Supreme Court Brief

Demonstrators celebrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court moments after the court announced its opinion in the case Obergefell v. Hodges, making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.  June 26, 2015.

Former Texas Chief Justice Challenges His Old Court in New Gay-Rights Petition

By Marcia Coyle |

What may seem awkward at first glance is not at all awkward to Wallace Jefferson, former chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Jefferson, who returned to private practice in Austin four years ago, is now challenging his old court in a petition at the U.S. Supreme Court that could increase the already high stakes in the new term for the nation's gay community.

John Ward outside the Supreme Court after Obergefell argument in 2015.

Lawyer Who Lost 1995 Gay Rights Case Says Justice Department's Reliance in 'Masterpiece Cake' Is Misplaced

By Marcia Coyle |

In its brief supporting a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, the U.S. Justice Department relied heavily on a 1995 Supreme Court decision that the gay community lost. John Ward, who argued that case, says the government’s reliance is misplaced.

U.S. Supreme Court building

In Quiet Term, Drop in Amicus Curiae at the Supreme Court

By Anthony J. Franze and R. Reeves Anderson |

Friends of the court filed fewer briefs—and the justices cited them less often—putting the brakes on the record-setting trend in amicus participation from the previous six terms, according to a study by Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer attorneys Anthony Franze and R. Reeves Anderson.

U.S. Supreme Court building.

Justices Are Urged to Confront Military Role in Civilian Offices

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court hasn't reviewed a service member's challenge to a court-martial in more than 20 years. But that hasn't deterred Army and Air Force appellate lawyers and a Texas law professor from seeking review on behalf of more than 174 service members. The petitioners want the justices to decide whether military judges violated a Civil War-era statute by hearing their appeals while also holding a nonmilitary office.

Why Top Advocates Are Ghostwriting SCOTUS Briefs

By Tony Mauro |

The practice of ghostwriting briefs in opposition to a grant of certiorari has been getting some attention this summer. We took an informal poll to see how common it is for lawyers to omit their names from briefs—and to ask if the long-standing practice is ethical.

Anthony Kennedy.

Will University Affirmative Action Policies Survive a Kennedy-Less Supreme Court?

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Justice Department reportedly is preparing to investigate university admissions policies for discrimination against white applicants, but it may be years before an affirmative action case returns to the U.S. Supreme Court, and when it does, the key justice—Anthony Kennedy—may not be there.

Ilana Eisenstein, left, and Sarah Harrington, right.

Musical Chairs in ‘Year of Transition’ for Solicitor General’s Office

By Tony Mauro |

Two lawyers are leaving the U.S. solicitor general’s office for private practice, two have joined from private firms, and more departures and hires are likely before the fall term begins in October.

Douglas Hallward-Driemeier addresses the media outside the U.S. Supreme Court after arguments in the same-sex marriage cases, Obergefell v Hodges. April 28, 2015.

Ropes & Gray Lawyer Who Argued 'Obergefell' Isn't Sweating Kennedy Rumors

By Marcia Coyle |

Ropes & Gray's Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, who argued the historic gay marriage challenge in the Supreme Court, doesn’t buy the fears that any successor to Justice Anthony Kennedy will jeopardize the "Obergefell" decision. "We now have hundreds of thousands of individuals acting in reliance on 'Obergefell.' And society has moved forward," he says. The SCB recently caught up with Hallward-Driemeier to talk about his work in this area of the law.

Actor Edward Gero, who portrays the late Justice Antonin Scalia in the theater play The Originalist, outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 13, 2017.

Scalia’s Doppelganger on Prepping for ‘The Originalist’ and Hanging Out With Uncle Nino

By Tony Mauro |

Actor Edward Gero is recreating his role as Justice Antonin Scalia in a production this month at Arena Stage. He says the play's message—that ideological opponents must listen to each other—is more important than ever.

