We’re moving on up…

Merry holiday!  We’ve got another legal website for you to bookmark.  SB founder Cara Gallagher got a gig writing as a weekend contributor for Jonathan Turley’s website.  Check out her posts here.  Turley is the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at George Washington University Law School, covers the Supreme Court for USAToday, and, oh yeah, is the attorney representing Congress in the ACA lawsuit against President Obama.  Blammo.

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On the docket for January: Traffic stops, Religious signs, & Deportation

Are you kidding us?!  January – the bleakest and most depressing month given its unfortunate proximity to the post-Holiday malaise – is looking up.  On the Court’s docket, as soon as we return from our holiday breaks, are the following cases:

Reed v. Town of Gilbert (January 12, 2015)

This case will ask to Court to answer a question about the size, number, duration, and location of signs posted by a church in Gilbert, Arizona.  After the church was cited for violating the town’s sign code they sued saying the codes violated their 1st Amendment right to free speech and expression. Continue reading

My day in Ferguson, Missouri

This idea of “psychological tourism” became one of many concerns that kept me up much of the night before I went to Ferguson. White tourism became my next fear. What if I come off sounding more privileged than I already look during my interviews and discussions? This seemed a forgone conclusion given my plan was to talk to residents about events that were likely going to reopen the emotional wounds of people who’d lost not only a son but also trust in law enforcement systems. I had to check myself this morning and ask if I really wanted this potentially perverse itinerary for the day:   Continue reading

OT14…Let’s do this. Heien v. North Carolina and Happy Bday to Us!

5-cent explanation: If police mistakenly stop you for a traffic violation can they still use evidence taken during a search despite the error?

10-cent explanation: This is the first post and first case to kick off the October term 2014. Another year, another case involving law enforcement conduct during vehicle searches. Last year’s 4th Amendment case involved police searches of cell phones during minor traffic stops. In June of 2014 the Chief Justice said, bluntly, “Get a warrant.” Although this case doesn’t question a warrant challenge, it does involve a constitutional aspect of the 4th Amendment. Recall that the 4th Amendment protects one against unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, places, or things. If police have reasonable suspicion of a driver they may stop the vehicle to check things out. The question in this case is whether the officer’s reasonable suspicion of the driver – who was stopped because he had one only working tail light – is enough to justify his stop and subsequent search of the vehicle.   Continue reading

The environment, greenhouse gases, and the SCOTUS: On Utility Air v. EPA

5-cent explanation: To what extent can the Environmental Protection Agency regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary, i.e. industrial, sources?

10-cent explanation: In 2007, SCOTUS ruled in Massachusetts v. EPA that the EPA could regulate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), per the Clean Air Act (1970), so long as they were deemed a danger to public health. The agency accordingly concluded that GHGs from motor vehicles were dangerous and began to regulate them. The agency also concluded if it was going to reduce GHGs from mobile sources, stationary sources should be regulated as well.   Continue reading

Reflecting on the Supreme Court’s previous term (OT13) – Where were you?!?

SB was fortunate to be back in the SCOTUS the last two weeks of the Court’s October 2013 term. If you’ve been following us, you know last summer was our first experience with SCOTUS reporting access and gumption. Cut to this summer.  SB was better prepared for mayhem, but access inside was surprisingly easier and attention paid to the decisions seemed less focused and more manic. That struck us as weird and it’s the point of this post – You should’ve been paying closer attention to the cases this year.

Access was likely easier this year because OT13 didn’t have the hype and crowd that OT12 did. The crowd just wasn’t there outside or inside the Court, and public interest only piqued after the final decision (Hobby Lobby) was announced. Over the five days SB was inside, the two pews reserved for those with hard press passes never had more than 8-9 reporters in them and the press gallery was thin.

A few thoughts on why the lethargy this June. Last year may have had sexier cases, literally. Same-sex marriage cases put butts in seats. So did affirmative action and voting rights cases. Two famous bottoms were in Court seats on a Monday last summer awaiting decisions on any of the three decisions – Justices O’Connor and Stevens. Reporters were packed into the gallery cheap seats assigned their spots by security, and on the final day we were even relegated to sitting in the “intern” section (with my people).   Continue reading

It’s not a dickey, doily, or dog collar – It’s a jabot

Oh…My…God.  Amazing!

This.  Just this...

This. Just this…

We were on vacation when this story broke and now we know to scrutinize every beautiful jabot – the bejeweled or lacy collar-like necklaces Ruth Bader Ginsburg wears on top of her robe – RBG wears on decision day like it’s our job.

Get your own at Etsy here.  No, they’re not as cool RBG’s from South Africa or the Metropolitan Opera house, but they’re a bit more in our budgets.