Author: Art Lien

Courtartist is me, Art Lien. I’ve been sketching the courts since 1976, and for most of that time the U.S. Supreme Court has been my regular beat. I’ve been working almost exclusively for NBC News since 1980.

Courtroom sketching is a form of visual journalism or reportage drawing that is slowly dying out. Where once upon a time news organization each had their own artist covering a story, today a “pool” artist often sketches for all. It is a demanding and stressful discipline where the drawing is often done directly and under tight deadline.

Still Waiting For The Big Ones . . .

The Supreme Court announced opinions in four argued cases yesterday: Los Angeles v. Mendez, BNSF Railway v. Tyrrell, Esquivel-Quintana v. Sessions, and Impression Products v. Lexmark International. On a gray, rainy day the general feeling was . . . meh.  

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Opinion On North Carolina Redistricting

A little late posting this sketch from Monday of Justice Kagan announcing the opinion in Cooper v. Harris. Note that Justices Alito and Breyer were absent from the bench though they did take part in the decision. Justice Gorsuch (spell

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Fourth Circuit En Banc

The full Fourth Circuit – less two recused – sat in Richmond yesterday for the first appellate review of Trump’s travel ban. Next Monday the Ninth Circuit will also hear arguments on a Hawaiian judge’s order blocking parts of the

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Two Opinions, One Sketch

Justice Breyer had the opinions in both cases announced today, Venezuela v. Helmerich & Payne International and Bank of America Corp. v. City of Miami ( note, Justice Sotomayor was absent from the bench ). And although one courtroom sketch covered both opinions, I also

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Last Two Arguments Of The Term

On Wednesday the Justices heard arguments in the last two scheduled cases of the term. Between now and the end of June they will take the bench only to announce opinions, and possibly for the ceremonial investiture of Justice Gorsuch.

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Penultimate Argument Day Ringtone

A pair of civil jurisdiction cases on the next to last argument day of the Supreme Court’s term promised little in the way of news, but for a ringtone that sounded early into the first argument. Cell phones are not

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Arguments In Two Inmate Cases

The justices today heard arguments about whether an indigent defendant is entitled to truly independent expert assistance ( McWilliams v. Dunn ), and on the subject of ineffective assistance of counsel ( Davila v. Davis ).

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Trinity Lutheran Sketches

I thought the Court’s newest justice would have a lot to say during arguments in the church-state separation case, Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, heard yesterday. But Justice Gorsuch asked no questions until the very end, and then nothing very

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Kokesh v. SEC Sketches

Just a couple sketches from today’s very technical argument in Kokesh v. SEC . . .

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Sketches Of Justice Gorsuch’s First Day On The Bench

Justice Gorsuch took his seat on the Supreme Court bench for the first time today, actively questioning lawyers presenting oral arguments.

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