Behind the Decisions of 2012

The 2012 Term of the Supreme Court wrapped up with many important decisions. The faculty of Chicago-Kent College of Law goes behind the decisions to explain what happened, why, and what it means for the future.

In Maryland v. King, the Supreme Court held that police could take DNA swabs of people who had been arrested of serious crimes. Professor Richard Kling, an expert in criminal justice issues, explains.

The unanimous decision of Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics held that human genes were not patentable under the law. Professor David Schwartz, who specializes in patent law, expounds upon the holding.

The Supreme Court decided not to decide in Fisher v. University of Texas – Austin, instead sending the affirmative action case back down to the lower courts for further scrutiny. Learn what this means from Distinguished Professor Sheldon Nahmod, an expert in civil rights law who has argued before the Supreme Court.

The Prop 8 case, also known as Hollingsworth v. Perry, was thrown out on standing, which meant that same-sex marriages in California was legal once again. Distinguished Professor Joan Steinman, who specializes in complex litigation and civil procedure, discusses why the case was thrown out and how it proceeded after the decision.

The Defense of Marriage Act was declared unconstitutional by a split court in US v. Windsor, allowing legally married same-sex couples to be recognized at the federal level. Family law Professor Katharine Baker, who submitted an amicus brief to the case, lays out what did and did not come from the decision.

In two separate cases this Term (Vance v. Ball State University and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar), the Supreme Court made decisions that protect employers from discrimination suits. Professor Laurie Leader, a practicing employment lawyer, explains both decisions and what they meant.

In a controversial split decision, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder. This specific strike down of part of the law means many different things going forward, and Professor Carolyn Shapiro, director of the Institute on the Supreme Court (ISCOTUS), explains what those are.

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