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Jul 9, 2015

U.S. universities seek to delay lawsuits over Asian-American admissions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Harvard and the University of North Carolina (UNC) moved this week to delay lawsuits by a conservative group alleging that the schools unfairly limit the number of Asian-American students admitted.

The universities have cited last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to revisit a white student’s lawsuit against the University of Texas that claims consideration of an applicant’s race violates the Constitution. The schools say the lawsuits against them should be suspended until the Supreme Court rules on the Texas dispute, likely by June 2016.

Jun 29, 2015

Two U.S. jurists condemn death penalty in lethal-injection drama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Rancor over America’s use of capital punishment erupted at the U.S Supreme Court on Monday, the final day of its annual session, as four justices read dueling opinions aloud and two suggested the outright abolition of the death penalty.

Justice Stephen Breyer, speaking for himself and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, said the safeguards that accompanied the 1976 high-court reinstatement of the death penalty have failed. Breyer said more than 100 death row convicts had been exonerated in recent decades and some innocent people had been wrongly put to death.

Jun 26, 2015

Legal battles remain on U.S. gay rights despite momentous ruling

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court’s declaration
on Friday of a right to same-sex marriage resolved a momentous
question, yet the ruling left many others unanswered and is
likely to spark future legal battles over gay rights.

In America, the right to marry represents only one piece in
the evolving legal framework for gay civil rights.

Jun 25, 2015

Three years on, U.S. Chief Justice Roberts rescues Obamacare again

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The healthcare law conceived by President Barack Obama and passed by Congress was by no means perfect, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts said on Thursday. The law, for instance, had “three separate Section 1563s.”

“The Affordable Care Act contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting,” the country’s top jurist quipped as he announced the court’s ruling from the bench preserving the law.

Jun 22, 2015

At U.S. Supreme court, when justices take the bench, it’s story hour

By Joan Biskupic

(Reuters) – In these final days of the U.S. Supreme Court’s annual session, people can get the justices’ decisions through the court’s website, its paper handouts, or, if in the courtroom itself, with a suspenseful tale.

The justices read excerpts of their opinions from the tall mahogany bench. For some among the nine, these renditions rise to an art form, a compelling way to relate facts and explain the law. The recitations usually last about five minutes apiece but can reveal a justice’s personality, sense of humor, or, in a dissenting opinion, temper.

Jun 22, 2015

At U.S. top court, when justices take the bench, it’s story hour

By Joan Biskupic

(Reuters) – In these final days of the U.S. Supreme Court’s
annual session, people can get the justices’ decisions through
the court’s website, its paper handouts, or, if in the courtroom
itself, with a suspenseful tale.

The justices read excerpts of their opinions from the tall
mahogany bench. For some among the nine, these renditions rise
to an art form, a compelling way to relate facts and explain the
law. The recitations usually last about five minutes apiece but
can reveal a justice’s personality, sense of humor, or, in a
dissenting opinion, temper.

Jun 14, 2015

The voice of opposition past, Justice Kennedy may save Obamacare now

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Justice Anthony Kennedy was furious when a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama’s healthcare law. As he read the dissenting opinion from the bench three years ago, his anger was palpable. The majority regards its opinion “as judicial modesty,” he declared. “It is not. It amounts instead to a vast judicial over-reaching.”

That was Kennedy on June 28, 2012.

Now, as the country awaits a ruling in the second major challenge to Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, a question is whether the justice who was the voice of the opposition then could provide the critical fifth vote to uphold the law on the nine-justice court now.

Jun 8, 2015

Special Report: Behind Harvard case over Asian admissions, a broader agenda

BOSTON (Reuters) – In recent months, Harvard University has
come under attack in court for allegedly limiting the number of
Asian-American students it admits. A Reuters examination reveals
how the lawsuit brought in their name arose from a broader
goal: upending a nearly 40-year-old Supreme Court decision that
has primarily helped blacks and Hispanics.

A civil rights group representing African American and other
minority students has recently filed papers seeking to enter the
case, arguing they are the “real targets.” They say that if the
lawsuit succeeds, the consequences for blacks, Hispanics and
Native Americans would be “catastrophic,” and they cannot rely
on Harvard to represent their interests.

Apr 28, 2015

Tension between gay, religious rights plays out at top U.S. court

WASHINGTON, April 28 (Reuters) – If the U.S. Constitution
covers a right to same-sex marriage, conservative Supreme Court
justices asked on Tuesday, would clergy be exempted from
performing such marriages or religious colleges spared from
offering housing to gay couples?

Those questions during the court’s historic arguments on
whether to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide underscored the
ongoing clash between gay rights and religious liberties
occurring in America.

Apr 26, 2015

Top U.S. court appears on cusp of declaring right to gay marriage

WASHINGTON, April 26 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court’s
arguments on Tuesday over same-sex marriage will cap more than
two decades of litigation and a transformation in public
attitudes.

Based on the court’s actions during the past two years, a
sense of inevitability is in the air: That a majority is on the
verge of declaring gay marriage legal nationwide.

    • About Joan

      "Joan Biskupic is editor in charge, Legal Affairs, for Reuters. She has reported on the Supreme Court since 1989. Her new book is "Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice.""
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