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Elena Kagan

February 24, 2013 | By Eric J. Segall
Over the next three months, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to end affirmative action, whether to overturn part of one of the most important civil rights laws in our country's history (the Voting Rights Act) and whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to the same marriage benefits as heterosexual couples. In almost every term, the justices exercise veto power over fundamental policy questions such as abortion, gun control and freedom of speech and religion.
March 4, 2014 | By Michael McGough
On Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of a death row inmate in Florida that raises this question: “Whether the Florida scheme for identifying mentally retarded defendants in capital cases violates Atkins vs. Virginia .” Atkins vs. Virginia is the 2002 case in which the court held that “the mentally retarded should be categorically excluded from execution.” The issue in Monday's argument was whether Florida could...
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.
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.
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.
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."
June 28, 2012 | By Ricardo Lopez and Chad Terhune
With the U.S. Supreme Court upholding President Obama's Affordable Care Act, state officials and healthcare leaders met the decision with mixed reaction, largely along party lines. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat, called the ruling on Twitter "great news for America's families. " And Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, in a statement, also heralded the news: "The Supreme Court today upheld the healthcare reform law passed by Congress in 2010, meaning Californians can be confident that access to affordable health insurance is finally a reality.
July 4, 2012
Re "Roberts shows he puts law above politics," June 30 What a sad state of affairs that we praise the chief justice of the Supreme Court because he "puts law ahead of politics. " Have we stooped that low? Of course, the country can be thankful thatJohn G. Roberts Jr.'s constitutional training brought him to his decision. Our country will be better for it. Are we to take from this that the four justices who voted against the Affordable Care Act put their politics before the law?
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.
June 24, 2011 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
The Supreme Court on Thursday put an extra burden on crime labs, declaring that a man accused of drunken driving has the right to demand that a lab technician testify in person about a blood test that showed he was impaired. The 5-4 decision was the latest to extend the reach of a defendant's constitutional right "to be confronted with the witnesses against him. " And once again, the outcome was driven by an unusual coalition of conservative and liberal justices. Two years ago, the court said a crime lab technician was a witness for the prosecution and, therefore, must be available to testify.
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