March 1, 2013 Chief Justice John Roberts noted that Massachusetts, which is not covered by the preclearance section of the Voting Rights Act, has a far worse record in black voter registration and turnout than Mississippi, which is covered by the act. But census statistics don't necessarily confirm that argument.
March 1, 2013 The case before the court tests the constitutionality of a California referendum, narrowly passed by voters in 2008, that reinstituted a ban on gay marriage. The U.S. is calling on the court to declare the California law unconstitutional, a violation of the principle of equal protection.
February 27, 2013 A majority of Supreme Court justices seemed ready to invalidate the section of the Voting Rights Act that applies to specific parts of the country where discriminatory voting procedures were once routine. Liberal justices were skeptical of the legal challenge, but the conservative majority sharply questioned the government's defense of the law.
February 27, 2013 The provision at issue in Wednesday's case before the court applies to parts of the U.S. where discriminatory voting practices were once rampant. The formula that covers those areas hasn't changed since 1975. The crux of the case: whether times have changed so much that Congress violated the Constitution when it reauthorized the law in 2006.
February 26, 2013 The court blocked a suit contending the law is unconstitutional from going forward, saying the challengers had no legal standing because they had not shown with sufficient certainty that they had been monitored. That decision all but ensures there will be no further challenge to the law.
February 26, 2013 Twenty-eight states and the federal government have enacted laws that provide for automatic DNA collection from people at the time of their arrest. The question is whether it is unconstitutional to do that without a warrant, for the sole purpose of checking the DNA against a national crime scene database.
February 23, 2013 The last time the Supreme Court heard a challenge to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, only one state asked that its key provision be struck down. But just four years later, seven states say the most effective civil rights statute in the nation's history has outlived its usefulness.
February 19, 2013 The Supreme Court limited the power of police to detain people who are away from their homes when police conduct a search. Separately, the justices ruled that drug-sniffing dogs don't have to get every sniff right in order for a search to be valid.
February 19, 2013 The Supreme Court hears arguments on whether the federal government can be sued for the actions of prison guards. It comes 50 years after the landmark Gideon v. Wainwright ruling required states to provide counsel for indigent criminal defendants, a case that also began with a long shot, longhand plea from behind bars.
February 8, 2013 By the end of this month, the federal government is expected to file briefs in a pair of same-sex marriage cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. One case poses questions so difficult that the president himself is expected to make the final decision on what arguments the Justice Department will make.
January 30, 2013 The nation's first Latina justice tells her story of rising from poverty to reach the epitome of the legal world.
January 20, 2013 By the time he is through with his inauguration on Monday, President Obama will have taken the presidential oath four times. In 2009, he had to do it twice after some stumbles between him and Chief Justice John Roberts. But as history shows us, his oath was not the first to suffer a few mishaps.