Articles Tagged with supreme court

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EraserBy now, you’ve all read that Justice Antonin Scalia made a series of mistakes in the dissenting opinion of EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. The Supreme Court issued a corrected version of the opinion on its website. For more on the story, read the coverage in the WSJ Law Blog, the Volokh Conspiracy, or SCOTUSBlog. They’ll give you the background – this post will discuss publishing implications, and why it’s problematic that the Court doesn’t notify the public when they make revisions to opinions.

Here’s how the Supreme Court’s electronic publishing process works. The first version of the opinion, called the bench opinion, is released in XML format to a handful of publishers (the “Project Hermes” feed). Later that day, a PDF version – the “slip opinion” – is released on the Court’s website. The slip opinions may be further edited, and then the official opinions are published in the bound volumes as citable opinions.

The Supreme Court’s website issues the following disclaimer about the slip opinions found therein:

Caution: These electronic opinions may contain computer-generated errors or other deviations from the official printed slip opinion pamphlets. Moreover, a slip opinion is replaced within a few months by a paginated version of the case in the preliminary print, and–one year after the issuance of that print–by the final version of the case in a U. S. Reports bound volume. In case of discrepancies between the print and electronic versions of a slip opinion, the print version controls. In case of discrepancies between the slip opinion and any later official version of the opinion, the later version controls.

The Court occasionally issues new versions of slip opinions, but they don’t always notify the public when they do so.  Professor Emeritus of Cornell Law School and legal information expert Peter Martin has written about this, noting that most changes are for minor typographical errors. However, there have been instances where a significant change was made:

Far more recent history includes the removal of a lengthy footnote from the majority opinion in Skilling v. United States, 561 U.S. 358 (2010).  The slip opinion file now at the Court’s web site carries no notice of the revision beyond the indication in the “properties” field that it was modified over two weeks after the opinion’s filing date.  To see the original footnote 31 one must go to the CourtListener site or a collection like that of Cornell’s LII built on the assumption that a slip opinion distributed by the Court on day of decision will not be changed prior to its appearance in a preliminary print.

The changes made to Scalia’s dissent in EME Homer were arguably significant. They were also very public. As far as I can tell, it was Law Professor Richard Lazarus who first discovered the error. He blogged about it, it was picked up by national news, and that’s why we know that the change was made. The Supreme Court notified Professor Lazarus of the change, but there is no mention of it on their site. They simply swapped opinions. Continue reading →

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In light of the Supreme Court’s decision last week to hear two cases regarding same sex marriage, we’ve collected some recent articles on the topic written by our Verdict writers. Check back with Verdict to see more on the issue throughout the 2012 – 2013 court term.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for Joanna L. Grossman’s newest column on the topic, as well!

Image credit: Joy Blankenship/Shutterstock.com

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Tomorrow brings one of the most highly anticipated decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court in recent years: the ruling on the constitutionality of the health-care law that is arguably the crowning achievement of President Obama’s first term in office. Incidentally, tomorrow also marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of Verdict, Justia’s legal analysis and commentary site. Continue reading →

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Today, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down three decisions: Astrue v. Capato, Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan, Ltd., and Holder v. Martinez Gutierrez. In both Capato and Martinez Gutierrez, the Court relied on the doctrine known as Chevron deference in reaching its decision. Continue reading →

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OyezToday Home ScreenTwice, I’ve reviewed PocketJustice by our friends at Oyez: a great app for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices for researching US Supreme Court Cases. Despite the strengths of PocketJustice, it lacked an easy way to follow current Supreme Court developments. It seems our friends at Oyez were aware of that, and have decided to release another app called OyezToday. This app for the iPhone and iPod touch is completely free through a sponsorship from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Much of the app works just like PocketJustice in that it shares the same features: bios of Supreme Court Judges, an archive of cases, and oral arguments with transcripts that follow along with playback. Unlike PocketJustice, however, this app is limited to much more current cases.

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PocketJustice Now Available for Android!In October, I wrote about the PocketJustice iPhone app from our friends at Oyez.  Since then they’ve released an iPad version (called PocketJustice HD) which takes advantage of the larger screen real estate to make researching faster.

Friday, they released both PocketJustice and PocketJustice Full for the Android Marketplace.  The Android version is much like the iPhone version, although thanks to Android phones having dedicated search and menu buttons, the Android version doesn’t waste as much screen real estate for a menu on the bottom of the screen.

Legal researchers in a hurry are also benefitted on the Android version by having access to Android’s voice search which allows you to say the name of a case and have your phone do the typing for you.

Like the iPhone editions, the free version of the app is limited to the information and audio for the top 100 constitutional law cases, while the $4.99 Full edition has access to over 600 cases and over 300 hours of audio.

For Android users, this is the first truly useful legal information app I’ve found.  You can find both in the Android Marketplace.

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On Monday, the Supreme Court released its 6-3 decision in Skinner v. Switzer. Skinner was convicted of capital murder in Texas, and sought to compel DNA testing to prove his innocence. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 64 bars defendants who did not request testing at trial from doing so post-conviction. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the defendant may seek access to the testing in federal court under 42 USC 1983, or whether that remedy was only available through a writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254.

The Court held that federal courts have jurisdiction to hear the defendant’s complaint in a Section 1983 civil rights action. Defendant neither was seeking “speedier” release from custody in the action, nor was he challenging a Texas court’s ruling on merits. He was only challenging their interpretation of the law. This ruling allows the federal court subject matter jurisdiction over the defendants’ claim–it does not reach the merits. Defense attorneys are pleased with this ruling because it “slays the procedural dragons” that inhibit petitioners’ efforts toward exoneration in federal court.

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The Supreme Court has handed down opinions in some of the cases that we blogged about back in October. Here are the updates.

FCC v. ATT

Back in October, I wondered whether this case would add to the growing list of personal rights for corporations. The short answer is no. The Court held that corporations are not entitled to a “personal privacy” exemption from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. 5 U. S. C. §552(b)(7)(C).

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Last week marked the formal launch of a new Supreme Court of California resource center, SCOCAL (http://scocal.stanford.edu). SCOCAL is a joint project between Justia and our friends at the Robert Crown Law Library at Stanford and Fastcase. There are lots of cool features in the site and, as ever, I encourage all our readers who are interested in California law to spend some time checking it out. Below is a brief summary of what you’ll find when you visit the site.

California Supreme Court Opinions – Browse through the full text of recent opinions by date, name or issue, or search the entire collection, which includes decisions from 1934 to the present. Click on the tabs located at the top of each individual case to access related information and documents.

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