U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

Scoring the Supreme Court’s Key Business Cases This Term

By Tony Mauro |

A look at the rulings that will have long-term impact for litigators and the companies they represent. While there were fewer business cases than usual, most were wins of significance, according to a review by Mayer Brown's Supreme Court and appellate practice.

Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Gorsuch, in First Dissent, Rejects Invitation to 'Tweak' Statute

By Marcia Coyle |

In writing his first dissent, which came in the first case he heard as a new justice, Neil Gorsuch on Friday told his colleagues what will surely be his governing mantra: "Just follow the words of the statute as written."

Illegal immigrants are transferred out of the holding area after being processed at the Tucson Sector of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters in Tucson, Ariz.

The Roberts Court Hasn't Reargued Many Cases. That Could Change

By Marcia Coyle |

The possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will rehear a set of cases—including several immigration disputes—looms over the justices as the term moves into its final weeks.

Paul Smith.

The Next Big Political Case at the Supreme Court: 6 Key Questions

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it will dive into a dispute over partisan gerrymandering next term. The outcome could have sweeping national consequences. Here's what to know.

Adam Unikowsky of Jenner & Block.

How Young Jenner Partner 'Boiled the Oceans' to Find, Win 5 SCOTUS Cases

By Tony Mauro |

U.S. Supreme Court wins are getting fairly routine for this self-described "law nerd." Five victories make Jenner & Block partner Adam Unikowsky a rising star at the firm, which lost its previous Supreme Court "dynamic duo" of Paul Smith and Donald Verrilli in recent years.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist (2003)

What Rehnquist Had to Say About Impeachment

By Tony Mauro |

Seven years after he wrote a book about impeachment, then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist presided over one: the trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999, which resulted in acquittal. What follow are observations from Rehnquist about impeachment.

The text of an order issued by the U.S. Supreme Court on May 30, 2017

Case of Mistaken Identity at US Supreme Court

By Tony Mauro |

On the rare occasions when he felt the U.S. Supreme Court had messed up, the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist was fond of saying, "Even Homer nods." The court nodded Monday and confessed that it had almost drummed the wrong lawyer out of the Supreme Court bar.

Skadden Loses a Tax Dispute, and Jenner Wins Fee Fight

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday delivered multimillion-dollar good news and bad news to two major law firms. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom lost its challenge to a tax refund in Michigan. Jenner & Block prevailed in a fee dispute that involved a former client. Here's a snapshot of the two cases.

David Stras, Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, speaking at the Federalist Society’s 2016 National Lawyers Convention, at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016.

David Stras: Trump Judicial Nominee and SCOTUS Reformer

By Tony Mauro |

David Stras once wrote that U.S. Supreme Court justices should not have term limits. Instead, he said they should be incentivized to leave when they get old, through "golden parachute" pensions and a heavier workload, including being forced to hear cases around the country by "riding the circuits." Stras, 42, an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, may be able to continue his scholarly scrutiny from the inside. President Donald Trump this month announced plans to nominate Stras to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Neil Gorsuch Lays Down Some Early Markers

By Marcia Coyle |

What have U.S. Supreme Court advocates learned from Justice Neil Gorsuch based on his early sittings? "Justice Gorsuch comes as advertised: someone deeply committed to ruling by the text and the Constitution's underpinnings, like federalism," Mayer Brown's Timothy Bishop, a veteran high court advocate, says. Here's a look at some early observations of the court's newest member.

Patrons gamble at Gun Lake Casino on Monday, April 11, 2016 in Weyland, Mich.

A SCOTUS First-Timer Tees Up Clash Between Congress and the Courts

By Marcia Coyle |

Sometimes at the U.S. Supreme Court, big cases come in small packages. Scott Gant of Boies Schiller Flexner saw a potentially major separation-of-powers issue in an unhappy property owner's court case, and the justices on Monday agreed to review it.

