“Chief Justice John Roberts’ game of chess” Read Joan Biskupic’s July 2016 end-of-term analysis for CNN here
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg calls Trump a ‘faker’; he says she should resign” Read Joan Biskupic’s July 2016 interview with Justice Ginsburg here
“Why Ruth Bader Ginsburg regrets her Trump comments” Read about Justice Ginsburg’s decision to express regret about her Trump comments here
“ ‘You get one shot’: How Justice Scalia viewed the world” Read Joan Biskupic’s observations on Justice Scalia after his death in February 2016 here
“May it Displease the Court: Race and Justice Sotomayor” Read the 2015 ProPublica interview with Joan Biskupic regarding how Justice Sotomayor changed the course of the Fisher v. University of Texas affirmative action case here
Articles from 2013-2015
READ REUTERS’ SPECIAL REPORT ON SUPREME COURT LAWYERS
WASHINGTON – The marble façade of the U.S. Supreme Court building proclaims a high ideal: “Equal Justice Under Law.” But inside, an elite cadre of lawyers has emerged as first among equals, giving their clients a disproportionate chance to influence the law of the land. A Reuters examination of nine years of cases shows that 66 of the 17,000 lawyers who petitioned the Supreme Court succeeded at getting their clients’ appeals heard at a remarkable rate. Their appeals were at least six times more likely to be accepted by the court than were all others filed by private lawyers during that period. See full report at link: http://www.reuters.com/
READ FOLLOW-UP STORY ON LAWYERS’ FEES IN GAY-MARRIAGE CASES
READ ABOUT THE AGENDA BEHIND THE HARVARD AFFIRMATIVE ACTION CASE BROUGHT ON BEHALF OF ASIAN AMERICANS
READ JOAN BISKUPIC’S COVERAGE ON DEVELOPMENTS IN THE NATIONAL LITIGATION OVER SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
As U.S. lawsuits seeking gay-marriage rights move toward a likely showdown at the Supreme Court next year, major law firms are rushing to get involved — but only on the side of the proponents. A Reuters review of more than 100 court filings during the past year shows that at least 30 of the country’s largest firms are representing challengers to state laws banning same-sex marriage. Not a single member of the Am Law 200, a commonly used ranking of the largest U.S. firms by revenue, is defending gay marriage prohibitions. Read full story on how Big Law is big on Gay Marriage.
With legal battles over gay marriage simmering across the United States, proponents are showcasing a group they had once sidelined: children. Lawyers are recruiting same-sex couples who have children, putting interviews with kids as young as seven in court filings, and organizing media events featuring teenagers. In May, for example, after a Virginia federal appeals court hearing, 16-year-old Emily Schall-Townley told a televised news conference: “These are my two moms. And this is my family.” The lawyers’ approach marks a strategic shift from several years ago, when proponents of gay marriage kept the focus away from children, if there were any. Read full story on this shift.
[In March] a baby in Tennessee made history: Emilia Maria Jesty was the first child born in the state to have a woman listed on the birth certificate as her “father.” The marital status of the baby’s parents was the subject of a flurry of court filings up to a few days before her birth. Valeria Tanco and Sophy Jesty were wed in New York, a state that recognizes gay marriage, and moved to Tennessee, which does not. They are among scores of same-sex couples who, working with advocacy groups, have filed lawsuits to expand gay-marriage rights following a major U.S. Supreme Court decision last June allowing federal tax and other benefits for same-sex married couples. Read story about the two moms and one baby who made history.
READ THE REUTERS NEWS STORY ABOUT JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR’S GROUNDBREAKING DISSENT IN AN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION CASE:
The first Hispanic Supreme Court justice has been on the bench for nearly five years but had never written an opinion addressing race in America until today. Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a sharply worded 58-page dissent on Tuesday to the court’s 18-page decision upholding a Michigan state ban on race-based affirmative action in education. Story here.
READ ABOUT THE COMPETITION AMONG LAWYERS TO GET CASES BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT:
Steven Levin lives alone on a boat docked off the coast of the Pacific island of Guam, about as far away from the U.S. mainland as an American resident can get. He has no wife or kids, no job, no phone or Internet service. But last year, the itinerant 64-year-old had something of great value to elite lawyers half a world away: a case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Within hours after the justices announced that they would hear it, attorneys at some of the nation’s most prestigious law firms began pitching their services to Levin, offering to represent him for free. Story here.
Select earlier News Coverage by Joan Biskupic
SOTOMAYOR KEEPS BONDS TO HISPANIC COMMUNITY TIGHT
A December 2009 story by Joan Biskupic examining Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s early months on the Court, including interviews with such prominent Hispanics as Lin-Manuel Miranda (“In the Heights”).
ABSTRACT: Justice Sotomayor’s community has embraced her and she, in turn, has shown a desire to sustain and celebrate the bonds with her people. In four months as a justice, she has reveled in her status as a role model and inspiration to Latinos. She attended a National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts gala and chose Latina magazine as the one media outlet for which she would sit for photographs. This month, she traveled to Puerto Rico, her parents’ homeland, to meet with territory and U.S. judges there. She announced the trip with news releases printed in Spanish and English — a first for the court. Read full story.
GINSBURG: COURT NEEDS ANOTHER WOMAN
A May 2009 story from Joan Biskupic’s interviews with Justice Ginsburg on the need for more women on the bench and how Justice Ginsburg’s male colleagues have treated her through the years.
ABSTRACT: Three years after Justice Sandra Day O’Connor left the Supreme Court, the impact of having only one woman on the nation’s highest bench has become particularly clear to that woman — Ruth Bader Ginsburg. ….
Justice Ginsburg recalled that as a young lawyer her voice often was ignored by male peers. “I don’t know how many meetings I attended in the ’60s and the ’70s, where I would say something, and I thought it was a pretty good idea. … Then somebody else would say exactly what I said. Then people would become alert to it, respond to it.” Even after 16 years as a justice, she said, that still sometimes occurs. “It can happen even in the conferences in the court. When I will say something — and I don’t think I’m a confused speaker — and it isn’t until somebody else says it that everyone will focus on the point.” Read the full story
SUPREME COURT’S STEVENS KEEPS CARDS CLOSE TO ROBE
An October 2009 story about Justice John Paul Stevens’s legacy and possible retirement plans.
ABSTRACT: The self-effacing man who is rarely recognized beyond the court’s marble walls is a powerhouse behind the scenes — and this might finally be his last term. Stevens’ retirement would leave a major gap among liberals and shake up a court already in transition with a new justice this term. Stevens has not hired his usual set of law clerks for the session beginning in October 2010. He says he is surprised by media attention to a signal he might retire soon. “That can’t be news. I’m not exactly a kid.” Read the full story
SUPREME COURT CASE WITH THE FEEL OF A BEST SELLER
Read about a recent Supreme Court case that seemed plucked from the pages of fiction.
ABSTRACT: In a small town, a local resident claims wrongdoing by a big corporation and wins a multimillion-dollar award after a jury trial. The corporation’s CEO then pumps enough campaign money into a judicial election to get a new judge on the state supreme court. During an appeal, that judge casts a critical vote siding with the corporation — and reversing the resident’s victory. …
Sound like the plot of a John Grisham novel? It is — his 2008 best seller, The Appeal. But it also resembles a real dispute between West Virginia coal mining rivals that now is before the U.S. Supreme Court. The decade-long dispute, a reflection of the growing questions surrounding judicial elections, tests whether an elected judge’s refusal to take himself off a case involving a chief financial backer is unconstitutional. Read the full story