The U.S. Supreme Court; It’s a Wrap!

June 27, 2016

On Monday, June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court issued decisions in Voisine et al. v. United States, No. 14-10154; Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, No. 15-274; and McDonnell v. United States, No. 15-474. With these decisions, the oddest Term in this writer’s memory is a wrap!

On the odd part, on February 12 or 13 Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly at a hunting lodge in Texas. Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced within an hour of the confirmation that Justice Scalia’s death that the Senate would not vote on any nominee put forward by the sitting President of the United States. (Senator McConnell controls the Senate calendar, and is also the man who will

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Die on a Mountain

April 30, 2016

Several years ago I was sitting in an interminable board meeting. (I used to do that. Often!) An agenda item involved significant religious issues. An “aye” vote would have revved up many local Rabbis. I found myself in the thick of the discussion, taking an unexpected position. Then, a very wise man* who I’ve known since I was a young teenager piped up: “My dear, suffering wife,” he said, “will ask me on something like this, David, are you going to die on a mountain over this?” The topic was tabled within about 60 seconds, and never raised again.

I thought about Dying on the Mountain Moments when I saw a post on FB which claimed Hillary Clinton and Bernie

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Thoughts About United States v. Texas

April 18, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument earlier today in United States v. Texas, No. 15-674. Texas and 25 other states sued the federal government to prevent the implementation of deferred-action regarding certain undocumented immigrants.

Lyle Denniston has an excellent overview of the case and the oral argument in Oral Argument: Search for a Fifth Vote on Immigration at SCOTUSblog. And, of course, Nina Totenberg is always worth reading and listening to; her piece, with a byline shared with Eyder Peralta for NPR, is On Obama’s Immigration Actions, Supreme Court Seems Sharply Divided.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The judge who heard the case, Andrew Hanen, was tailor-made

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Jefferson Wins … and We’re Effed!

February 12, 2016

Reverent references to the Founding Fathers drive me nutso. Yes, they established a more perfect union, but they rarely agreed about anything. Disagreements are what what we ought to expect from bright, ambitious, contentious men, so when modern day references turn the Founding Fathers into a monolith, it should not go unnoticed.

How bad is it? Almost half-term Governor and full-time nitwit Sarah Palin said her favorite Founding Father is “all of them.” Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski liked Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) best. And these references are just silly. Certain Supreme Court justices believe in originalism, a principle which claims for itself the obligation and ability to determine what the words in the Constitution meant

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Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

January 11, 2016

Labor law is not my best subject, for sure. I’ve handled many employment cases, and still advise clients on employment matters. Labor law, though, connotes union-management issues, and it’s an area in which I don’t practice.

Qualifier noted, I found myself following Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, No. 14-915, the case in which the which the U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to abolish the “agency fee” regimen associated with public sector unions. In part, this was a “how can you ignore it case,” written and talked about everywhere. It’s also a reminder that elections matter. Had some more people moved their asses off their couches and voted in Florida in 2000, and if a few tens of

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The U.S. Supreme Court, 2015-16 Term

October 4, 2015

First Monday in October is upon us. Tomorrow, the U. S. Supreme Court begins its 2015-16 Term. Here at Mark Rubin Writes we will follow the Court once again, relying heavily on SCOTUSblog.com and many other resources.

Adam Liptak’s Supreme Court Prepares to Take on Politically Charged Cases for the New York Times, today, provides an excellent overview of the coming Term. I noted in particular his three paragraphs about partisanship, relying on Neal Devins, a law professor at William & Mary. Here they are:

‘This coming term will again put into focus that the court is divided along partisan lines and that the 2016 presidential elections will be hugely consequential in shaping constitutional and other law for perhaps

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Retention Elections at the Supreme Court

September 21, 2015

The United States Supreme Court is comprised of nine justices. Presently, their age span is 82 to 55, with four justices—Ginsburg, Scalia, Kennedy, and Breyer—between 77 and 82. On January 20, 2017, those four justices will be 83, 80, 80, and 78, respectively. They will also have been serving for 23, 30, 28, and 22 years, respectively.

My point? The 2016 election may be about only one thing which really matters: the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Many people holler about the Supreme Court. Some people are genuinely concerned about a group of people who come from remarkably similar professional backgrounds. Read Is the Court We Have the Court We Want?, which I wrote in May 2014, for

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United States Supreme Court 2015-16 Preview

September 7, 2015

October 5 is four weeks away. So what? Well, in 2015 October 5 happens to be the First Monday in October, and that means we’ll have a chance to watch the United States Supreme Court in action again. (In fact, although the Court is at recess from July through September, the justices deal with many administrative matters during the recess, and also address some substantive issues, like rejecting County Clerk Kim Davis’ attempt to draw the Court into her petty drama in Kentucky.)

So what can we expect in 2015-16? Plenty, of course. Scotusblog.com has listed the 30+ cases the Court has already accepted for review. From among them, here are a few which we likely here much about:

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It’s a Wrap at the U.S. Supreme Court

June 29, 2015

It’s a wrap! The U.S. Supreme Court issued its last three opinions for the 2014-15 Term this morning. (Links are to SCOTUSblog pages, which have links to the Court opinions and other material.)

In Glossip v. Gross, No. 14-7955, the lethal injection/cruel and unusual punishment case, a 5-4 majority ruled against death row inmates on a claim about the use of midazolam, a part of the three-drug protocol for lethal injections. The inmates claimed using midazolam—used because states cannot purchase other drugs,. because manufacturers will not sell them for use in the execution process—may cause them to suffer unreasonable harm when the other two drugs are administered. According to the majority, in an opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito,

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Obergefell v. Hodges

June 27, 2015

In Obergefell v. Hodges, No. 14-556, the U.S. Supreme Court held that

… the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them. … and the State laws challenged by Petitioners in these cases are now held invalid to the extent they exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite sex couples.

The Court divided 5-4 along the

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