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Apr 16, 2015

As U.S. gay-marriage battle looms, attorneys fight over fees

WASHINGTON, April 16 (Reuters) – As a historic
constitutional showdown over gay marriage looms this month at
the U.S. Supreme Court, attorneys are fighting over another
bitterly disputed issue: their fees.

The battles over billables are erupting far from the
Washington, D.C., limelight, in lower courts from West Virginia
to Wisconsin and Oklahoma. They pit lawyers representing gay
couples who challenged same-sex marriage bans against the states
that had enacted the laws.

Mar 31, 2015

Prominent gay rights advocate to argue landmark U.S. marriage case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lawyers advocating for a right to gay marriage at the U.S. Supreme Court announced on Tuesday they had chosen Mary Bonauto, a longtime champion of gay legal rights, to argue the landmark case on April 28.

The choice of Bonauto, a litigator with the Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and an architect of legal strategy for gay unions since the early 1990s, was made after weeks of jockeying by lawyers and negotiations among challengers to bans on gay marriage in four states.

Mar 31, 2015

U.S. gay rights advocates near decision on top lawyers for landmark case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Less than a month before the U.S.
Supreme Court hears their historic case, lawyers for gay couples
from four states with bans on same-sex marriage are close to
finally resolving which of them will argue before the justices.

Intense negotiations peaked in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on
Sunday when contenders involved met for the legal equivalent of
a bakeoff, and sources close to the talks said an announcement
was likely to come on Tuesday.

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

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?


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:


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?”

    • 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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