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Elena Kagan

NEWS
January 25, 2011 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
Six Supreme Court justices are expected to attend President Obama's State of the Union speech Tuesday, amid growing concern over the politicization of the nation's high court. A court spokesman would not identify which of the panel's nine justices would attend, but it appeared likely that Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas would be the three to skip the president's speech. Alito, who shook his head in disagreement as Obama spoke last year, had accepted an offer to teach law classes in Hawaii this week.
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NEWS
June 26, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court cleared the way Wednesday for same-sex marriages to resume in California as the justices, in a procedural ruling, turned away the defenders of Proposition 8. Chief Justice John Roberts, speaking for the 5-4 majority, said the private sponsors of Prop. 8 did not have legal standing to appeal after the ballot measure was struck down by a federal judge in San Francisco. "We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to," he said.
NEWS
June 28, 2012 | By David G. Savage, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of President Obama 's healthcare law Thursday, ruling the government may impose tax penalties on persons who do not have health insurance. The court's long-awaited ruling rejected a broad legal attack on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act brought by Republican state officials and the National Federation of Independent Business. The legal challenge focused on the law's so-called mandate that all must have insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty.
NATIONAL
March 21, 2012 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
Defendants in criminal cases have a constitutional right to a competent lawyer's advice when deciding whether to accept a plea bargain, the Supreme Court ruled, providing a significant expansion of rights that could have a broad impact on the justice system. "Ours for the most part is a system of pleas, not a system of trials," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said for the majority in a pair of 5-4 decisions. Noting that about 97% of federal convictions and 94% of state convictions result from guilty pleas, Kennedy wrote that "in today's criminal justice system, the negotiation of a plea bargain, rather than the unfolding of a trial, is almost always the critical point for the defendant.
NEWS
June 3, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON -- The police may take a DNA sample from people arrested for serious crimes, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in a major victory for law enforcement and crime victims. The 5-4 decision is likely to make the taking of DNA samples as common as taking fingerprints or a photograph when people are arrested. More than half of the states now require a DNA mouth swab when persons are charged with a serious crime, and many of the others were awaiting a Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the practice.
NATIONAL
April 5, 2011 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
The Supreme Court restored a death sentence for a Van Nuys murderer Monday, despite evidence that he suffered severe brain damage as a child. Scott Pinholster, who stabbed two men to death in a drug robbery gone bad in Tarzana in 1982, is an epileptic who suffered blows to the head in two auto accidents. His mother backed her car into him when he was 2, and his head slammed into the windshield during an accident a year or two later. By age 10, he was having outbursts at school. At 11, he was sent to a mental institution.
NATIONAL
June 30, 2010
"As a judge, you are on nobody's team. As a judge, you are an independent actor." Elena Kagan "You listen to her answers, you can see why Harvard picked her to be dean of the law school and you can see why she was picked to be the first woman as solicitor general. It was like being back and hearing some of the very best professors I had in law school listening to her answers. They were superb." Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) " She has been, in my view, a witness who has manifested a deep knowledge of the law, and she's certainly very adept at describing what she thinks about the law. By the same token, I think she's been very adept at avoiding very specific questions that could result in criticism of her point of view."
NATIONAL
March 4, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday expanded protections for whistle blowers covered by an anti-fraud law passed following the collapse of energy giant Enron, ruling outside accountants, auditors and lawyers cannot be fired or punished for exposing fraud. The 6-3 decision will have an effect in the mutual fund and financial services industries, the court said, because they rely heavily on outside contractors and advisers. The case before the court arose when two employees of a firm that did research for the Fidelity family of mutual funds revealed the funds were overstating expenses.
NATIONAL
March 25, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court's conservative justices sharply criticized part of President Obama's healthcare law Tuesday, suggesting they will rule later this year that requiring Christian-owned corporations to offer their employees contraceptives coverage violates the freedom of religion. “Your reasoning would permit requiring profit-making corporations to pay for abortions,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy told U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who defended the contraceptives provision of the Affordable Care Act. The administration's lawyer warned that the court would be adopting a “dangerous principle” if it gave employers a right to exempt themselves from federal laws based on their religious beliefs.
NEWS
March 26, 2013 | By Noam N. Levey and David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The lawyer defending California's ban on same-sex marriage drew skeptical questioning from swing justices Tuesday as the Supreme Court began two historic days of oral arguments considering the rights of gays and lesbians. Charles J. Cooper, whose clients include citizens who voted for California's 2008 Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage, tried to convince the justices that states should have the right to limit marriage to heterosexual couples because they can produce children.
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