U.S. Supreme Court

Retired Justice John Paul Stevens, whose Supreme Court opinions transformed many areas of American law during his 34 year tenure, died at the age of 99 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., of complications following a stroke he suffered Monday.

Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed Stevens' death in a statement from the Supreme Court.

Claire Harbage / KUT

Local officials said they were encouraged by a Supreme Court decision today that essentially blocks a citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census.

Legislative districts in Virginia that the Supreme Court previously said were racially gerrymandered have to remain in their redrawn form, the court said Monday, giving Democrats in the state a victory.

The majority decision was written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who noted that because the entirety of state government wasn't suing to keep the fight going — the case was brought by the state's GOP-controlled House — then it is throwing the case out.

Three-quarters of Americans say they want to keep in place the landmark Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal in the United States, but a strong majority would like to see restrictions on abortion rights, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.

Rancorous Supreme Court Nomination Fights Go Back Further Than You Think

May 15, 2019
Marion S. Trikosko/Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

From Texas Standard:

When there's a vacancy on the Supreme Court, a president has the opportunity to fill that slot with someone who shares his or her political perspective and values. As a result, the president cements a legacy. But nominations can spark backlash from a opponents, which happened when Lyndon Johnson nominated Abe Fortas for chief justice as Johnson was finishing up his term as president in the late 1960s. Some conservative senators vowed to prevent the lame-duck president from pushing through his nominee. This happened more than 50 years ago, but it's an echo of what's happening today with our current president, his Supreme Court nominees and Congress.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

From Texas Standard:

On Tuesday, a new Texas Department of Criminal Justice policy went into effect, banning any religious adviser from being in the execution chamber with an inmate. The decision came after the U.S. Supreme Court, last week, postponed the execution of Patrick Murphy, a member of the Texas Seven group.

The court said his execution had to wait until Texas decided on its policy about the presence of spiritual advisers during executions. The state had originally denied Murphy’s request to have a Buddhist priest, which Murphy appealed because Texas had allowed advisers from other faiths to be in the execution chamber. In his opinion, Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that Texas needed to find a way to accommodate all faiths so as not to discriminate, or allow no advisers at all. TDCJ decided on the latter.

Two Supreme Court decisions just hours before a scheduled execution. Two decisions just seven weeks apart. Two decisions on the same issue. Except that in one, a Muslim was put to death without his imam allowed with him in the execution chamber, and in the other, a Buddhist's execution was temporarily halted because his Buddhist minister was denied the same right.

The two apparently conflicting decisions are so puzzling that even the lawyers are scratching their heads and offering explanations that they candidly admit are only speculative.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the execution of a Buddhist inmate on death row because prison officials wouldn't let his spiritual adviser be present in the execution chamber, even though they provide chaplains for inmates of some other faiths.

U.S. Supreme Court Again Reverses Death Sentence Decision For Texas Inmate

Feb 19, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court has for the second time struck down the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals' way of determining if a death row inmate is intellectually disabled and eligible for execution.

Lynda Gonzalez/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Ever since two important cases struck down gun restrictions in Washington, D.C. and Chicago – rulings that essentially protected gun ownership in the home – a question has remained as to whether it's legal to carry guns in public. But now, the Supreme Court is planning to review a case dealing with that very question; it's known by the shorthand "New York State Rifle."

Adam Winkler is a professor at UCLA School of Law who specializes in American constitutional law and the Supreme Court. Winkler says the case challenges a New York City ordinance that limits where people with permitted guns can bring them into public; they can bring them to specified gun ranges, for example.

The federal courthouse in downtown Austin on July 1, 2015.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Keeping track of federal court cases can be confusing even for reporters whose job it is to follow this stuff, let alone the general public.

Updated at 12:12 p.m. ET

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not taking part in Monday's oral arguments before the court.

The 85-year old liberal justice underwent surgery for cancer last month and also recently broke several ribs after a fall.

Ginsburg had not missed a day of arguments since she was confirmed to the court in 1993.

Despite not physically being at the court, she will be participating in the cases by reading the briefs and the transcripts of the oral arguments.

Gabriel C. Pérez

Groups working to eliminate the right to abortion in Texas are rethinking their legislative strategies now that Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a conservative, has a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Updated at 11:31 p.m. ET

A sharply divided Senate — reflecting a deeply divided nation — voted almost entirely along party lines Saturday afternoon to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A little more than two hours later, Kavanaugh was sworn in during a private ceremony as protesters stood on the court's steps.

