Supreme Court denies Adnan Syed's appeal for a retrial in murder case

The Supreme Court will not hear a new trial for Adnan Syed, featured in the 2014 season of the podcast Serial. Syed is serving a life sentence for murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, while they were both in high school.

From Vox:

The Supreme Court did not explain why it denied Syed’s petition asking it to review the case, and the Court’s denial of that petition does not mean that the justices believe that Syed’s lawyer behaved adequately — the Court takes only several dozen cases every year, and it rarely takes a case solely because it believes that a lower court erred.

As a practical matter, however, the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear this case means that Syed is likely to serve his life sentence — though he could still seek relief from a lower federal court in a federal habeas proceeding.

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Partisan Gerrymandering Upheld by Supreme Court

Political gerrymandering not an issue for the courts, SCOTUS rules 5-4.

The Notorious RBG is cancer free and will return to the Supreme Court

Frazzled American nerves should be calmed by Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathleen L. Arberg's statement that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is cancer free. The beloved justice is recovering and will return to hear oral arguments next week.

The Trump Administration was reportedly chomping at the bit to replace this well-loved member of the Supreme Court.

NPR:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has no remaining signs of cancer after her surgery last month, requires no additional treatment, but will miss oral arguments at the court next week to rest, the Supreme Court said Friday.

While odds for a recovery from the surgery she had are good, they go way up if the subsequent pathology report shows no cancer in the lymph nodes. On Friday, the court released a written statement saying there is no additional evidence of cancer.

"Her recovery from surgery is on track," court spokeswoman Kathleen L. Arberg said of the 85-year-old justice. "Post-surgery evaluation indicates no evidence of remaining disease, and no further treatment is required."

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Urban Dictionary attempts to incorporate Kavanaugh's definition of "Devil's Triangle"

A "Devil's Triangle" is a widely used term for an act of sexual congress between two men and a woman; but during his hearing, Brett Kavanaugh nonsensically insisted that this was some sort of drinking game. Read the rest

Kavanaugh accused of sexual misconduct in letter provided by Feinstein to federal investigators: REPORT

Sexual misconduct allegations today surfaced involving Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The FBI confirms receipt of “information” which Sen. Diane Feinstein spoke of earlier today. FBI tells reporters letter has been added to “Judge Kavanaugh's background file, as per the standard process.”

The New York Times published a bombshell report today on allegations of sexual misconduct against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. Read the rest

Baby bibs that look like Ruth Bader Ginsburg's collars

It's never too early to get your little ones started on the road to success.

Luckily for us, New Jersey-based Becky Rodriguez of Etsy store dirtsa studio has created some badass baby bibs which are perfect for getting them off on the right path.

They are fashioned after two of the most beloved jabots, aka collars, of the "most fashionable U.S. Supreme Court Justice," Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The first one is inspired by her all-time favorite, a woven lace one with white beads from Capetown, South Africa. The second is modeled after her golden, armorlike collar, the one she wears when issuing dissents.

Rodriguez calls her cotton screen-printed creations "Ruth Baby Ginsburg" and they are available for $16 each or both for $28.

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Should police be able to access your cellphone location history without a warrant? Supreme Court to decide.

The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to hear an important digital privacy rights case that will determine if police have to get a warrant to access your cellphone location data, which is archived by wireless carriers. Read the rest

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

This book on America's favorite supreme court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a hell of a lot of fun!

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg serves as a rollicking tribute to the octogenarian justice who is the darling of internet memes. In these troubling times Ginsburg's voice, wit and style may help preserve the United States. Photos, annotated dissent opinions, stories from friends and family all work together to tell the tale of an amazing life, and career in law.

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg via Amazon Read the rest

Ruth Bader Ginsburg joins the Washington National Opera

On November 12th, and for one night only, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will portray the Duchess of Krakenthorp in the Washington National Opera's production of "The Daughter of the Regiment."

Please note: this is not the Notorious RBG's first role in an opera! Also, while the Duchess does not sing she will bust loose with the funny.

Via NPR:

It's no cameo. According to the Washington National Opera, while this opera is "best known for its vocal acrobatics, the high-comedy antics" of the nonsinging duchess "often steal the show."

