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Supreme Court

May 1, 2009

Replacing Souter: Could it be a familiar face?

News broke overnight that Justice David Souter is planning to retire from the Supreme Court after serving for almost two decades. Souter’s retirement will create the first vacancy on the high court for President Obama to fill. The White House reportedly expects Souter to retire in June. Of course, rumors are already swirling about the […]

Mar 26, 2009

Justices laugh, judge takes a leap

Nine days left, and less than 10 laughs separate the top three contenders — that’s DC Dicta’s count, anyway, in its ongoing quest for The Funniest Justice. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia maintains his six-laugh lead over Justice Steven Breyer, with the chief justice in third place. That’s all well and good, but give me the […]

Mar 23, 2009

This Week in Maryland Lawyer

What effect will the Supreme Court’s ruling on drug-label warnings, Wyeth v. Levine, have in the state’s trial courts? While it will undoubtedly move cases forward, lawyers in Maryland don’t expect a flood of new litigation. As one noted, “There hasn’t been this huge holding back” by trial lawyers here. MICPEL, already struggling with the […]

Mar 19, 2009

Kagan confirmed

Harvard Law dean Elena Kagan has been confirmed as the next solicitor general by a vote of 61-31, David Ingram reports on the Blog of the Legal Times. Check our Web site for the full report later.

Nov 12, 2008

Supreme Court retirements may not happen

Our sister blog, DC Dicta, has this piece on the prospects for turnover on the Supreme Court. The bottom line: don’t count on Justices John Paul Stevens (who is 88), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (75) or David Souter (a mere 69, but reportedly pining for New England) retiring just yet. As ABC News Supreme Court correspondent […]

Oct 22, 2008

Kennedy goes to China

A gibe at “self-important” law professors. A comparison of stare decisis to the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson (“Life is learned looking backwards. Life is lived going forwards”). A discussion of Eastern philosophy and a traveler’s moral versus legal responsibilities to a child about to fall into a well. No, you haven’t fallen into a […]

Oct 14, 2008

More than the robe is noir

North Philly, May 4, 2001. Officer Sean Devlin, Narcotics Strike Force, was working the morning shift. Undercover surveillance. The neighborhood? Tough as a three-dollar steak. Devlin knew. Five years on the beat, nine months with the Strike Force. He’d made fifteen, maybe twenty drug busts in the neighborhood. Devlin spotted him: a lone man in […]

Jul 21, 2008

Do convicted felons deserve guns too?

After reading about the disconcerting flesh-and-blood defense now being used by black defendants in Baltimore, another intriguing — and bit more credible — defense has caught my attention. According to an AP story, several defendants in federal gun cases are now arguing that the recent Supreme Court decision overturning D.C.’s handgun ban allows convicted felons […]

Jul 1, 2008

Lyrics and the Law

In one of the last dissents of the term, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. quoted an unusual authority: Bob Dylan. According to an article published in The New York Times Sunday, Roberts cited to the songwriter in his dissent on whether or not companies hired to collect on behalf of pay-phone operators have standing […]

Jun 26, 2008

SCOTUS nixes gun ban, ‘Millionaire’s amendment’

In two of the last three opinions of its term, the Supreme Court struck down both the D.C. handgun ban and portions of the “Millionaire’s amendment” to federal campaign financing laws, both by 5-4 votes. “[T]he enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy options off the table,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the five-judge […]

Jun 24, 2008

SCOTUS consensus? Not so much…

Think the declining number of 5-4 splits on the Supreme Court this term was a tribute to the Chief Justice’s consensus-building skills? Not so, says veteran SCOTUS litigator Walter Dellinger. Instead, he thinks the margins have been wider simply because the court has had fewer hot-button issues to resolve. “I’m doubtful as to whether it’s […]

Jun 23, 2008

Supreme Court stays out of W.R. Grace dispute

The Supreme Court declined to step into a dispute over the definition of “asbestos,” dashing the hopes of Columbia-based W.R. Grace & Co. and six of its former executives. The decision allows the prosecution to move forward with criminal charges under the Clean Air Act for the release of asbestos from its vermiculite mine in […]

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