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  • Legal Memorandum posted September 23, 2013 by Elizabeth Slattery Overview of the Supreme Court’s October 2013 Term

    The Supreme Court of the United States begins its next term on October 7, 2013. The 2012 term was marked by a series of high-profile civil rights cases: a challenge to the Voting Rights Act coverage formula, a case dealing with racial preferences in higher education, Arizona’s proof of citizenship voter registration requirement, and, of course, the long-awaited same-sex…

  • Issue Brief posted March 20, 2012 by Charles "Cully" Stimson, Elizabeth Slattery Juvenile Life Sentences: Constitutionality of Life Without Parole for Teenage Murderers

    On Tuesday, March 20, the Supreme Court hears oral argument in two cases involving the constitutionality of sentences of life without parole (LWOP) for teenage murderers. The real issue before the Court is this: Will the Court again “find” or “invent” a heretofore undiscovered constitutional prohibition and thus strike an entire category of sentences for the most violent…

  • Legal Memorandum posted March 10, 2015 by Gene Schaerr, Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D. Memo to Supreme Court: State Marriage Laws Are Constitutional

    Over the past year, four federal circuit courts—the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits—have ruled that the states and their people lack the ability under the federal Constitution to define marriage as it has always been defined: as the legal union of a man and a woman.[1] In their breathtaking sweep, those four rulings are reminiscent of the U.S. Supreme Court’s…

  • Issue Brief posted March 18, 2013 by Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D. Marriage Matters: Consequences of Redefining Marriage

    The Supreme Court is considering challenges to state and federal laws that define marriage as the union of a man and woman. After lower courts ruled against these marriage laws, the Supreme Court now has the opportunity to uphold the laws and return to citizens and their elected representatives the authority for answering questions about marriage policy. If marriage…

  • Commentary posted July 17, 2014 by Andrew Kloster The Supreme Court's Top Ten Cases

    With the Supreme Court on summer recess, it's time to review the biggest cases of the October 2013 docket. SCOTUSblog's "Stat Pack" notes that the Court this term had a high degree of unanimity and a relative lack of 5-4 decisions. But by margins both large and small, the court issued a number of important cases. Reasonable people can, of course, disagree about the…

  • Backgrounder posted March 27, 2013 by Andrew Kloster Why Congress and the Courts Must Respect Citizens’ Rights to Arbitration

    In 1925, Congress passed the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA),[1] establishing a strong federal policy in favor of arbitration. A form of alternative dispute resolution, arbitration reduces litigation costs, a savings that is passed on to consumers. Despite its advantages, however, arbitration has recently come under attack in Congress, executive agencies, and the courts.…

  • Legal Memorandum posted December 13, 2011 by Paul Larkin Overcriminalization: The Legislative Side of the Problem

    Abstract: The past 75 years in America have witnessed an avalanche of new criminal laws, the result of which is a problem known as “overcriminalization.” This phenomenon is likely to lead to a variety of problems for a public trying to comply with the law in good faith. While many of these issues have already been discussed, one problem created by the overcriminalization…

  • Lecture posted January 9, 1998 by Matthew J. Franck Support and Defend: How Congress Can Save the Constitution from the Supreme Court

    When I was a boy, the comic books I devoured regularly featured an advertisement promising that Charles Atlas could turn any scrawny boy into a manly, muscled fellow. The ad usually contained a story of its own in comic-strip form, with a "98-pound weakling," sitting on the beach with a pretty girl, getting sand kicked in his face by a large bully who then taunts him…

  • WebMemo posted June 25, 2010 by Robert Alt Key Questions for Elena Kagan

    Before being confirmed to the United States Supreme Court, Elena Kagan must first be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. But before Kagan can be confirmed to this lifetime appointment, she has to answer questions before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Kagan comes to the committee with one of the thinnest records of any Supreme Court nominee in recent history. She has no…

  • Testimony posted July 21, 2011 by Robert Alt Barriers to Justice and Accountability: How the Supreme Court’s Recent Rulings Will Affect Corporate Behavior

    Testimony Before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary June 29, 2011 My name is Robert Alt. I am the Deputy Director and Senior Legal Fellow in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.[1] Thank you, Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Grassley, for inviting me to testify at this hearing on the topic of…

