Updated (6/26): Our Supreme Court scorecard

The Supreme Court will be handing down some big decisions in June that affect everything from equal rights to whether you own your own genes. Here’s an overview of the decisions, with an easy-to-understand description and key web links.

Supreme_Court_of_the_United_StatesConstitution Daily will update this list as decisions are announced. You can also use this list to go directly to decisions on the court’s website.

Windsor v. U.S.decided 6/26/2013
Subject: Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex marriage
Description: Does the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violate the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection for people of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their state? Decision announced at the same time as the decision on California’s law that bars same-sex marriage.
Outcome: Justice Anthony Kennedy says in a 5-4 decision that the federal law known as DOMA deprived the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Constitution.
Supreme Court link (after decision is announced): http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/slipopinions.aspx

Hollingsworth v. Perrydecided 6/26/2013
Subject:
Proposition 8, same-sex marriage
Description:  
The justices will decide if the state of Californian can define marriage as the union of only a man and a woman without violating the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Outcome:
Chief Justice John Roberts says in a 5-4 decision that the petitioners who sought the reaffirm California’s Proposition 8 didn’t have the legal ability to appeal a lower court decision.
Supreme Court link
(after decision is announced): http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/slipopinions.aspx

Shelby County v. Holderdecided 6/25/2013
Subjects: Voting rights, voter ID laws
Description: The Supreme Court will decide if parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 are still needed, which require states and local governments with a history of discrimination to get pre-clearance from the federal government before making any changes to voting laws.
Outcome: The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a key part of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965, sending the section that determines which states need extra attention about discrimination back to Congress to be re-written.
Supreme Court link (after decision is announced): http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/slipopinions.aspx

Fisher v. University of Texas at Austindecided 6/24/2013
Subject: Affirmative action
Description: The Supreme Court will decide if a public university violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment by considering race in its admissions process. Decision could update or overturn parts of the historic 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision.
Outcome: The court rules in a 7-1 vote against how University of Texas’ affirmative action policy was considered by a lower court, and sends the case back to court, avoiding a sweeping decision on affirmative action.
Supreme Court link (after decision is announced): http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/slipopinions.aspx

Arizona v. ITCA – decided 6/17/2013
Subject: Proof of citizenship, voter ID laws
Description: The court will consider Arizona’s decision to require voters to furnish proof of citizenship as it relates to the federal National Voter Registration Act, in a question of state versus federal jurisdiction over voting qualifications.
Outcome: In Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council, the court sided with the federal government, saying that Arizona’s evidence-of-citizenship requirement is pre-empted by the federal National Voter Registration Act.
Supreme Court link (after decision is announced): http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/slipopinions.aspx

Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis – decided 6/17/2013
Subject: Generic drug payments
Description:  
The court will decide if brand-name drug companies can legally make payments to keep generic competitors’ products off the market for a limited time.
Outcome:
The court ruled in a 5-3 decision that financial deals between drug makers that hold patents and potential generic competitors could be challenged in court—but one case at a time.
Supreme Court link
(after decision is announced): http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/slipopinions.aspx

Association for Molecular Pathology  v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – decided 6/13/2013
Subject: Gene patents
Description: Can a company hold a patent on human genes? This potential landmark decision involves BRCA genes, the ones used in the tests that diagnosed actress Angelina Jolie’s propensity to develop breast cancer.
Outcome: The Court says a naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated, but synthetic cDNA is patent eligible because it is not naturally occurring.
Supreme Court opinion: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-398_8njq.pdf

Maryland v. King – decided 6/3/2013
Subject: DNA evidence
Description:  Can states collect and analyze DNA from people arrested for, but not convicted of, crimes? The court will decide the ability to collect DNA versus a person’s right against unreasonable searches as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.
Outcome: A divided court allows warrantless DNA swabbing for people arrested under probable cause in felony crimes.
Supreme Court opinion: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-207_d18e.pdf

Windsor v. U.S.decided 6/26/2013
Subject: Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex marriage
Description: Does the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violate the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection for people of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their state? Decision may be announced at the same time as the decision on California’s law that bars same-sex marriage.
Outcome: Justice Anthony Kennedy said in a 5-4 decision in United States v. Windsor that the federal law known as DOMA deprived the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Constitution.
Supreme Court link (after decision is announced): http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/slipopinions.aspx

Hollingsworth v. Perry- decided 6/26/2013
Subject: Proposition 8, same-sex marriage
Description:  The justices will decide if the state of Californian can define marriage as the union of only a man and a woman without violating the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Outcome: Chief Justice John Roberts says in a 5-4 decision that the petitioners who sought the reaffirm California’s Proposition 8 didn’t have the legal ability to appeal a lower court decision.
Supreme Court link (after decision is announced): http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/slipopinions.aspx

 

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