• Nine years after deciding that race, though not quotas, could be considered in college admissions a new, somewhat more conservative Supreme Court is reconsidering affirmative action. The case against the University of Texas was brought by Abigail Fisher, a Texas high school student who says she was denied admission because of her race. At the lectern is Fisher's lawyer, Bert W. Rein.
    Fisher v. University of Texas, October 11, 2012
  • The first day of arguments on the Affordable Care Act, Dept. of Health and Human Services v. Florida. Though he may be too small to make out, Solicitor General Don Verrilli is at the lectern.
    Supreme Court Hears Affordable Care Act arguments, March 26, 2012
  • Solicitor General Don Verrilli, Jr. has an uphill battle arguing in support of the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act.
    Arguing for the Individual Mandate, March 27, 2012
  • Paul Clement argues severability in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius.
    Health Care Arguments, March 28, 2012
  • Paul Clement argues against the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act in Dept. of Health and Human Services v. Florida. Also arguing for respondents is Michael Carvin, seated in right foreground.
    Health Care Arguments, March 27, 2012
  • A lively argument was heard at the Supreme Court Wednesday on the constitutionality of the 'Stolen Valor Act' which makes it a crime to lie about receiving military decorations.
    U.S. v Alvarez, Feb. 22, 2012
  • Seth Waxman arguing for petitioner in a case where the Court is asked&nbsp if deadbeat dads who fail to pay child support have a right to counsel when facing incarceration.
    Turner v. Rogers, 3/23/11
  • The case pits the State Department against an Act of Congress that says that a U.S. citizen born in Jerusalem shall 'record the place of birth as Israel.'

    When the parents of  two-year-old Jerusalem-born Menachem Zivotofsky submitted a passport application for their son who has U.S. citizenship they were told that they could not designate "Israel" as the place of birth.

    Zivotofsky v Clinton, Nov. 7, 2011
  • The Supreme Court struggled with privacy rights in the digital age during arguments on warrantless GPS tracking. DC police investigating a nightclub owner, Antoine Jones, in a drug case put a tracking device on his car and tracked its movements every ten seconds for a month. Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben is pictured at the lectern.

    U.S. v Jones, Nov. 8, 2011
  • This was not the usual audience of spectators. I don't think they had anything to do with the cases being argued, and in fact they looked a little bored.
    Messerschmidt v Millender, Dec. 5, 2011
  • Fred W. Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church, whose members are primarily family, have a practice of picketing the funerals of dead soldiers with signs reading 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers,' 'Fag Troops' and 'God Hates You'.  The father of one of those fallen soldiers, Lance Cpl Matthew Snyder, sued the church in court and won, but the judgement was overturned on appeal. Pastor Phelps' daughter, Margie Phelps pictured here, argued the case for respondents.
    Snyder v. Phelps, Oct. 6, 2010
  • As the lawyer for California began his arguments by raising the specter of 'between 36,000 and 45,000 inmates' released into the population Justice Sotomayor asked him to 'slow down the rhetoric and give me concrete details'.  But after 80 minutes of arguments from both sides the lawyer, Carter Phillips, said in concluding 'I guarantee you that there is going to be more crime and people are going to die on the streets of California.'
    Schwarzenegger v. Plata, Nov. 30, 2010
  • Chief Justice Roberts with Justices Scalia and Alito
    Justices Roberts, Scalia and Alito
  • Joseph Sellers arguing for respondents in huge class action against Wal-Mart, March 29, 2011
    Wal-Mart v. Dukes
  • A gigantic class-action suit brought against megastore Wal-Mart for its biased treatment of female employees seemed to run into trouble in the Supreme Court today, though Wal-Mart's lawyer, Theodore Boutros, took some tough questions from Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan.
    Wal-Mart v. Dukes, March 29,2011
  • The Supreme Court was packed inside and ringed outside with demonstrators as the Justices heard arguments in a challenge to the DC handgun law - the toughest in the country. It's been nearly seventy years since the court last considered the right to bear arms.


