Category Archives: Civil Rights

April Argument Review IV – Race Discrimination and Voting

On April 24, the Court heard arguments in Abbott v. Perez, the third redistricting case that the justices have heard this Term. Unlike the other cases, Gill v. Whitford and Benisek v. Lamone, which involved partisan gerrymandering, this case involves allegations of racially discriminatory redistricting in violation of the Voting Rights Act and/or the Equal Protection Clause. … Continue reading April Argument Review IV – Race Discrimination and Voting

Dancing Away From Brown

Why in the world did Wendy Vitter refuse to declare her allegiance to that constitutional holy of holies, Brown v. Board of Education? U.S. Supreme Court Justices of the 1953 session Harris and Ewing/Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division During Vitter’s confirmation hearings this week, Senator Richard Blumenthal asked the federal district court nominee … Continue reading Dancing Away From Brown

Prisoners Rights and Attorneys Fees: Opinion Analysis of Murphy v. Smith

In an opinion published Wednesday, February 21, 2018, the Supreme Court decided a case about prisoners’ civil rights, Murphy v. Smith. This case stemmed from a 2011 incident at Vandalia Correctional Center in Illinois in which Petitioner Charles Murphy was punched in the right eye by a prison guard, placed into a chokehold during which … Continue reading Prisoners Rights and Attorneys Fees: Opinion Analysis of Murphy v. Smith

Martin Luther King Jr., the Law, and the Courts

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr Day, we are reposting this essay by ISCOTUS Co-Director Christopher W. Schmidt. Among the most important of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s contributions to American history were his commentaries on the relationship between the law and social justice. King’s views toward the law can be divided into two categories: law … Continue reading Martin Luther King Jr., the Law, and the Courts

This Day in Supreme Court History—June 23, 2003

On this day in 2003, the Supreme Court decided Grutter v. Bollinger, one of the Court’s most important rulings on the constitutionality of affirmative action. In a 5-4 ruling, the Court upheld the admissions policy of the University of Michigan Law School, which used race as one factor in its evaluation of applicants. Challenging the … Continue reading This Day in Supreme Court History—June 23, 2003

This Day in Supreme Court History—April 22, 2014

On this day in 2014 the Supreme Court announced its opinion in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. The case involved a 2006 amendment to the Michigan constitution, approved by a statewide referendum, that prohibited “all sex- and race-based preferences” in public education, employment, and contracting. The referendum was organized in response to Grutter … Continue reading This Day in Supreme Court History—April 22, 2014

This Day in Supreme Court History—January 11, 2000

On this day in 2000, United States v. Morrison was argued in front of the Supreme Court. Morrison was a constitutional challenge to a section of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) that provided a civil remedy for victims of gender-motivated violence by allowing them to sue for damages in federal court. The … Continue reading This Day in Supreme Court History—January 11, 2000

The Week Ahead – December 5, 2016

The Court will kick off this week by hearing oral arguments in Bethune-Hill v. Virginia Board of Elections on Monday. After the Virginia General Assembly redrew its legislative districts, the plaintiffs sued, alleging that race was a predominant factor in the redistricting. The Court will have to decide if Virginia’s political leaders unconstitutionally gerrymandered the … Continue reading The Week Ahead – December 5, 2016

The Fishing Expedition is Over: Victory for Affirmative Action in Fisher v. Texas

Guest Post by Vinay Harpalani, Associate Professor of Law, Savannah Law School Thursday’s decision in Fisher v. Texas II came down exactly 13 years to the day after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger—which created the basic legal framework for affirmative action in university admissions. And more than eight years after Abigail … Continue reading The Fishing Expedition is Over: Victory for Affirmative Action in Fisher v. Texas

The Unpredictable Justice Kennedy

The line on Justice Kennedy is that he’s tough to predict. Ever since Justice O’Connor’s retirement, he’s been the Supreme Court’s swing vote, and the swing of the swing vote introduces an element of suspense to many of the most contentious Supreme Court cases. His vote, to a greater extent than any of his colleagues, … Continue reading The Unpredictable Justice Kennedy