Indeed, for Ginsburg's one-night stand, the script has been altered. At one point, for example, after the duchess observes that the best leaders of the House of Krakenthorp have been "persons with open but not empty minds, individuals willing to listen and learn," she looks at the audience meaningfully, and asks, "Is it any wonder that the most valorous members ... have been women?"

She goes on to list the qualifications for admission to the House of Krakenthorp, some of which sound suspiciously like the qualifications for being a Supreme Court justice — i.e., "must possess the fortitude to undergo intense scrutiny," and have a "character beyond reproach."

The 83-year-old justice will join a long list of notables who have played the Duchess of Krakenthorp — among them comediennes Bea Arthur and Hermione Gingold and retiring opera stars like Kiri Te Kanawa and Montserrat Caballe.

Ginsburg has had a lifetime love affair with opera. She often lectures about the law in opera and has said that her one regret in life is that she could not be a real operatic diva.

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Clarence Thomas stuns courtroom by asking his first question in a decade

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is famous for rarely speaking in court. In fact, he hasn't asked a single question in ten years. But he broke his silence this morning on a case about domestic violence convictions and gun rights. He directed his question toward, Ilana H. Eisentein, a lawyer for the federal government:

“Ms. Eisenstein, one question. This is a misdemeanor violation. It suspends a constitutional right. Can you give me another area where a misdemeanor violation suspends a constitutional right?”

The New York Times says Thomas doesn't speak often because he was teased about the way he talked growing up:

He has offered shifting reasons for his 10 years of silence. In his 2007 memoir, “My Grandfather’s Son,” he wrote that he had never asked questions in college or law school and that he had been intimidated by some of his fellow students.

He has also said he is self-conscious about the way he speaks, partly because he had been teased about the dialect he grew up speaking in rural Georgia.

In Monday’s second argument, on judicial recusals, Justice Thomas was again quiet.

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Antonin Scalia, 1936-2016

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is dead at 79. The longest-serving judge on the court, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and became its most outspoken conservative, joining textualist and originalist interpretations of the U.S. Constitution with a scathing attitude that made his dissents and opinions enjoyable to laymen.

The New York Times describes him as having led a conservative renaissance on the Supreme Court—one likely to end sharpish having died during a liberal presidency.

He was, Judge Richard A. Posner wrote in The New Republic in 2011, “the most influential justice of the last quarter century.” Justice Scalia was a champion of originalism, the theory of constitutional interpretation that seeks to apply the understanding of those who drafted and ratified the Constitution. In Justice Scalia’s hands, originalism generally led to outcomes that pleased political conservatives, but not always. His approach was helpful to criminal defendants in cases involving sentencing and the cross-examination of witnesses. …

He was an exceptional stylist who labored over his opinions and took pleasure in finding precisely the right word or phrase. In dissent, he took no prisoners. The author of a majority opinion could be confident that a Scalia dissent would not overlook any shortcomings.

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What is marriage, anyway? Sesame Street's Grover and a cute child explain.

Helpful definition for anyone confused by the Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage in America.

Supreme Court explained in infographic

Recent rulings at the Supreme Court of the United States have left some people confused at its ideological composition, traditionally held to be perfectly balanced between four liberals and four conservatives, with a "swing vote" in the middle. In order to help explain what's going on, I prepared this useful info-graphic. Read the rest

Supreme court justice cites Dr. Seuss

A Dr. Seuss reference has been dropped in the nation's highest court. Read the rest

State Dept launches 'Free the Press' campaign while DOJ asks Supreme Court to force NYT's James Risen to jail

The US State Department announced the launch of its third annual "Free the Press" campaign today, which will purportedly highlight "journalists or media outlets that are censored, attacked, threatened, or otherwise oppressed because of their reporting." A noble mission for sure. But maybe they should kick off the campaign by criticizing their own Justice Department, which on the very same day, has asked the Supreme Court to help them force Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times reporter James Risen into jail. Read the rest

Hobby Lobby, IUDs, and the facts

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide later this year whether a corporation can have religious beliefs. Maggie Koerth-Baker looks at the science of birth control, and how it might inform the debate.

The Devil and Antonin Scalia

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told New York Magazine's Jennifer Senior that he believes in the devil. "He's a real person," Scalia says. From New York:

Have you seen evidence of the Devil lately?

You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore.

No.

It’s because he’s smart.

So what’s he doing now?

What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.

In Conversation: Antonin Scalia

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