Don't Call This Supreme Court Term a 'Sleeper'

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court wrapped up oral arguments for the term on Wednesday. The justices' quest for unanimity is always tested toward the end of a term when some of the most difficult cases await decision. This term is no different. Here's a snapshot of some of the big cases that await decisions.

U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

No Clear Road Map in Key Jurisdiction Cases Before SCOTUS

By Tony Mauro |

Two hours of argument Tuesday yielded no clear sign that the high court would clarify the jumbled rules of jurisdiction, which University of Texas School of Law professor Linda Mullenix called "a problem that has confounded generations of law students, not to mention attorneys and courts."

Neil Gorsuch testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing on March 21, 2017.

Meet Neil Gorsuch's 4 New Law Clerks

By Tony Mauro |

Meet Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch's new law clerks: Our spotlight on the clerks he chose for the transitional period at the high court until the current term winds down this summer.

Justice Neil Gorsuch.

No More Mr. New Justice: A Preview of Gorsuch's 2nd Week

By Tony Mauro |

High-stakes clashes dealing with patents, personal jurisdiction and the death penalty await Justice Neil Gorsuch in his second week.

Banks, Finance Companies Fret Over Sweep of Debt Collection Law

By Marcia Coyle |

Banks, retailers, finance companies and other entities that buy and sell loans are sounding alarms about a U.S. Supreme Court case that could bring them under the regulatory eye of a 1977 law that prohibits certain debt collection practices.

Neal Katyal, left, and Neil Gorsuch, right.

In Small World of SCOTUS Advocacy, Gorsuch Faces Early Recusal Choice

By Tony Mauro |

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch will be closely watched Monday when the lawyer who most prominantly backed his nomination rises to argue in a civil procedure case.

Barry Lynn.

Reflections From a Champion for Separation of Church and State

By Tony Mauro |

Barry Lynn, who has served as executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State since 1992, will retire at the end of the year. Tony Mauro spoke with Lynn about his career and the Supreme Court.

U.S. Supreme Court building

Justices to Consider Trump Request to Delay Water Case

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday will consider the Trump administration’s request that the justices indefinitely delay briefing on a key issue in pending challenges against an Obama-era environmental rule that broadened the scope of protections accorded to U.S waterways.

American Bar Association office in Washington, D.C. June 23, 2014. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Blind Law School Applicant Loses High Court Case, But Vows Continued Fight

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a legally blind man's challenge to what he claims is the discriminatory logic-games portion of the Law School Admission Test. His lawyer said the legal fight will continue.

Judge William Pryor Jr..

Change of Heart in Georgia Costs Chicago Lawyer a SCOTUS Argument

By Tony Mauro |

Adam Mortara, a former Clarence Thomas clerk working at Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott, had been slated to defend a habeas decision authored by Eleventh Circuit Judge William Pryor. Then the Georgia attorney general’s office agreed to step up.

Cat Lamps and Van Gogh’s Shoes Make Cameo Appearance in SCOTUS Ruling

By Tony Mauro |

In its ruling Wednesday in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, an important copyright dispute over the design of cheerleader outfits, the U.S. Supreme Court decided words were not enough.

National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C.

Justices' Ruling on 'Acting' Officials Is Silent on Past Labor Decisions

By Tony Mauro |

A National Labor Relations Board dispute has once again become the crucible for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling about the rules for filling vacancies in executive branch positions. By a 6-2 vote, the high court ruled Tuesday that someone serving in an acting capacity in a position subject to Senate approval cannot continue in that position after being nominated by the president to the same job on a permanent basis.

U.S. Supreme Court building.

Docket Chat: Meanwhile, Back at the Supreme Court

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court rarely alters its schedule for external events such as elections or blizzards, and confirmation hearings are no different. While Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's Senate confirmation hearing got underway Monday at the Hart Senate Office Building, across the street the high court was minding its business by hearing cases, with two arguments Monday and two each set for Tuesday and Wednesday. Five cases will be argued next week.

U.S. Supreme Court.