    Solicitor General Paul Clement argues as amicus.

    DC v. Heller, March 18, 2008
  • In an unusual September sitting, historic in several ways, the nation's first woman Solicitor General made her first oral argument before the first Supreme Court to include a Latina, presumably wise.

    The court seemed poised to undo, at least partially, a hundred-year-old ban on corporate campaign financing, as Solicitor General Kagan all but to acknowledged : 'If you are asking me, Mr. Chief Justice, as to whether the government has a preference as to the way in which it loses if it has to lose, the answer is 'yes'.

    Citizen's United, Round 2, September 9, 2009
  • California's Deputy Attorney General Zackery P. Morazzini makes the argument for limits on violent video games.
    Schwarznegger v. Entertainment Merchants, November 11, 2010
  • Nineteen years after the disastrous oil spill in Alaska's Prince William Sound, and fourteen years after a jury awarded the victims $2.5 million in punitive damages, Exxon was pleading its case today before the U.S.Supreme Court. The sketch shows Walter Dellinger, the attorney representing Exxon, arguing before the Justices.
    Exxon Shipping v. Baker, February 27, 2008
  • New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte defends the state's parental notification abortion law.
    Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Nov. 30, 2005
  • Professor Laurence Tribe argues in the prelude to Bush v. Gore.
    Bush v. Palm Beach Canvassing Board, Dec. 1, 2000
  • Ted Olsen is at the lectern in this wide shot of the Court during arguments in Bush v. Gore. Note that in my haste I failed to include Justice Breyer on the bench.
    Bush v. Gore, December 11, 2000
  • In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled that ordinary citizens cannot challenge an Arizona program that gave a dollar-for-dollar credit to taxpayers who donated to a School Tuition Organizations, or STOs, which in turn direct money to religious activities.

    In reading the opinion of the Court, Justice Kennedy said the taxpayers lacked 'standing'.

    Opinion in Arizona Christian School v. Winn, April 4, 2011
  • In an opinion written by Justice Ginsburg the Court said that the regulation of greenhouse gases is the job of the EPA, and that States cannot make an end run around the Clean Air Act by filling a 'public nuisance' claim in federal court. 
    Opinion in American Electric Power v. Connecticut, June 20. 2011
  • In his opinion for the Court finding that former Attorney General John Ashcroft could not be sued for improper use of the material witness law in the detention of Abudulla al-Kidd, onetime University of Idaho football star, born Lavoni T. Kidd, Justice Scalia wrote :

    'Qualified immunity gives government officials breathing room to make reasonable but mistaken judgments about open legal questions, when properly applied it protects all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law'.

    '“Ashcroft deserves neither label.”'


    In his opinion for the Court finding that former Attorney General John Ashcroft could not be sued for improper use of the material witness law in the detention of Abudulla al-Kidd, onetime University of Idaho football star, born Lavoni T. Kidd, Justice Scalia wrote :

    Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, May 31, 2011
  • As you can see arguments are not always riveting. If the Court ever allows TV it likely won't make primetime.
    Sometimes tedious, March 22, 2011
  • Spectators hoping to get a seat in the courtroom on the last day of opinions.
    The Line Outside, June 28, 2011
  • The U.S. Court of Military Commission Review held its first hearing yesterday in a borrowed courtroom a half block from the White House.

    Back in June two military judges at Guantanamo ruled that the detainees brought before them could not be tried by the new Military Commissions, created  by Congress and the White House after the Supreme Court rejected the previous Commissions, because they had not been properly declared unlawful enemy combatants. At the time the government filed an appeal there was no court, just a mailing address in Virginia.

    U.S. Court of Military Commission Review
  • The first session of the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review.
    U.S. Court of Military Commission Review
  • Ted Olson argues before a twelve judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta.
    Eleventh Circuit, Bush v. Gore, Dec. 5, 2000
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