President Obama and his staff are still in the due diligence stage of selecting a nominee to the Supreme Court. Today, the eight justices were back in session with a full docket of cases. Here’s the latest on some of these cases as well a roundup of news coverage surrounding the upcoming nomination.
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois broke ranks with Senate Republicans and indicated that he would vote for or against Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Kirk, who is up for re-election this fall, wrote about his stance in an op-ed published in The Chicago Sun-Times. "I fully expect and look forward to President Barack Obama advancing a nominee for the Senate to consider,” he wrote. “I also recognize my duty as a senator to either vote in support or opposition to that nominee following a fair and thorough hearing along with a complete and transparent release of all requested information." –
A case over arrest warrants being used to stop and search suspects is currently before the divided high court. The case comes from Utah and is over illegal drugs found on a suspect apprehended when cops discovered he had outstanding warrant for a minor violation. A 4-4 tie means the court would not weigh in on the Constitutionality of using arrest warrants to stop and arrest people. Because of the sheer number of outstanding warrants in U.S. cities, this case is clearly important. For instance, the Justice Department has found that more than 80 percent of residents of Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer during a confrontation, have active arrest warrants. –
In a marijuana legalization case that was appealed before the Supreme Court, Colorado’s neighbors are suing the Rocky Mountain state over its fully legalized weed policy for medicinal and recreational use. Oklahoma and Nebraska are arguing that due to legalization, marijuana is unlawfully crossing over their borders (they have not legalized marijuana for either use). According to legal experts, the high court is unlikely to review Nebraska and Oklahoma v. Colorado because, “partially because the plaintiff’s case is so weak, and partially because one likely supporter of the case, Justice Scalia, is dead.” –
What does the lack of diversity on the Supreme Court mean? While it’s not surprising to find out that most of the justices attended Harvard Law School or Yale Law School, it is quite interesting to read the conclusions derived out of diversity research conducted by Jonathan Kastellec, an assistant professor at Princeton University, who has “… found that not only do African-American judges differ in how they rule compared to judges of other races, but also that their presence makes a difference. Their colleagues vote differently when serving in a racially mixed group compared to an all-white one.” -- FiveThirtyEight
Immigration, abortion, voting rights cases at stake. Three of the most contentious cases on the SCOTUS' plate originate in Texas, the home state of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. They include potential rulings on deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants (United States v. Texas), voting rights (Evenwel vs. Abbott); and access to abortion clinics (Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt) –