726 Women Carve a Legacy at the Supreme Court Lectern

By Marcia Coyle |

Who are the women who have argued at the U.S. Supreme Court throughout history? Author Marlene Trestman wanted to know, and so did Julie Silverbrook, executive director of The Constitutional Sources Project. Separately and several years apart, they began the hunt for answers.

The body of Justice Antonin Scalia arrives at the Supreme Court, on Friday, February 19, 2016.

Scalia's Papers, Including Emails, Donated to Harvard Law School

By Tony Mauro |

In addition to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's extensive papers, a trove of digital documents will go to Harvard Law School, his alma mater. The materials will begin to be made available for review in 2020.

Trump Turns to Scalia to Narrow Protected US Waters

By Marcia Coyle |

Search online for the U.S. Supreme Court's 2006 decision in Rapanos v. United States and various descriptions will pop up—including "quagmire" and "first official mess of the Roberts era." The case, and the late Justice Antonin Scalia's plurality opinion in particular, is central to President Donald Trump's push to rein in one of the most consequential regulations ever issued under the Clean Water Act.

U.S. Supreme Court building.

How Deep Research Boosted Chances for SCOTUS Victory in Texas Capital Case

By Tony Mauro |

With an assist from two students at Columbia Law School, the legal team for Texas death row inmate Duane Buck found that going the extra mile in the research phase paid off with a major win.

Transgender high school student Gavin Grimm poses in front of his home in Gloucester, Va, on Monday Aug. 22, 2016.

Trump Administration Casts Cloud Over Transgender Case at High Court

By Marcia Coyle |

As the Trump administration mulls announcing a solicitor general, a shift away from an Obama-era policy on the scope of transgender rights at public schools could affect the marquee civil rights case of the current U.S. Supreme Court term. That shift in policy, announced late Wednesday, has already cast more than the normal uncertainty over what the justices may do with the case, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. Oral argument is, for now, set for March 28.

U.S. Supreme Court building.

Docket Chat: Where Have All the SG's Gone?

By Tony Mauro |

In the oral argument session that began today and ends March 1, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear only seven cases instead of the usual 12. The President's Day holiday on Monday accounts for some of the paucity, but the court's desire to slow down the docket in hopes of the arrival of a ninth justice may also be a factor. Sparse as it is in numbers, the February argument session also has few marquee cases.

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts

It's Time for John Roberts to Speak Up: Study

By Marcia Coyle |

President Donald Trump's attacks on federal judges and the declining public confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court suggest it's time for Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. to become a more aggressive and visible advocate for judicial independence, three political science scholars contend in a new study.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, left, walks down the hallway inside the Russell Senate Office Building to meet with Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on Wednesday, February 8, 2017.

A Guide to the Increasingly Political U.S. Supreme Court

By Tony Mauro |

Forget the romantic visions of justice embodied in the beautiful Supreme Court building and accept the court is a political institution, says Lincoln Caplan, author of "American Justice 2016: The Political Supreme Court."

United States Reports, the official reporter of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Where Have All the Supreme Court 'Pin Cites' Gone?

By Marcia Coyle |

If Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were writing, it would be called "The Mysterious Case of the Supreme Court's Missing, Official Pinpoint Citation." When you cite to a U.S. Supreme Court decision, you're supposed to use the official record of case decisions: United States Reports. But there have been no U.S. Reports pin cites for high court decisions in the last three to four years. The court's "well aware of the issue" and says it's working to close the gap.

Deepak Gupta of Gupta Wessler.

Small D.C. Law Firm Maps Defense, Offense Plays Against Trump

By Marcia Coyle |

The public interest mission of Deepak Gupta's law firm in Washington is reflected in its three U.S. Supreme Court arguments this term—and it's the same mission that has drawn the small firm into the first significant suit against President Donald Trump and alleged conflicts of interest.

U.S. Supreme Court building.

