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Mar 4, 2015

Roberts, Obamacare’s savior in 2012, seems inscrutable this time

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, who cast the decisive vote in 2012 to beat back the first major challenge to President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, kept his cards close on Wednesday.

And the man who occupies the center chair on the Supreme Court’s mahogany bench and often dominates arguments seemed to remain deliberately inscrutable.

Feb 20, 2015

For Obamacare challengers, a Supreme Court case built for speed

WASHINGTON, Feb 20 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court case
that could shatter President Barack Obama’s healthcare law this
year was launched as a backup plan by a libertarian group and a
powerful Washington lawyer frustrated by the slow progress of
their original lawsuit.

Their success in persuading the court to take the
ideologically driven case owes to a combination of canny legal
tactics and the willingness of at least four justices to hear it
in unusually swift time. Oral arguments are set for March 4.

Dec 8, 2014

Special Report: At U.S. court of last resort, handful of lawyers dominate docket

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The marble façade of the U.S. Supreme Court building proclaims a high ideal: “Equal Justice Under Law.”

But inside, an elite cadre of lawyers has emerged as first among equals, giving their clients a disproportionate chance to influence the law of the land.

Oct 6, 2014

Why no gay marriage cases? U.S. top court, Kennedy hard to predict

WASHINGTON, Oct 6 (Reuters) – Last summer, when asked how
the U.S. Supreme Court might resolve the same-sex marriage
dilemma, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg emphasized the potentially
important yet unknown views of swing vote Justice Anthony
Kennedy.

The court’s senior liberal told Reuters in an interview that
she would not hazard a prediction.

Oct 5, 2014
via The Great Debate

Sonia Sotomayor v. tradition: Can charisma move the court?

Photo

The party celebrating the end of the Supreme Court’s annual term is an exclusive affair. Festivities are staged in two majestic rooms, facing each other across a red-carpeted hallway. Formal portraits of the nation’s chief justices, all men, line the oak-paneled walls. Crystal chandeliers hang from the gilded ceiling. In one elegant room, silver trays filled with food and drink are laid out on white linen-covered tables. A grand piano sits in the room across the hall, where the entertainment takes place. Each year, the law clerks’ write and present musical parodies.

In June 2010, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a Bronx-born Puerto Rican, was about to attend her first such party. The nation’s first Hispanic justice had joined the Supreme Court the previous August, a 2009 appointee of the nation’s first African-American president.

Aug 1, 2014

Q&A: U.S. Justice Ginsburg on Hobby Lobby, gay marriage, retirement

By Joan Biskupic

WASHINGTON D.C. (Reuters) – In an interview with Reuters late on Thursday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 81, was not just defiant about calls for her retirement. A former women’s rights advocate appointed to the court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, Ginsburg also had plenty to say about how the Court’s controversial Hobby Lobby decision highlighted a gender gap among her fellow justices, why gay marriage will continue to face court challenges, and why a woman might not be her ideal successor. Excerpts:

THE GENDER GAP

Q: The Court issued a string of decisions this term that might hurt women, and you’ve complained specifically about the Hobby Lobby case that said for-profit employers can cite religious reasons to opt out of birth control coverage under federal law. Do you think the majority is going backwards, even though there are now three female justices?

Aug 1, 2014

U.S. Justice Ginsburg hits back at liberals who want her to retire

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has a message for liberals who have been saying the 81-year-old should step down while Democratic President Barack Obama is in office so he can appoint her successor: Who are you going to get who will be better than me?

Referring to the political polarization in Washington and the unlikelihood that another liberal in her mold could be confirmed by the Senate, Ginsburg, the senior liberal on the nine-member bench, asked rhetorically, “So tell me who the president could have nominated this spring that you would rather see on the court than me?”

Jul 20, 2014

In U.S. gay marriage cases, children emerge in the limelight

WASHINGTON, July 20 (Reuters) – With legal battles over gay
marriage simmering across the United States, proponents are
showcasing a group they had once sidelined: children.

Lawyers are recruiting same-sex couples who have children,
putting interviews with kids as young as seven in court filings,
and organizing media events featuring teenagers. In May, for
example, after a Virginia federal appeals court hearing,
16-year-old Emily Schall-Townley told a televised news
conference: “These are my two moms. And this is my family.”

Jun 30, 2014

Analysis – Fault lines re-emerge in U.S. Supreme Court at end of term

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sometimes there is no middle ground.

Through much of the U.S. Supreme Court’s term, the nine justices found common if narrow ground to bridge their differences. Many of their high-profile decisions avoided the polarization that defines Washington today. That all changed on Monday, the last day of the nine-month term, with the re-emergence of a familiar 5-4 fault line in a dispute over a U.S. law requiring employers to provide insurance for contraceptives.

For 30 minutes Justice Samuel Alito, a conservative who wrote the majority opinion, and liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who wrote the lead dissent, voiced their competing views of the meaning for America of the decision permitting some corporate employers to object on religious grounds to certain kinds of birth control.

Jun 30, 2014

Fault lines re-emerge in U.S. Supreme Court at end of term

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sometimes there is no middle ground.

Through much of the U.S. Supreme Court’s term, the nine justices found common if narrow ground to bridge their differences. Many of their high-profile decisions avoided the polarization that defines Washington today. That all changed on Monday, the last day of the nine-month term, with the re-emergence of a familiar 5-4 fault line in a dispute over a U.S. law requiring employers to provide insurance for contraceptives.

For 30 minutes Justice Samuel Alito, a conservative who wrote the majority opinion, and liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who wrote the lead dissent, voiced their competing views of the meaning for America of the decision permitting some corporate employers to object on religious grounds to certain kinds of birth control.

    • 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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