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Feb 24, 2013

Justices poised to query voting rights focus on South

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When the Supreme Court last scrutinized the 1965 Voting Rights Act in 2009, Justice Anthony Kennedy peered down from the bench and asked why federal rules were tougher for Alabama and Georgia than for Michigan and Ohio.

Chief Justice John Roberts pointedly added that it seemed lawyers defending the rules, which were created to protect black voters, believed that even in modern times “southerners are more likely to discriminate than northerners.”

Jan 27, 2013

Insight: Lawyers in U.S. gay marriage cases aim pitches at Obama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – On separate occasions in recent days, lawyers on opposite sides of a U.S. Supreme Court fight over same-sex marriage took an elevator to the fifth floor of the Department of Justice, entered a large conference room and made a pitch to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli and other top Obama administration lawyers.

Each side wants the administration’s support in a late-March showdown on the fundamental rights of gay men and lesbians.

Dec 7, 2012

Factbox: Major U.S. Supreme Court decisions on gay rights

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The two gay marriage cases the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear on Friday begin a new chapter in its review of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

It has been nearly a decade since the court last took up a gay rights dispute. That 2003 case from Texas, along with the court’s two earlier gay rights rulings on the issue, were closely fought and produced strong dissenting opinions. Here is how the justices divided in past cases:

Dec 4, 2012

Special Report: Behind U.S. race cases, a little-known recruiter

SOUTH THOMASTON, Maine (Reuters) – Sometime in the next few months, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide two cases that could fundamentally reshape the rules of race in America.

In one, a young white woman named Abigail Fisher is suing the University of Texas over affirmative action in college admissions. In the other, an Alabama county wants to strike down a law that requires certain states to get federal permission to change election rules.

Nov 8, 2012

Obama may now seek to make deeper mark on U.S. high court

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s election victory on Tuesday may give him the opportunity to deepen his liberal imprint on the U.S. Supreme Court.

A Harvard law graduate who taught constitutional law, Obama, a Democrat, named two liberals to the high court during his first four-year term.

Nov 8, 2012

Analysis: Obama may now seek to make deeper mark on high court

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s election victory on Tuesday may give him the opportunity to deepen his liberal imprint on the U.S. Supreme Court.

A Harvard law graduate who taught constitutional law, Obama, a Democrat, named two liberals to the high court during his first four-year term.

Nov 7, 2012

U.S. battle over ballots averted, but not forever

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – They sued early and often.

Voting-rights advocates, along with the U.S. Department of Justice and some political party officials, tackled potential electoral problems early this election year. Judges blocked stringent voter ID laws, lifted registration restrictions and rejected limits on early voting.

As a result, Election Day 2012 escaped the legal dramas of the past. While some local skirmishes landed in court, no litigation clouded President Barack Obama’s victory on Tuesday over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Nov 7, 2012

Analysis: U.S. battle over ballots averted, but not forever

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – They sued early and often.

Voting-rights advocates, along with the U.S. Department of Justice and some political party officials, tackled potential electoral problems early this election year. Judges blocked stringent voter ID laws, lifted registration restrictions and rejected limits on early voting.

As a result, Election Day 2012 escaped the legal dramas of the past. While some local skirmishes landed in court, no litigation clouded President Barack Obama’s victory on Tuesday over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Oct 29, 2012

Undeterred by storm, U.S. top court sticks to schedule

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hurricane Sandy may shut down much of the federal government and halt public transport in Washington, D.C., on Monday but it will be business as usual at the U.S. Supreme Court, where justices – appointed for life – pride themselves in all manner of staying power.

The country’s highest court is keeping to its oral-argument schedule and intends to hear cases through Wednesday, court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said late on Sunday.

Oct 11, 2012

Analysis: Justice Kennedy the key to campus affirmative action

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When it comes to the use of race in U.S. academic admissions, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy stands alone. He has sided with conservative justices who want to curtail affirmative action, and has echoed liberals who want to ensure campus diversity.

The justice who could cast the deciding vote, Kennedy revealed concerns during oral arguments at the Supreme Court on Wednesday about the University of Texas’ favoring of minority applicants. Yet he also suggested he was not ready to roll back affirmative action or reverse a 2003 landmark decision.

    • 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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