Nonlawyer Judges? SCOTUS Doesn't Seem to Mind

By Tony Mauro |

A judge who is in a position to throw someone in jail has to be a lawyer, right? Well no, and the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed this anomaly of American justice to persist.

Bronze memorial statue of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney on the grounds of the Maryland State House in Annapolis, MD.

Controversy Dogs a Late Chief Justice's Monument

By Marcia Coyle |

More than 150 years after his death, Chief Justice Roger Taney, author of the "Dred Scott" decision that upheld slavery, still stirs controversy for public officials—particularly in his native home of Maryland. What should be done, if anything, about a life-size statue on public grounds of the man who wrote one of the most infamous U.S. Supreme Court opinions?

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s Bench Chair and the Bench in front of his seat draped in black following his death on February 13, 2016.

How a New Supreme Court Justice Could Hit the Ground Running—or Not

By Tony Mauro |

By tradition, Donald Trump's nominee wouldn't vote on cases argued before their tenure began—but that's not an ironclad rule, court experts say.

Jerrold Ganzfried.

Leaving Big Law, a Holland & Knight Appellate Lawyer Flies Solo

By Marcia Coyle |

After spending the last nearly 30 years in Big Law and six years before that in the U.S. solicitor general's office, appellate lawyer Jerrold Ganzfried is going solo with little concern about the weather ahead.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. (2009)

The Gaps That Led Chief Justice Roberts to Miss a Stock Conflict

By Tony Mauro |

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. realized he needed to step aside from ruling on Life Technologies v. Promega nearly a month after oral argument. Here's why conflict checks at the nation's highest court are an imperfect process.

The Slants.

How a Blog Post Led to a Supreme Court Argument

By Tony Mauro |

In 2011, Ronald Coleman banged out a frustrated entry on his popular trademark blog about an Asian-American rock band, The Slants, that was fighting to have its name accepted as a registered trademark. "Good luck with that, fellows," Coleman wrote on the blog, titled Likelihood of Confusion. Little did Coleman know that the post would trigger a chain of events that culminates Jan. 18 when his Archer & Greiner law partner John Connell argues pro bono before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of The Slants.

The body of Justice Antonin Scalia arrives at the Supreme Court, on Friday, February 19, 2016.

One of Scalia's Final Law Clerks Looks Back and Ahead

By Tony Mauro |

Jonathan Urick vividly remembers the last time he and his fellow law clerks saw their boss, U.S. Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia. "We were laughing and joking. He was in very high spirits, making jokes," he recalled. Ten months later, Urick is a new associate at McGuireWoods in Richmond—one of seven former Supreme Court clerks working at the firm. He is the first of Scalia's final four law clerks to publicly speak about his time in Scalia chambers that ended abruptly after the justice's death on Feb. 13.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C.

Opening a Door to Malpractice Suits Against the Veterans Administration

By Jamie Schuman |

When veteran Richard Milbauer sued the government for medical negligence, a federal court ruled it did not have jurisdiction to hear the case. That decision could leave all veterans without a way to obtain judicial review of their malpractice claims against Veterans Administration hospitals, a petition for certiorari in Milbauer v. United States warns. Reed Smith filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of two law school clinics: the Antonin Scalia Law School Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic and the Baylor Law School Veterans' Assistance Clinic.

Rehnquist, Scalia and the Caroling Clerks

By Marcia Coyle |

Their clerkships span nearly two decades and hundreds of U.S. Supreme Court decisions, but they share one overriding memory of Christmas in the nation's high court—the annual carol sing-along led by Chief Justice William Rehnquist and later by Justice Antonin Scalia.

Seven Books for the SCOTUS Devotee in Your Life

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court continues to provide fodder for new books almost daily, or so it seems. And lately, Supreme Court fiction has been rivaling nonfiction for compelling reading and insights into the workings of the nation's highest court. Here's a look at notable court-related books published in 2016, as well as some that will emerge early next year.

