supreme-court

Justices Reject Challenge to Waiting Period for Gun Purchases
‘The right to keep and bear arms is apparently this Court’s constitutional orphan’

The Florida shooting has sparked protests, such as this one near the White House over the weekend, calling for gun control.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Trump Likely Has Authority To Extend DACA Deadline, Experts Say
Competing camps within administration further complicate murky situation

Immigration rights demonstrators march in September from the White House to the Trump International Hotel and the Justice Department to oppose President Trump's decision to end the DACA program. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Legal experts dispute a claim from some senior Trump administration officials that President Donald Trump lacks the legal authority to extend his own deadline for ending an immigration program that protects nearly 700,00 people from deportation.

Senior White House and Cabinet officials in recent days have sent mixed messages about whether Trump could merely amend a September executive order that gave Congress until March 5 to legalize the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Podcast: ​In Search of the Ideal Political Map
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 3

Shirley Connuck, right, of Falls Church, Va., holds up a sign representing Texas’ 18th District, as the Supreme Court hears a case on possible partisan gerrymandering by state legislatures on October 3, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Courts are weighing in as never before on whether gerrymandering can be too political. If red and blue can no longer constitutionally dominate the mapmakers’ work, what are they to do? As Roll Call election analyst Nathan Gonzales explains, it’s very difficult to draw districts that are at once competitive, compact and fair to minority voters. And the 2018 primaries are about to get started.

 Show Notes:

Podcast: How Trump is So Quickly Remaking the Federal Bench
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 2

President Donald Trump arrives for Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in the Capitol rotunda to honor former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., on January 17, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The end of filibusters, changes in other Hill customs and subcontracting nominations to conservative groups – all have combined to make Senate judicial confirmations much more about “consent” than “advice,” CQ legal affairs reporter Todd Ruger explains.

Show Notes:

Supreme Court Hops Into Case About a Frog and Property Rights
But the justices will leave bearded seals alone

The dusky gopher frog has emerged as a touchstone for environmentalists and business groups feuding over property rights and government power. (Courtesy The Wildlife Society)

The Supreme Court jumped into a case about the government’s power to designate private land as critical habitat for an endangered frog species, but is staying out of another case seeking to protect the bearded seal from future threats of climate change. 

The justices announced Monday they will hear oral arguments about the dusky gopher frog and a 1,500-acre tract of Louisiana forestry land that could lose $34 million in development value because of the Fish and Wildlife Service designation under the 1973 endangered species law. The arguments will likely be scheduled for the next Supreme Court term that starts in October.

Supreme Court to Revisit Internet Sales Tax Ruling
Bipartisan group of lawmakers want previous decision overruled

From left, Sens. Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois want the Supreme Court to overrule a decision that prevented states from collecting sales tax on internet purchases. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court will decide whether businesses must collect sales tax on online transactions in states where they don’t have a physical presence, in a case closely watched by lawmakers, states and online retailers.

The case gives the justices a chance to reshape internet commerce, something Congress hasn’t done since the high court last ruled on the issue in 1992. Back then, the court barred states from collecting sales tax from vendors that were out of state.

Supreme Court Split on Ohio Voter Purge Law
Case could have consequences for this year’s midterms

Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty, second from right, joined rallygoers outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday to protest the Buckeye State’s voter purge law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Supreme Court appeared divided along familiar lines Wednesday as the justices considered how states such as Ohio can remove voters from registration rolls without violating federal laws to protect people who simply choose not to vote.

The case could affect this year’s elections and how states determine who remains on the lists of eligible voters. The justices will decide the case before their term concludes at the end of June, but did little Wednesday to foreshadow how they ultimately would rule.

Kennedy’s Tough Questions Add Layer to Wedding Cake Arguments
Spirited arguments lasted longer than expected Tuesday

Lydia Macy, center, of Berkeley, Calif., holds a sign outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday as arguments were being on heard on whether a Colorado baker’s refusal to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple is protected by the First Amendment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As a divided Supreme Court on Tuesday forcefully questioned where to draw a line between religious liberty and anti-discrimination laws in the case of a Colorado baker who declined to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, the justice likely to be the deciding vote appeared torn over how to rule. 

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy expressed reservations about a decision that would allow Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips to refuse to create wedding cakes for gay and lesbian couples because of his religious beliefs.

For the Love of Literature: Durbin Has Formed Relationships Over Books
The Senate’s go-to bookworm has countless reading buddies

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., has a book in there somewhere. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A Georgetown student and bookworm named Dick Durbin worked at Discount Books and Records in Dupont Circle in the mid-1960s. 

The store is gone now, but that same bookworm is still handing out books — now to senators, presidents and Supreme Court justices.

Judgment Days for Judicial Nominees
Several factors will affect schedule for Senate confirmation of judges

The Republican president and Senate have a chance to reshape the judicial branch, but several factors will determine how things stack up . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators face a lengthy list of President Donald Trump’s judicial picks, but consideration of the nominees could be affected by three significant factors: an extensive backlog of vacancies, Republican leaders’ willingness to continue altering chamber traditions, and the Democrats’ lack of motivation to aid GOP efforts to remake the judiciary.

There are 121 vacancies at the U.S. District Court level and an additional 21 vacancies on federal appeals courts, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.