Supreme Court

  • September 23, 2016
    Guest Post

    by Ashley Lawrence, co-president, ACS Student Chapter at Howard University School of Law

    On Tuesday Sept. 20, the Howard Law community celebrated Constitution Day commemorating the signing of the Constitution by our country’s Founding Fathers on Sept. 17, 1787.  Among the many relevant words within the living, breathing document are those contained in Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 which states: “The President […] shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint […] judges of the Supreme Court.” At present—more than 191 days after nomination —Supreme Court nominee and U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland awaits confirmation and has yet to receive even a hearing for a seat on the United States Supreme Court.

    The guest for Howard Law’s celebration of Constitution Day was none other than Chief Judge Merrick Garland. The lively “Arm Chair Conversation” between Chief Judge Garland and Howard Law Dean Danielle Holley-Walker was thought provoking and left me with two main takeaways. One—this is the longest any Supreme Court nominee has waited to be confirmed. His nomination is all the more important because his role in the federal judiciary, which plays a significant role in making decisions that address critical constitutional and civil rights issues, is currently diminished. Two—it is imperative that we learn in law school how crucial it is to participate in public interest opportunities and continue to commit to public service in our legal careers by investing in our communities to ensure the legal rights of society’s most vulnerable. Chief Judge Garland has demonstrated this commitment by volunteering with students from J.O. Wilson Elementary School for the past 18 years and by participating in the Annual Judicial Reception here at Howard Law for the past 14 years.

  • September 19, 2016

    By Caroline Fredrickson

    *This post is part of the ACSblog symposium: Constitution Day 2016.

    For the past few years, ACS has celebrated Constitution Day with the Annual Supreme Court Preview, a lively debate about challenges before the nine justices. Now, for obvious reasons, the Term starting October 3rd is different.

    With Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing in February and the refusal of Senate Republicans to consider the nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland, the Court is a diminished institution, limited in its ability to perform its constitutional role.

    With only eight justices at the end of the last Term, the Court was unable to resolve a number of critical cases, such as U.S. v. Texas, involving a nationwide injunction on the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) immigration program and the Zubik case, which asked whether non-profit religious employers can be required to provide their employees access to insurance coverage for contraception.

    Since 2000, one justice has determined many landmark cases that directly influence American lives. The ninth justice mattered in Bush v. Gore, deciding the 2000 presidential election; Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, unleashing unlimited corporate spending in campaigns; and Obergefell v. Hodges, upholding marriage equality.

    Looking forward at the coming term, the Court will again examine the constitutional contours of the death penalty and electoral redistricting. Undoubtedly more cases will be added to the docket. But just how many and on what topics seems directly related to when the justices can expect to be joined by a ninth colleague. Hopefully the justices will not have to wait much longer.

  • September 14, 2016

    By Kevin Battersby Witenoff

    Lawyers representing Detroit schoolchildren filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Gov. Rick Snyder and state officials in what they are calling the country's first federal case that pushes for literacy as a right under the U.S. Constitution, reports Ann Zaniewski of the Detroit Free Press.

    As Constitution Day approaches, Elizabeth Wydra in The Washington Times underscores the importance of the duties enumerated within it that will shape our country over the next eight years.

    According to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday. Georgia's voter registration process violates the Voting Rights Act and has prevented tens of thousands of residents, mostly minorities, from registering to vote, reports Kate Brumback of the Associated Press.

    Ann E. Marimow of The Washington Post reports that nearly a decade after the Supreme Court struck down the District’s long-standing ban on handguns, the city is again at the forefront of a legal battle over the Second Amendment.

  • September 13, 2016
    On Friday the Supreme Court refused to revive a Michigan law that barred straight-ticket voting, reports Adam Liptak of The New York Times.
    Sen. Bob Casey posted an editorial to Medium in which he calls for an end to the senatorial obstruction leaving judicial vacancies unattended on federal courts.
    Constitutional scholar Akhil Reed Amar is featured on an episode of the Diane Rehm Show during which he describes how to interpret the pressing issues Americans face today through the lens of the constitution.
    University of Texas at Austin Law Professor Stephen Vladek stresses the importance of trusting existing institutions. In an op-ed for Star-Telegram, Vladek asserts that civilian courts, not expensive military commissions, are the best places to bring justice to enemies of the United States.
  • August 17, 2016

    By Kevin Battersby Witenoff

    In The Hill, Melissa Boteach and Rebecca Vallas advocate to reform TANF and expound upon the necessity to improve other social welfare programs.

    The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Corrections on behalf of transgender woman, Reiyn Keohane. The ACLU and Keohane are alleging the DOC has infringed upon her Eighth Amendment rights by disallowing hormone therapy treatment, reports Andrew V. Pestano of UPI.

    The Huffington Post published an op-ed by Jason Steed in which he explains why it may be in Republican Senators' best interest to reconsider a hearing for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

    Annalyn Kurtz in The New York Times highlights the challenges faced by new mothers in a male-dominated field that are representative of the struggles females encounter in the workplace across the country.