Judge Sri Srinivasan, of the District of Columbia Circuit.

In Supreme Court Protest Case, Circuit Judges Search for the Meaning of 'Harangue'

By Tony Mauro |

When five protesters rose one by one to disrupt a U.S. Supreme Court session in April 2015, an open mike captured the late Justice Antonin Scalia muttering, "Give them stiff, stiff sentences" as they were carried out and arrested. A year and a half later, the case against the protesters has not yet been resolved, and one part of the law under which they were indicted is under challenge on First Amendment grounds. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard arguments Monday in United States v. Bronstein on the constitutionality of the law that makes it unlawful to, among other things, "make a harangue or oration" in the Supreme Court building or on its grounds.

Justice Stephen Breyer (November 19, 2015)

Justice Breyer Laments Inmate's 40-Year Wait on Death Row

By Marcia Coyle |

Less than two years ago, Justice Stephen Breyer urged his colleagues to hear arguments on the constitutionality of the death penalty. In just one short week, he found additional cases to support his call. Breyer on Monday dissented from the court's refusal to hear the case Sireci v. Florida, a challenge by an inmate, Henry Sireci, who has been on death row for 40 years. Lengthy delays, Breyer wrote, "have become more common."

U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

The Mystery of the Lingering SCOTUS Cases

By Tony Mauro |

Nearly 11 months ago on Jan. 15, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in eight new cases. When January 15 of 2017 rolls around, three of those cases will still be pending on the docket without having been argued before the court. The court in effect confirmed that unusual circumstance on Monday when it issued its calendar for the argument cycle that begins Jan. 9 and ends Jan. 18. The three long-lingering cases were nowhere to be found on the calendar: Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley, Murr v. Wisconsin and Microsoft v. Baker.

Marc Elias, of Perkins Coie, addressing media outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, after arguing two redistricting cases, Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections and McCrory v. Harris.

A SCOTUS Juggling Act for Perkins Coie's Marc Elias

By Tony Mauro |

For most appellate lawyers, arguing at the U.S. Supreme Court is the capstone of their careers. For Marc Elias of Perkins Coie, arguing two separate but related cases before the high court on Monday was just one of several career highlights this year alone. An election law specialist and general counsel for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, Elias in recent weeks has navigated Clinton's involvement in the on-and-off recounts sought by third-party candidate Jill Stein while also overseeing the recount of the gubernatorial race in North Carolina on behalf of his client, Democrat Roy Cooper.

Clifford Sloan, partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (2009)

Advocates Beware: Justices Don't Want You Sneaking New Issues Into Your Cases

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court is getting fed up with lawyers who pile extra issues and arguments onto cases that were narrow when the justices first decided to grant review. Twice in the last month, justices scolded veteran advocates for deviating from or inflating the questions they had asked the court to answer in their cert petitions.

Supreme Court nominee Chief Judge Merrick Garland meets with senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), at the senator's office in the Hart Senate Office Building on March 29, 2016.

Pro Se Lawyers Tilt at Senate Inaction on Garland, Iran

By Marcia Coyle |

Two pro se lawyers from opposite ends of the country, frustrated by a lack of U.S. Senate action, turned to the courts to confront two of the hottest political topics of the day: the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy and the Iran nuclear agreement. The Iran case ended Monday. The D.C. Circuit is poised to rule soon on whether to force the Senate to act on the nomination of Merrick Garland to the high court.

Ahilan Arulanantham, 2016 MacArthur Fellow, ACLU Southern California Offices

MacArthur 'Genius' Set to Argue Immigration Case Before Supreme Court

By Tony Mauro |

ACLU attorney Ahilan Arulanantham will step to the lectern this week in a case that tests the due process rights of immigrants in detention.

Toni Massaro, professor and former dean at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, speaking at the Federalist Society’s 2016 National Lawyers Convention, at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016.

