberg has twice demurred, saying Stevens, who... More »

McCain Would Tilt Split Court Right

Court now divided along political spectrum

(Newser) - America’s choice for president will likely ripple all the way to the halls of the sharply divided Supreme Court, the Washington Post reports. Since the next justice to retire is likely to be left-leaning, a Barack Obama victory would maintain the status quo of four conservatives, four liberals, and... More »

O'Connor's Imprint Fades

First female Supreme Court justice's legacy uncertain

(Newser) - Even as Sandra Day O’Connor public profile as an advocate for Alzheimer’s disease research grows, the legal imprint of the first woman Supreme Court justice is fading, USA Today reports. Since her departure, the Roberts court has shifted course on abortion and retreated from positions supported by her... More »

Calif. Court Considers Gay Marriage

Judges, who appear split, have 90 days to rule on ban

(Newser) - An overflow crowd and hundreds more outside a San Francisco courthouse listened yesterday as the California Supreme Court heard arguments on the state's gay marriage ban, the Los Angeles Times reports. The judges appeared split as lawyers argued for more than 3 1/2 hours. One judge asked if domestic partnership... More »

15 Stories