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Jun 10, 2014

Insight – U.S. law firms flock to gay-marriage proponents, shun other side

By Joan Biskupic

(Reuters) – As U.S. lawsuits seeking gay-marriage rights move toward a likely showdown at the Supreme Court next year, major law firms are rushing to get involved — but only on the side of the proponents.

A Reuters review of more than 100 court filings during the past year shows that at least 30 of the country’s largest firms are representing challengers to state laws banning same-sex marriage. Not a single member of the Am Law 200, a commonly used ranking of the largest U.S. firms by revenue, is defending gay marriage prohibitions.

Apr 29, 2014

Strange benchfellows, Ginsburg and Scalia star in U.S. courtroom drama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – For more than 30 years, liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg and conservative Antonin Scalia have been the odd couple of top U.S. courts, the closest of personal friends and fiercest of judicial foes. On Tuesday their differences played out vividly in a Supreme Court decision over the regulation of air pollution.

In dueling renditions that together lasted about 20 minutes, the two eldest justices on the Supreme Court bench staked out distinct positions on regulatory power.

Apr 22, 2014

Voice of first U.S. Hispanic justice heard in major race case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The first Hispanic Supreme Court justice has been on the bench for nearly five years but had never written an opinion addressing race in America until today.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a sharply worded 58-page dissent on Tuesday to the court’s 18-page decision upholding a Michigan state ban on race-based affirmative action in education.

Apr 22, 2014

Supreme Court hears challenge to ban on ‘false’ campaign speech

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Supreme Court justices across the ideological spectrum voiced doubts on Tuesday about a state law that prohibits false statements during a political campaign.

The Ohio law allows candidates and other citizens to file a complaint for allegedly false slogans, prompting a state election commission hearing and public scrutiny of advocacy groups’ or individuals’ claims in the middle of a campaign.

Apr 10, 2014

U.S. legal fight over same-sex marriages enters new round

DENVER (Reuters) – The battle over same-sex marriage in the United States enters a new legal front on Thursday when a federal appeals court hears oral arguments on a Utah state law forbidding gays and lesbians from marrying.

The hearing in an ornate century-old building in Denver, Colorado, is the first at a regional U.S. appeals court since a Supreme Court ruling last June forced the federal government to extend benefits to same-sex married couples in states where gay marriage is legal.

Apr 9, 2014

Two moms, a baby and a legal first for U.S. gay marriage

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) – Last month a baby in Tennessee made history: Emilia Maria Jesty was the first child born in the state to have a woman listed on the birth certificate as her “father.”

The marital status of the baby’s parents was the subject of a flurry of court filings up to a few days before her birth. Valeria Tanco and Sophy Jesty were wed in New York, a state that recognizes gay marriage, and moved to Tennessee, which does not.

Mar 25, 2014

Abortion fight haunts U.S. top court hearing on healthcare law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Supreme Court arguments over federal healthcare policy were nearly finished on Tuesday when Justice Anthony Kennedy challenged Obama administration lawyer Donald Verrilli on abortion rights.

“Under your view, a profit corporation … could be forced in principle to pay for abortions,” said Kennedy, often the deciding vote on the nine-member court.

Feb 27, 2014

Unauthorized video of U.S. Supreme Court protest posted online

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – For the first time, video footage of U.S. Supreme Court proceedings has been recorded and posted online.

The Supreme Court has always barred any type of cameras, including news media, from recording proceedings.

Jan 12, 2014

Analysis: Weighing power among branches, U.S. court could tip against president

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When a prominent U.S. appeals court last year slashed President Obama’s power to appoint government officials, many legal experts said the Supreme Court would be unlikely to let that surprising decision stand.

But that view may underestimate the allure of the lower court’s reasoning to the dominant, conservative wing of the high court, which takes up the case Monday.

Dec 18, 2013

U.S. surveillance case: Tech may clash with 18th Century right

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A judge’s bid this week to stop the U.S. government from collecting Americans’ phone records raises a question that the U.S. Supreme Court has confronted before: at what point should modern technology force judges to revisit legal precedents?

Technological advancements from the automobile to the Global Positioning System (GPS) have tested the justices over the years as they tried to figure out how to apply to modern circumstances an 18th Century guarantee in the U.S. Constitution against unreasonable searches.

    • 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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