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Supreme Court 2001

Supreme Court 2002

Supreme Court 2003





U.S. Supreme Court — 2002


Below are archived updates on important cases at the Supreme Court affecting individual rights.

Government’s Hand in IOLTA Cookie Jar

Four years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court established that interest generated on client funds deposited in lawyers’ trust accounts is the private property of the clients.  But in arguments heard December 9, several justices seemed skeptical of following that decision to its logical conclusion by declaring that the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment constitutionally prohibits states from siphoning off the interest accrued on client funds in order to support legal aid programs for the poor...[more]

Judge Reinhardt’s Ricochet

Having ruled the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbids the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit last week focused its sights on the Second Amendment, declaring there is no individual right to keep and bear arms...[more]

Time to Close the Door on “Plused” Admissions

Race may finally be declared constitutionally off-limits when it comes to college admissions, nearly a quarter century after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an affirmative action program that admitted students to the University of California-Davis medical school based upon the color of their skin...[more]

High Court to Review at Least One Campaign Finance Case this Term

In what might be considered an appetizer before the much anticipated main course is served up by the constitutional challenge to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether a law banning corporate contributions to federal candidates goes too far and violates the free speech rights of advocacy groups organized as nonprofit corporations...[more]

Suing Government: Courts Part the Skirts of Qualified Immunity

Government entities and their insurance carriers should take note of a sea change in qualified immunity jurisprudence. The defense of qualified immunity to constitutional rights violations is increasingly and, in many instances, appropriately coming under attack since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against defendant officials last June in a case involving a prisoner punished by being lashed to a hitching post. Just last week, the First, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Eleventh Circuits each decided cases involving constitutional rights claims, and in each such case where the affirmative defense of qualified immunity was raised, the "state actor" was not entitled to its protection
[more]

Nike Seeks Supreme Court Review of Free Speech Abomination
Center for Individual Freedom to File Brief

In a significant first step toward re-establishing sanity in the First Amendment universe, Nike has asked the Supreme Court to review a decision by the California Supreme Court holding that Nike’s statements defending itself against public criticism regarding its labor practices were merely commercial speech entitled to minimal First Amendment protection...[more]

"Take Me Out to the Courthouse":
Opening Day of the Supreme Court’s October Term, 2002

The United States Supreme Court opened its new term on Monday with the traditional call of "Oyez, Oyez, Oyez" as all the spectators rose. But for more than 1,000 cases with certiorari petitions pending, it was a day of plunges as the Court announced its first list of cases turned down for appeal following its three-month summer break...[more]

The U.S. Supreme Court: A Preview of the October Term, 2002

On the first Monday in October, the marshal will call the Supreme Court of the United States into session to formally begin the Court’s October Term, 2002. The Court’s work for the upcoming term started back in January when the Court began the ongoing process of filling its docket by granting petitions for certiorari in the cases to be heard this fall, winter, and spring...[more]

Supreme Court Issues Four Narrow Rulings to End 2001 Term

The Supreme Court ended its 2001 term with divisiveness, issuing its four final rulings with three cases being decided 5-4 and the fourth at 6-3. In a term filled with many distractions, the greatest of which involved anthrax-related scares that moved hearings and complicated court filings, the disunion of the current Supreme Court is punctuated by the statistic that almost half of the 76 cases decided this term were either 6-3, 5-3 (with one abstention) or 5-4...[more]

High Court Sides with Police on Bus Searches

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that police may ask passengers aboard public buses to submit to searches without informing them of their legal rights to refuse the request...[more]

Dairy Farmers File Motion for Summary Judgment in Dairy Checkoff Case

On June 6, 2002, dairy farmers Joseph and Brenda Cochran, in conjunction with the Center for Individual Freedom, filed a motion requesting summary judgment in the case challenging the constitutionality of the mandatory dairy promotion program...[more]

Supreme Court Issues New Guidelines In Patent Infringement Cases

"The patent laws [reward] innovation with a temporary monopoly . . .. The monopoly is a property right; and like any property right, its boundaries should be clear. This clarity is essential to promote progress, because it enables efficient investment in innovation. A patent holder should know what he owns, and the public should know what he does not. For this reason, the patent laws require investors to describe their work in ‘full, clear, concise, and exact terms,’ …as part of the delicate balance the law attempts to maintain between investors, who rely on the promise of the law to bring the invention forth, and the public, which should be encouraged to pursue innovations, creations, and new ideas beyond the inventor’s exclusive rights."...[more]

High Court Pares Scope of ADA…Seniority Has its Privileges

Imagine you’ve spent most of your working life with your nose pressed to a 15-inch computer monitor. Each day your fingers trudge across a keyboard, entering an endless stream of data into intricate spreadsheets. Mental escapes come in oscillatory glances at the Britney Spears cutout taped to the wall of your cubicle. And then the promotion for which you’ve endured the last decade is on the horizon. Your escape from "cube row" to the corner office with the comfy couch and view of the river. But wait…[more]

Supreme Court Fills Free Speech Rx for Corner Drugstores

In Thompson v. Western States Medical Center, the Supreme Court has narrowly struck down a federal law that bans pharmacies from advertising "compounded drugs," holding that the ban violates the First Amendment right to free speech...[more]

Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Constitutionality of School Voucher Program

On February 20, 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the closely watched Cleveland, Ohio school voucher case, Zelman v. Simmons-Harris. The Center for Individual Freedom in conjunction with the Cato Institute, Friedman Foundation and Goldwater Institute filed an amicus brief in the case arguing that the school voucher program does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as opponents argue...[more]

An "A+" for Supreme Court Decision in Peer Grading Case

The United States Supreme Court issued its opinion Tuesday, February 19, 2002, in the peer grading case of Owasso Independent School District v. Falvo (No. 00-1073). Ruling for the school district, the Supreme Court held that allowing students to score each other’s tests and call out the grades does not violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)...[more]

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Another Case involving
Federal Privacy Law

Since its passage 27 years ago, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (the "Buckley Amendment") has essentially escaped Supreme Court review. This term, however, the Supreme Court has agreed, not once, but twice, to review the law...[more]

Supreme Court Round-Up

On April 16, 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a much-anticipated decision in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, the contentious "virtual" child pornography case. The 6-3 opinion, striking down portions of the Child Pornography Prevention Act (CPPA), has free speech advocates cheering, including those challenging the federal campaign finance legislation on First Amendment grounds...[more]

Peer Grading: An Issue for the Schools Not the Courts

As teachers and students return to schools following the holiday break, many school districts will begin reviewing their in-classroom grading procedures. This comes after oral arguments heard last month in a case before the US Supreme Court involving the legality under federal law of students grading one another’s papers...[more]


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