Joan's Feed
Jun 27, 2013

U.S. top court in no rush to grant national gay-marriage right

WASHINGTON, June 26 (Reuters) – When the U.S. Supreme Court
declined on Wednesday to rule on whether gay men and lesbians
have a fundamental right to marry, it delivered an implicit
message to those seeking such a right: Don’t hurry back.

All nine of the justices, with their votes and rhetoric in a
pair of cases, signaled they either would never be willing, or
are not ready yet, to cut off the unfolding state-by-state
legislative debate on gay marriage. The five-justice alliance
that came together in one case to extend federal benefits to
same-sex couples splintered in the other case to avoid facing a
larger test on the constitutional right.

Jun 26, 2013

Analysis: U.S. chief justice realizes longstanding vision in voting-rights case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – For an often enigmatic figure at the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts spoke to the essence of his legal philosophy on Tuesday in eliminating a voting-rights provision enacted to protect blacks and other minorities.

His opinion for the court marks the culmination of an effort by conservatives, many of whom, like Roberts, cut their teeth in the Ronald Reagan administration, to ensure that federal voting requirements on the states be limited and race-based rules fade in contemporary America.

Jun 24, 2013

Analysis – U.S. court takes small step to bridge ideological divide

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – It may never be clear what happened behind the scenes at the U.S. Supreme Court to yield Monday’s compromise decision upholding university affirmative action. The case was heard in October, the first month of the term, and as the months went by and the justices deliberated in secret, the suspense grew.

Would this conservative-dominated court end university affirmative action? Closely watching were supporters who emphasized that education remains a gateway to opportunity for long-excluded blacks and Hispanics, as well as critics who said racial policies are unfair and no longer required in multicultural America.

Jun 24, 2013

Analysis: Supreme Court takes small step to bridge ideological divide

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – It may never be clear what happened behind the scenes at the U.S. Supreme Court to yield Monday’s compromise decision upholding university affirmative action. The case was heard in October, the first month of the term, and as the months went by and the justices deliberated in secret, the suspense grew.

Would this conservative-dominated court end university affirmative action? Closely watching were supporters who emphasized that education remains a gateway to opportunity for long-excluded blacks and Hispanics, as well as critics who said racial policies are unfair and no longer required in multicultural America.

Jun 21, 2013

Analysis: At U.S. high court, high anxiety over big cases

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Chief Justice John Roberts clutched a sheaf of papers when he and his black-robed colleagues ascended the mahogany bench on Thursday for one of the last days of the U.S. Supreme Court term.

Was he ready to announce a ruling in any of the four most anticipated cases? Two involve same-sex marriage, one the 1965 Voting Rights Act and one a university’s use of race in admissions. As Justice Elena Kagan began reading the first of three opinions that would be issued, Roberts kept looking down at his papers, reading over them and rubbing his forehead, his jaw taut. That only heightened the tension for spectators.

Jun 18, 2013

Special Report: For top U.S. lawyers, case in Guam is rare prize

HAGATNA, Guam (Reuters) – Steven Levin lives alone on a boat docked off the coast of the Pacific island of Guam, about as far away from the U.S. mainland as an American resident can get. He has no wife or kids, no job, no phone or Internet service.

But last year, the itinerant 64-year-old had something of great value to elite lawyers half a world away: a case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Within hours after the justices announced that they would hear it, attorneys at some of the nation’s most prestigious law firms began pitching their services to Levin, offering to represent him for free.

Jun 18, 2013

For top U.S. lawyers, case in Guam is rare prize

HAGATNA, Guam, June 18 (Reuters) – Steven Levin lives alone
on a boat docked off the coast of the Pacific island of Guam,
about as far away from the U.S. mainland as an American resident
can get. He has no wife or kids, no job, no phone or Internet
service.

But last year, the itinerant 64-year-old had something of
great value to elite lawyers half a world away: a case that
reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Within hours after the justices
announced that they would hear it, attorneys at some of the
nation’s most prestigious law firms began pitching their
services to Levin, offering to represent him for free.

Jun 13, 2013

Analysis – U.S. top court’s gay marriage ruling won’t be last word

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Whatever the U.S. Supreme Court decides this month, gay marriage appears destined to face several more years of legal debate and at least one more round of argument at the high court.

That’s because a majority of the court’s nine justices, based on their record and comments during March’s oral arguments, are unlikely to proclaim a national right to same-sex marriage in the pending cases, and momentum for it in the states may soon slow as the battleground moves beyond the Northeast. Any right to gay marriage will come only if the Supreme Court declares it, probably years from now if it should happen.

Jun 13, 2013

Analysis: Top court’s gay marriage ruling won’t be last word

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Whatever the U.S. Supreme Court decides this month, gay marriage appears destined to face several more years of legal debate and at least one more round of argument at the high court.

That’s because a majority of the court’s nine justices, based on their record and comments during March’s oral arguments, are unlikely to proclaim a national right to same-sex marriage in the pending cases, and momentum for it in the states may soon slow as the battleground moves beyond the Northeast. Any right to gay marriage will come only if the Supreme Court declares it, probably years from now if it should happen.

Jun 3, 2013

Analysis: With trademark vigor, Justice Scalia dissents in DNA case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Justice Antonin Scalia can seem among the most predictable of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, voting conservative and regularly siding with law enforcement over individuals. But then comes an exception like Monday, when Scalia launched a fiery dissent from the bench to a decision permitting police to take DNA swabs from people arrested.

The nine justices divided 5-4 in one of the most closely watched criminal disputes of the term, declaring that the collection of DNA does not violate the U.S. Constitution’s protection against unreasonable searches.