At Federalist Society, Scholar Casts Scalia's Sharp Rhetoric in Negative Light

By Tony Mauro |

Antonin Scalia is often regarded as one of the best and clearest writers on the court. But a powerful contrary theory was advanced that Scalia harmed his own legacy with language in his opinions that lacked empathy and was hurtful to segments of the public. Toni Massaro, professor and former dean of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, made that case at the Federalist Society's annual convention in Washington. The SCB spoke with Massaro about her observations.

Clarence Thomas.

Five Questions Justice Thomas Actually Asked at Oral Argument

By Tony Mauro |

Despite 25 years of writing opinions, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is probably known best by the public for his silence during oral argument. Thomas made headlines in February when he ended a 10-year silent streak by asking a question, though he has not asked another one since. A new study could alter the "Silent Thomas" narrative.

U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. October 9, 2016.

Could the Election System Derail, Again?

By Marcia Coyle |

Until the final count shows a clear winner of the 2016 presidential election, the specter of 2000's Bush v. Gore will haunt Election Day. Could it happen again, but this time before a divided 4-4 U.S. Supreme Court?

E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr.

E. Barrett Prettyman Jr., Hogan Leader and Longtime Mentor of Supreme Court Advocates, Dies at 91

By Tony Mauro |

E. Barrett Prettyman Jr., who died at the age of 91 on Nov. 4, knew pretty much all there was to know about the Supreme Court and the lawyers who argued before it.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Sotomayor, Thomas and Alito Deepen Their Dispute Over Juvenile Sentences

By Marcia Coyle |

In a series of opinions over the past nine months, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito Jr. have faced off with Justice Sonia Sotomayor over life sentences for juvenile offenders. The tension is rooted in just how far to apply the court's rulings that have limited those sentences. The conflict surfaced again this week.

Justice Elena Kagan

Kagan Dishes on Taking Chances, Anger at the Court and Going to Law School 'For All the Wrong Reasons'

By Tony Mauro |

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was clearly pumped by the audience she was addressing in Virginia recently. Hundreds of law students looking for public interest jobs at the Equal Justice Works career fair took a break to hear Kagan's own story about her path to the nation's highest court. Along the way, she offered advice, life lessons, and stories from her life at the court.

Neal Katyal of Hogan Lovells.

Docket Chat: Katyal Hits Stride in New Supreme Court Term

By Tony Mauro |

Former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday—the first of seven cases he is already scheduled to argue this term.

Rare Supreme Court Bar Meeting Will Honor Scalia

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court bar exists more in the imagination than in reality. It has no annual meetings or dues, and has but one visible, melancholy function—to honor the memory of deceased justices. The bar has done just that since 1822, and it will do it again at 1:45 p.m. on Nov. 4 when it convenes in the court's upper great hall to commemorate Justice Antonin Scalia, who died eight months ago.

Sonia Sotomayor.

Sotomayor, in Dissent, Calls Out Colleagues on Death Penalty Faults

By Marcia Coyle |

Justice Sonia Sotomayor has never said or written that she believes the death penalty is unconstitutional. Indeed, her views on the death penalty remain unclear. Instead, Sotomayor has wielded her pen in dissent—sometimes alone—to focus on flaws in the application of capital punishment: from ineffective assistance of counsel to questionable lethal injection drugs to judges who override life sentences by juries.

(L-R) Antonin Scalia and Bryan Garner.

Why it Took 12 Judges to Replace Scalia for Bryan Garner's Latest Book Project

By Tony Mauro |

In 2012, legal writing guru Bryan Garner proposed writing another book with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia—this one on the role and value of precedents in judicial decision-making.

U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. March 4, 2015. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Race Docket at High Court Runs Deep in New Term

By Marcia Coyle |

Race, never far from the U.S. Supreme Court docket, moved to the fore in the term's first week in two arguments that challenge its presence in the criminal justice system. The justices this term will grapple with race in criminal justice, electoral maps and lending discrimination.