Winn McName / Getty Images

The Senate is expected to vote Saturday on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh and — barring a major unforeseen development — in all likelihood, he will be confirmed by the narrowest of margins.

Updated 5:33 p.m. ET Friday

After GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine came out in favor of confirming him Friday afternoon on the Senate floor, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is all but certainly headed for the Supreme Court in very short order.

The Senate advanced Kavanaugh's nomination, 51 to 49, Friday. A final vote is expected Saturday.

There was a lot that went down Friday. What exactly happened and what does it mean going forward?

Updated at 8:41 p.m. ET

Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court cleared a key procedural hurdle in the Senate on Friday, and his confirmation now seems all but certain, after a key swing vote, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, declared her support in a speech on the Senate floor.

Moments after Collins completed her remarks, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced in a statement that he too will support the nomination when it comes up for a final vote.

That final vote is expected as soon as Saturday.

Updated at 10:12 p.m. ET

Judge Brett Kavanaugh issued a mea culpa of sorts on the eve of a key Senate vote that could determine whether or not he reaches the Supreme Court, admitting in an op-ed that his testimony last week forcefully defending himself from sexual assault allegations "might have been too emotional at times."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are scheduled to hold a news conference at 1:15 p.m. CT on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

It comes after the results of a new FBI background investigation were delivered to senators last night.

The video comes courtesy Fox News. 

Everything was on track. The show was out of the way. It was time to vote.

That's what Republican leadership and those supporting Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court thought — until Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake upended those plans, calling for a "short pause" for a limited, one-week FBI investigation.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET Saturday

President Trump has ordered the FBI to conduct a limited "supplemental investigation" into his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, to update the judge's background check, following a deal struck by Senate Republicans to move the nomination forward.

The move comes after Senate Republicans agreed to delay a vote on Kavanaugh's nomination to give the FBI one week to look into the allegation of sexual assault brought against him by Christine Blasey Ford, which the federal appeals court judge denies.

Updated at 8:47 p.m. ET

Judge Brett Kavanaugh was defiant and visibly angry as he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday afternoon, rebutting earlier emotional testimony from the woman who has accused him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford.

Tom Williams / Getty Images

Updated at 5:47 p.m. ET

Judge Brett Kavanaugh was defiant and visibly angry as he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday afternoon, rebutting earlier emotional testimony from the woman who has accused him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford.

Updated at 7:47 p.m. ET

President Trump attacked Brett Kavanaugh's second accuser Tuesday, saying she "has nothing" on the Supreme Court nominee and was "totally inebriated and all messed up" during a college party at which, she said, Kavanaugh exposed himself to her.

Trump, at a photo op during his visit to the United Nations, said the accusations were part of a "con game being played by Democrats."

Updated at 8:32 p.m. ET

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh says he isn't considering withdrawing following more allegations of sexual misconduct from decades ago, and he proclaimed his innocence in a new TV interview Monday evening.

"I'm not going to let false accusations drive us out of this process," Kavanaugh told Fox News' Martha MacCallum in an interview alongside his wife, Ashley.

The Trump administration's push to deport more immigrants in the country illegally has hit a legal speed bump.

For years, immigration authorities have been skipping one simple step in the process: When they served notices to appear in court, they routinely left the court date blank. Now, because of that omission and a recent Supreme Court decision, tens of thousands of deportation cases could be delayed, or tossed out altogether.

Updated at 5:22 p.m ET

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh opened on a contentious note Tuesday, with Senate Democrats raising noisy objections that much of Kavanaugh's lengthy paper trail is still off limits.

The hearing proceeded despite Democrats' call for delay. Republicans, who control the Senate, hope to confirm Kavanaugh in time to join the high court when its fall term begins next month, cementing a 5-4 conservative majority.

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continue today.

Editor's note: Parts of this story contain content that is sexually explicit.

Twenty years ago Friday, the long-running independent counsel Whitewater investigation had reached a crossroads, far from where it started, with prosecutors questioning President Bill Clinton about his relationship with a former White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.

Austin History Center, PICB 2011116

The landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade is in the spotlight again with President Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement. The ruling found a constitutional right to privacy extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion.

Pages