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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.

Dec 18, 2013

Analysis – 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.

Nov 15, 2013

Anlaysis: In Texas courtroom, a battle resumes over race

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Last June the U.S. Supreme Court faced a question it has wrestled with repeatedly for more than a generation: When may universities consider a student’s race in making admissions decisions?

The justices did not provide an answer. Instead they returned the case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, to the lower court that had previously upheld a University of Texas affirmative action program. They instructed it to rule on whether the university had adequately considered other methods that did not use race, such as those more focused on family income, in its efforts to diversify the student body.

Nov 7, 2013

Analysis: At Supreme Court hearing, passions over religion and its rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When the U.S. Supreme Court talks about religion, all hell breaks loose.

A dispute over an upstate New York town’s prayer before council meetings produced an unusually testy oral-argument session on Wednesday that recalled the decades of difficulty Supreme Court justices have had drawing the line between church and state.

Nov 7, 2013

Analysis – At U.S. high court hearing, passions over religion and its rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When the U.S. Supreme Court talks about religion, all hell breaks loose.

A dispute over an upstate New York town’s prayer before council meetings produced an unusually testy oral-argument session on Wednesday that recalled the decades of difficulty Supreme Court justices have had drawing the line between church and state.

Oct 31, 2013

Housing case before U.S. justices close to settlement: lawyer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A case before the Supreme Court that could limit housing discrimination claims is close to a settlement, potentially removing an opportunity for the justices to rule on the matter.

Carter Phillips, a Washington lawyer for Mount Holly, New Jersey, one of the parties in the case watched by the insurance and banking community, said on Thursday that an agreement appeared close but was not confirmed. Both sides have been working for months on a settlement.

Oct 16, 2013

In U.S. top court race case, John Roberts is chief phrasemaker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As U.S. chief justice, John Roberts has sought to rein in laws he insists have gone too far on race. At the Supreme Court on Tuesday, he matched rhetoric to action with a pithiness that underscores his opposition to racial preferences.

The court heard a challenge to a Michigan ban on race-based “preferential treatment” in education admissions – a ban that Roberts appeared to support in his questioning of lawyers who argued the case.

Oct 14, 2013

U.S. justices to hear race case; one side has two voices

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday will delve into a decades-old debate over university admissions policies that favor racial minorities, hearing a Michigan case that picks up where the justices left off last session in a dispute from the University of Texas.

Unlike the Texas case that tested a specific affirmative action practice, this new dilemma revolves around a broad state constitutional amendment.

Oct 14, 2013

Analysis – U.S. justices to hear race case; one side has two voices

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday will delve into a decades-old debate over university admissions policies that favour racial minorities, hearing a Michigan case that picks up where the justices left off last session in a dispute from the University of Texas.

Unlike the Texas case that tested a specific affirmative action practice, this new dilemma revolves around a broad state constitutional amendment.

Oct 9, 2013

Analysis – Kagan, now in a robe, argues again for campaign finance limits

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The last time the U.S. Supreme Court heard a major campaign finance dispute, then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan stood at the lectern making the government’s case to the justices. On Tuesday she was on the bench, nearly as forceful, her sharp questions setting the tone for a defence of limits on political contributions and drawing caustic retorts from opposing justices.

Kagan, who argued the groundbreaking Citizens United case in September 2009 and then joined the nine-member court in August 2010, departed from her usual practice of waiting to jump into the give-and-take. Within the first five minutes of the hour-long session she began firing off worst-case scenarios at lawyers representing the latest challengers to federal campaign finance law.

    • 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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