U.S. Supreme Court

There are 4146 stories in the U.S. Supreme Court topic.

Travel ban will reportedly be replaced with more targeted restrictions, may impact SCOTUS case
President Donald Trump's travel ban is set to be replaced--possibly as soon as this weekend--but he must still approve the plan, according to published reports.
ABA urges SCOTUS to invalidate president’s travel ban
The American Bar Association filed a friend-of-the-court brief Monday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to permanently block President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration from six majority-Muslim countries.
Supreme Court blocks 9th Circuit decision that would have allowed more refugees to enter the country
Updated: The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked part of a federal appeals court decision that would have required the federal government to allow about 24,000 refugees to enter the United States.
In a 5-4 split, Supreme Court stays orders in Texas gerrymandering case requiring redrawn districts
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday evening stayed federal court decisions requiring the redrawing of some congressional and state electoral districts in Texas because of racial gerrymandering.
Congress should end partisan ‘nonsense’ over SCOTUS nominations, Ginsburg tells Chicago crowd
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shared warm memories of her "dear colleague" Antonin Scalia, and called on Congress to end partisanship surrounding Supreme Court nominations in an appearance at a conference on Monday night in Chicago.
Justice Department asks Supreme Court to stay part of 9th Circuit ruling on refugee admissions
Updated: The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to stay part of a federal appeals court ruling that had required the government to allow additional refugees to enter the United States.
Baker who refused to make wedding cake for gay couple is backed by Justice Department in SCOTUS case

The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday filed a U.S. Supreme Court brief siding with a Christian bakery owner who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

The…

Chemerinsky: What were the sleeper cases of the last SCOTUS term?

As summer draws to a close, and as attention will soon shift to the October 2017 U.S. Supreme Court term—which looks to be filled with blockbuster cases—it is worth pausing…

Justice Sotomayor visits ‘Judge’s Chambers’ at Yankees game

A U.S. Supreme Court justice took time to cheer on a Judge.

Sonia Sotomayor attended Thursday’s night’s game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at Yankee…

National Pulse: Stifling Speech

Government officials removed a high school student’s painting from the U.S. Capitol building earlier this year, contending that its message was anti-police and inappropriate. The student and his congressional representative objected, arguing that the government engaged in impermissible viewpoint discrimination by censoring the artwork.

The government countered that removing the painting, submitted in a congressional art competition, was its prerogative under the government speech doctrine.

The controversy raised an important question: Did the government violate the First Amendment by censoring private speech, or was it engaged in government speech? Over the last two decades, the Supreme Court has expanded the government speech doctrine, and more officials have asserted it as a defense in free speech cases.

“The government speech doctrine has the ability to swallow much of the Constitution’s protection for freedom of speech,” says constitutional law expert Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California at Berkeley law school and an ABA Journal contributor. “The Supreme Court has said that when the government is the speaker—or when the government adopts private speech as its own—the First Amendment does not apply.”

Whose speech is it?

Many trace the doctrine to a 1991 government funding case, Rust v. Sullivan, even though the court didn’t use the term government speech. The court narrowly upheld a federal regulation that prohibited doctors who received federal funds for family planning services from discussing with patients the option of abortion. Critics termed it the “abortion gag rule,” but the court upheld the regulation, writing that the government can “selectively fund a program to encourage certain activities it believes to be in the public interest, without at the same time funding an alternate program which seeks to deal with the problem in another way.”

Since then, the government speech doctrine has become more of a force in First Amendment law, thanks to Supreme Court decisions.

In Pleasant Grove v. City of Summum (2009), the court reasoned that a Utah city could decline to post a religious monument that listed the seven aphorisms of Summum in a public park, even though the park already had a Ten Commandments monument. The reason: Monuments in public parks were a form of government speech.

More controversially, a divided court ruled 5-4 in Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans (2015) that the state of Texas could refuse to approve a specialty license plate with a depiction of the Confederate battle flag. The majority reasoned that specialty plates are a form of government identification and communicate messages from the state. “Indeed, a person who displays a message on a Texas license plate likely intends to convey to the public that the state has endorsed that message,” wrote Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

“The Walker decision probably helped further educate governmental bodies—as well as lower courts—about the role of the government speech doctrine as a potential defense to First Amendment challenges by private individuals who seek to join or alter or silence what the government believes is its own expression,” says Helen Norton, a University of Colorado law professor and associate dean, who has written extensively about the doctrine.

Chemerinsky says governmental officials are “much more frequently claiming the government speech defense since Walker.

Recent decisions

The case of the artwork removed from the Capitol is one high-profile example. David Pulphus of St. Louis had his painting selected by a panel of local artists and, ultimately, by U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, for display in the Cannon tunnel, which is part of the Capitol grounds.

Pulphus’ painting depicts a protest, including police officers with piglike heads, and a black man crucified on the scales of justice. The painting was intended to convey social injustice, including events in Ferguson, Missouri, and was displayed for months without incident. It was later removed by members of Congress for its anti-police content.

Pulphus and Clay filed a federal lawsuit, contending the removal was a form of impermissible viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment. However, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ruled in Pulphus v. Ayers on April 14 that the art competition was a form of government speech.

Supreme Court Report: Married with Kids

In Pavan v. Smith, the court issued a per curiam decision, over the published dissent of three justices, that requires the state of Arkansas to treat the issuance of birth certificates for the children of same-sex married couples exactly as it does for opposite-sex married couples.

Supreme Court asks for state response in case contending Mississippi flag supports white supremacy

The U.S. Supreme Court is asking Mississippi to respond to a cert petition that argues the state flag’s incorporation of the Confederate battle emblem violates the equal protection rights of…

Justice Alito stays Texas redistricting order

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. on Monday stayed a decision by a three-judge panel that required the redrawing of two congressional districts in Texas because they were racially gerrymandered.

Does Gorsuch speech at Trump hotel raise ethics concerns?
Justice Neil Gorsuch is scheduled to speak to a conservative group next month at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. That's raising eyebrows among some ethics experts and liberals.
Statues of SCOTUS justice who wrote Dred Scott decision are removed

A statue of the justice who wrote the Dred Scott decision defending slavery was removed from the grounds of the Maryland State House after 145 years in a process that…

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