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  • Backgrounder posted June 22, 2015 by Daren Bakst A Decade After Kelo: Time for Congress to Protect American Property Owners

    On June 23, 2005, the United States Supreme Court held in Kelo v. City of New London[1] that the government can seize private property and transfer it to another private party for economic development. This type of taking was deemed to be for a “public use” and allowed under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. As a result, if a city claims that a…

  • Legal Memorandum posted May 7, 2015 by Elizabeth Slattery Who Will Regulate the Regulators? Administrative Agencies, the Separation of Powers, and Chevron Deference

    The Schoolhouse Rock classic “Three Ring Government” teaches children about the separation of powers embodied in the Constitution by comparing the three branches of government to a three-ring circus. The song explains that “no one part [of government] can be more powerful than any other.” The President is the “ringmaster of the government,” Congress is tasked with…

  • Legal Memorandum posted March 10, 2015 by Gene Schaerr, Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D. Memo to Supreme Court: State Marriage Laws Are Constitutional

    Over the past year, four federal circuit courts—the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits—have ruled that the states and their people lack the ability under the federal Constitution to define marriage as it has always been defined: as the legal union of a man and a woman.[1] In their breathtaking sweep, those four rulings are reminiscent of the U.S. Supreme Court’s…

  • Legal Memorandum posted January 28, 2015 by Thomas A. Lambert Respecting the Limits of Antitrust: The Roberts Court Versus the Enforcement Agencies

    The Basic Structure of American Antitrust Law When it comes to assuring low prices, high-quality goods and services, and product variety, there is no better regulator than market competition. Accordingly, the federal antitrust laws—chiefly, the Sherman and Clayton Acts—aim to promote vigorous competition among providers of goods and services. They do so by policing the…

  • Legal Memorandum posted September 18, 2014 by Elizabeth Slattery Overview of the U.S. Supreme Court’s October 2014 Term

    The Supreme Court of the United States begins its next term on October 6, 2014. The 2013 term featured a number of hot-button issues: campaign finance restrictions, racial preferences, pro-life speech outside abortion clinics, unions, legislative prayer, and a challenge to Obamacare’s Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate. Nearly two-thirds of the decisions were…

  • Issue Brief posted April 25, 2014 by Elizabeth Slattery Supreme Court 101: A Primer for Non-Lawyers

    A common refrain from lawyers is that they will take a case “all the way to the Supreme Court,” but it is easier said than done to get the Supreme Court to review a case. The Supreme Court of the United States agrees to hear only a small number of cases each term, so the odds are stacked against most litigants. The reasons why the Court declines to hear particular cases…

  • Legal Memorandum posted September 23, 2013 by Elizabeth Slattery Overview of the Supreme Court’s October 2013 Term

    The Supreme Court of the United States begins its next term on October 7, 2013. The 2012 term was marked by a series of high-profile civil rights cases: a challenge to the Voting Rights Act coverage formula, a case dealing with racial preferences in higher education, Arizona’s proof of citizenship voter registration requirement, and, of course, the long-awaited same-sex…

  • Backgrounder posted March 27, 2013 by Andrew Kloster Why Congress and the Courts Must Respect Citizens’ Rights to Arbitration

    In 1925, Congress passed the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA),[1] establishing a strong federal policy in favor of arbitration. A form of alternative dispute resolution, arbitration reduces litigation costs, a savings that is passed on to consumers. Despite its advantages, however, arbitration has recently come under attack in Congress, executive agencies, and the courts.…

  • Issue Brief posted March 18, 2013 by Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D. Marriage Matters: Consequences of Redefining Marriage

    The Supreme Court is considering challenges to state and federal laws that define marriage as the union of a man and woman. After lower courts ruled against these marriage laws, the Supreme Court now has the opportunity to uphold the laws and return to citizens and their elected representatives the authority for answering questions about marriage policy. If marriage…

  • Issue Brief posted November 13, 2012 by John Malcolm, Jessica Zuckerman Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008

    In September, the House of Representatives passed the reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA), which made key updates to the authorities granted to U.S. intelligence under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Reauthorization of the bill, which expires at the end of this year, has yet to be taken up by the Senate.…

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