Home / 2012 / July

Monthly Archives: July 2012

Court likely to take up DNA evidence collection case

In recent years the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have already demonstrated a fondness for cases involving the use of DNA evidence. And it appears that yet another could be added to the docket next term.

In an order by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., released Monday, the Court temporarily blocked a Maryland state court ruling that stopped police from collecting DNA evidence from arrested individuals. In that order Roberts noted – as is required for injunctive relief to be granted – that there was a “reasonable probability” that the high court will take the case and a “fair prospect” that the state court ruling would be reversed by the Court, according to the Associated Press.

“Because the DNA samples Maryland collects may otherwise be eligible for the FBI’s national DNA database, the decision renders the database less effective for other States and the Federal Government,” Roberts’ order states.

More here from the AP, and more Supreme Court news and analysis can be found on Lawyers USA’s Supreme Court Report.

Scalia: There’s no pouting on the SCOTUS

Justice Antonin Scalia told NPR’s Nina Totenberg that people should not believe that divided Supreme Court rulings, like the one in the health care law decision, causes hard feelings among the justices.

“That’s just not the way justices of the Supreme Court behave, going into pouts. I mean that — it’s absurd,” Scalia told Totenberg. “If you can’t disagree even vehemently on the law without taking it personally and getting angry at the person, you ought to look for another job.”

For SCOTUS hopefuls, youth is a virtue

No matter who occupies the White House when the next Supreme Court vacancy arises, one thing is for sure: the Court will get younger.

A new ABA Journal magazine piece points out that while Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was 60 when she was nominated back in 1993, nowadays presidents in both parties rank youth high among the qualities they seek in a nominee. A justice whose tenure long outlasts a presidential administration can leave an indelible mark on the Court.

And the focus on youth spells bad news for potential nominees who have found themselves on Supreme short lists in the past. “If you’ve been on the [potential nominees] list already, you are unlikely to still be on that list” when the next seat comes open, said University of California at Los Angeles law professor Adam Winkler.

Ginsburg latest justice to receive bobbling honor

Image from The Green Bag

Just in time to celebrate the beginning of her 20th year on the Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is being honored with a bobblehead doll.

The waggling desktop statuette, produced by the folks at the alternative legal journal The Green Bag, features the justice standing on the parade grounds of the Virginia Military Institute (a nod to her opinion in the gender discrimination case U.S. v. Virginia), holding in her left hand Samuel Johnson’s, A Dictionary of the English Language (which she cites in the copyright case Eldred v. Ashcroft), and in her right hand she holds a tire-treaded plug to a safe that contains at least 13 cents and is adorned with an Alabama lily (we’ll let you guess the case to which that imagery alludes).

As always, the figurines cannot be purchased. The publication sends them to a select number of recipients ranging from subscribers to the justices themselves. But there is no guarantee of who will get their hands on one. As the publication’s website states: “We distribute these items willy-nilly, with no promises to anyone about what we might make, when we might make it, or who might get it.”

Ginsburg is the 16th bobblehead of former and current justices that the publication has released.

Happy Birthday, Justice Kennedy

Some call him the Supreme Court’s swing voter. Veteran high court  litigator Ted Olson calls him “the must-have vote in close cases on the Supreme Court.”

But today you can call him the birthday boy. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy turns 76 today.

Scalia denies Supreme feud

As leaked reports of bad blood among the justices of the Supreme Court in the aftermath of the health care ruling continue to swirl in the media, Justice Antonin Scalia said they are not to be believed.

“You should not believe what you read about the Court in the newspapers,” Scalia told CNN’s Piers Morgan in an interview that aired Wednesday night, “because the information has either been made up or given to the newspapers by somebody who is violating a confidence, which means that person is not reliable.”

“I haven’t had a falling out with Justice Roberts,” Scalia reiterated.

“Loud words exchanged?” Morgan pressed. “Slamming of door?”

“No, no,” Scalia responded. “Nothing like that.”

Scalia appeared in the interview with Bryan Garner to promote their new book, “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts.” More here from CNN.com.

Americans, particularly Republicans, have lower opinion of Roberts

The nation’s chief justice isn’t nearly as popular as he used to be.

A new Gallop poll shows that Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.’s approval ratings have dipped far below what they were in 2005, when he took the center seat on the  Supreme Court’s bench.  Now, 39 percent of Americans polled have a favorable opinion of Roberts, 29 percent have an unfavorable opinion, and 31 percent either have no opinion or no idea of who the man is.

Compare that to seven years ago, when Roberts enjoyed a 50 percent favorability rating, just 17 percent of folks viewed him unfavorably, and 33 percent either didn’t know or didn’t care.

The poll, taken after Roberts cast the deciding vote to uphold the majority of the federal health care law, could reflect a sharp decline in Republicans’ esteem for Roberts. Roberts favorability ratings dipped a sharp 40 percent among members of the GOP.

More here from Gallop. More Lawyers USA high court news here on the Supreme Court Report.


Sotomayor plants roots near U Street

One thing we know about Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor – she likes living in hip neighborhoods.

The justice, who still has her old Greenwich Village pad up in New York, has purchased a two-bedroom condo in Washington’s U Street corridor, which boasts some of the city’s hottest venues like the 9:30 Club and Lincoln Theatre as well as cool eateries like Ben’s Chili Bowl and Busboys and Poets.

According to Washington Business Journal, Sotomayor, who heretofore rented an apartment in Cleveland Park, paid $660,000 for the new digs on June 19.

Justices say bad feelings fade

There seems to be more interest in the behind-the-scenes relationships between the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court than in the cause of the split between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

But some of the justices themselves, speaking anonymously, say that any existing bad feelings stemming from the health care decision will be gone by the first Monday in October.

“Who on the Court is the sort of person who is going to carry a grudge? Nino Scalia isn’t going to carry a grudge. Clarence Thomas is going to pat you on the back and give you a hearty laugh all the time,” one justice said, according to a report by the National Law Journal’s Marcia Coyle and Tony Mauro.

More Supreme Court news can be found on Lawyers USA’s Supreme Court Report.


Kennedy, mum on health care, said opinions speak for themselves

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy got a “collective groan” from the audience at the Aspen Institute’s Greenwald Pavilion Thursday when it was announced that he would not discuss the Supreme Court’s health care ruling, or any other specific case, according to the Aspen Daily News.

Justices’ opinions, he said, speak for themselves.

“We are judged by what we write,” Kennedy said. “We don’t go around giving speeches saying how great my majority opinion was or how great somebody’s dissent was. We don’t do that. That’s for the professors, for the legal profession, for the public, to hold the court accountable for what it does.”