On the first day of what promises to be a steamy week in Washington, at least outside the Supreme Court building, the Court announced its opinion in a long awaited affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas. When the case was argued back in October it appeared that the University’s use of race as an admissions factor might be struck down.Instead, in an opinion by Justice Kennedy, the Court said such programs must meet the test of “strict scrutiny” as well as being“narrowly tailored”.
Surprisingly, for a case argued at the beginning of the term, there was but one dissenter in the 7-1 decision (Justice Kagan took no part), Justice Ginsburg.
“The Court rightly declines to cast off the equal protection framework …”, writes Ginsburg. “Yet it stops short of reaching the conclusion that (it) warrants.”
Justice Alito took a sip from his coffee cup.
… only 28 cases remain undecided.Dashing hopes of a long awaited decision on the affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas, argued last October the Court today announced only two opinions of less interest. At least they weren’t unanimous.
One thing a sketch artist at the Supreme Court needs to look for is whether Justice Ginsburg is wearing a jabot or one of her increasingly large doilies around her neck. Today, for the first time I can recall, she wore neither. She appeared to be wearing a sparkly necklace of dark crystals. I couldn’t quite make it out.
The above sketch is from the Title VII case argued today, Vance v. Ball State University.
Below are a couple of sketches from the other case argued dealing with federal antitrust law and Georgia’s state health care system, FTC v. Phoebe Putney Health System. Note again, Ginsburg sans jabot.
My sketches from the announcement of the Court’s opinion, and dissents, on the Affordable Care Act.
As they took their seats Justice Breyer was smiling; Sotomayor looked glum.
Justice Scalia was actually sitting as far back from Roberts as possible. Forgive the artistic license, but I wanted to get his expression in the frame.
A couple of sketches from today at the Supreme Court :
The Court heard arguments in two cases where juveniles were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Both prisoners were very ably represented by Bryan Stevenson, pictured above.
The Court also announced opinions in four cases. Pictured below, clockwise from the bottom right, are Justice Sotomayor, Justice Breyer, Justice Kennedy and Justice Ginsburg reading her dissent in Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Maryland.
The Supreme Court announced six opinions today. I have sketches of four of those opinions being read by their authors :
Justice Ginsburg had the the opinions in two cases, Bullcoming v. New Mexico and CSX v. McBride.
Justice Thomas, who turned 63 today, had the opinion in PLIVA Inc v. Mensing.
And Justice Kennedy read his opinion in Sorrell v. IMS Health.
It is beyond the capability of this wretched, inkstained courtartist to understand, much less explain the meaning of all these opinions, so I refer the reader to ScotusBlog.
As the Supreme Court comes into the final stretch of the term opinions on some of the eagerly awaited bigger cases are coming down.
Today Justice Scalia delivered the opinion in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, the largest ever class-action suit. Brought by female employees of the retail giant it accused Wal-Mart of sex discrimination in pay and promotion. Not surprisingly Wal-Mart won.
The other opinion on my watch list to come down today, American Electric Power Co. v. Conn., did not get as much attention. In an opinion written by Justice Ginsburg the Court said that the regulation of greenhouse gases is the job of the EPA, and that States cannot make an end run around the Clean Air Act by filling a “public nuisance” claim in federal court.
ScotusBlog’s Lyle Denniston on the global warming case can be found here.
NYT article on Wal-Mart is here.
A sketch of Justice Ginsburg reading her opinion in Skinner v. Switzer :
WaPo story here.
Justice Ginsburg today announced the opinion of the Court in three cases testing “honest services” statutes, the most notable of which is the case of Enron’s Jeffrey Skilling. A unanimous Court found that laws proscribing the fraudulent deprivation of “the intangible right of honest service” are unconstitutionally vague, and must be limited to bribery and kickback schemes (you can now go ahead and give that lucrative public contract to your brother-in-law, just don’t ask for your share).
Is this what was augured when the wheel fell off the cart?
For more on how this may affect the Blagojevich trial go here.
Just 18 days after undergoing major surgery Justice Ginsburg was smiling as she returned to the bench yesterday after the Supreme Court’s February break. She energetically questioned the attorneys arguing their case, at times rocking back and forth in her chair.