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Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court Cases’

3 Trending Leading Issues: Supreme Court Edition

U.S. Supreme Court Building, Washington, DC <br />  By Daderot (Own work) [Public domain], <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org

U.S. Supreme Court Building, Washington, DC
By Daderot (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Debates on several Leading Issues are about to heat up. Over the next few weeks, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is expected to rule on several landmark cases addressing some of the most controversial issues of our day. Public awareness of SCOTUS may be limited, but these rulings will affect the rights of all Americans. These rulings are also likely to affect SCOTUS’s favorability, which has declined in recent years.

Here are three of the most talked about Leading Issues that SCOTUS will address in the coming weeks:

1. Health Care Reform

SIRS Leading Issue: Health Care Reform by ProQuest LLC via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

SIRS Leading Issue: Health Care Reform
by ProQuest LLC via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

King v. Burwell. This case addresses subsidies offered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The plaintiffs argue that the ACA only allows subsidies for health insurance purchased through state-run exchanges. The defendants argue that the ACA was intended to offer subsidies for health insurance purchased through federal- and state-run exchanges. According to the New York Times, if SCOTUS rules in favor of the plaintiffs, “about 7.5 million people could lose their subsidies in 34 states that use the federal health care marketplace.”

2. Same-Sex Marriage

SIRS Leading Issue: Same-Sex Marriage <br> by ProQuest LLC via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

SIRS Leading Issue: Same-Sex Marriage
by ProQuest LLC via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

Obergefell v. Hodges. This case addresses same-sex marriage. SCOTUS has raised two questions: Does the U.S. Constitution grant same-sex couples the right to marry? Should states without legalized same-sex marriage be required to recognize same-sex marriages obtained lawfully in other states? A ruling in favor of the plaintiffs could potentially legalize same-sex marriage in all fifty states.

3. Capital Punishment

SIRS Leading Issue: Capital Punishment <br> by ProQuest LLC via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

SIRS Leading Issue: Capital Punishment
by ProQuest LLC via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

Glossip v. Gross. This death penalty case addresses whether a controversial lethal-drug combination used to carry out executions violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. The plaintiffs argue that the sedative midazolam, the first drug administered in the three-drug series, fails to prevent prisoners from enduring the intense pain caused by the two other drugs. This severe pain, they argue, is cruel and unusual punishment. If SCOTUS rules in favor of the plaintiffs, states that use midazolam will have to find more reliable drugs or turn to other execution methods like firing squads.

ProQuest’s SIRS Issues Researcher and SIRS Government Reporter editors will follow all of the Supreme Court rulings in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

What do you think about these Supreme Court cases? Comment below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.

This Day in History: U.S. Supreme Court Decides Dred Scott Case

Dred Scott

Dred Scott, a Virginia slave, was the plaintiff in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Scott v. Sandford. Image credit: Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis [Public Domain]

On this day in history in 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision on the Dred Scott case, the outcome of which helped set the chain of events leading to the Civil War. Dred Scott was a slave who had been taken by his owner from Missouri (a slave state) to Illinois (a free state) and also to Wisconsin Territory (where slavery was banned).  Scott brought suit against his master, claiming that he was a free man because of his residence on free soil. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney ruled that Scott was still a slave and that anyone descended from black Africans could not become a U.S. citizen. The Court also struck down the Missouri Compromise, a federal law, as unconstitutional by negating the doctrine of popular sovereignty when it ruled that Congress had no power to exclude slavery from any part of U.S. territories. View the primary source DRED SCOTT v. SANDFORD in ProQuest SIRS.

To learn more about the Dred Scott case and other stepping stones in American civil rights history, direct your students to ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher, where they can find a range of editorially-selected resources. A Civil Rights Timeline highlights the expanding scope of civil rights in the United States, from colonial times to the present. Students can delve deeper by examining Leading Issues in civil rights, including affirmative action, gay rights, and privacy rights for teenagers.

Is there a civil rights issue you’d like to see us cover in ProQuest SIRS? If so, send us your suggestions in the comment box below.

U.S. Supreme Court Wraps Up a Momentous Term

The United States Supreme Court has recessed for the summer, but this year’s term saw more than its share of landmark opinions by the nine justices of the Nations’ highest court. Some of the noteworthy decisions that will have far-reaching impacts on American society include:

U.S. Supreme Court Building

U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.

Hollingsworth v. Perry: The proponents of California’s Proposition 8 ballot measure which bans same-sex marriage in that state did not have standing to appeal the district court’s order invalidating the ban.

United States v. Windsor: The Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The federal government is required to recognize same-sex marriages.

Shelby County v. Holder: Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is unconstitutional. Its formula can no longer be used as a basis for designating which parts of the country must have changes to their voting laws cleared by the federal government or in federal court.

Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin: Affirmative action and race-based university admissions policies must be strictly reviewed, but they are not illegal.

Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics: The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are not patentable because they are “products of nature.” Naturally occurring DNA sequences cannot be held as the exclusive intellectual property of companies or individuals.

Which of the recent Supreme Court decisions do you think is most important, and why? We welcome your comments in the space below.

Educators can turn to SIRS Government Reporter’s U.S. Supreme Court feature for primary source materials on these, as well as many other selected cases. Each case in SIRS Government Reporter includes a full-text version of the opinion, with an easy-to-understand summary explaining the question before the court and its decision. Cases can be browsed by topic, by Constitutional Article and Amendment, or alphabetically. Also find biographical information on current and past Justices, a reference article that explains the role of the Supreme Court and its history, a full-text version of the U.S. Constitution with amendments and historical notes, a list of supplementary references for students and educators, and more.

SIRS Government Reporter: U.S. Supreme Court

Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! All persons having business before the Honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting. God save the United States and this Honorable Court.” This rather archaic language is the traditional chant used by the Marshal to announce the entrance of the nine Justices of the Supreme Court into the courtroom.Group Photo of Supreme Court 2010

SIRS Government Reporter’s database feature on the U.S. Supreme Court provides educators primary source documents and other resources to promote students’ critical thinking skills by exploring how historic and recent Supreme Court decisions impact their lives and shape American society and history.

The feature offers fulltext versions of selected Supreme Court cases, including an easy-to-understand summary that provides a brief synopsis of the case and an explanation of the Court’s decision. Users can browse the Court’s decisions alphabetically by case listing, by Constitutional Articles and Amendments, or by topic. Find a glossary of terms, biographical information on current and past Justices, a reference document explaining the workings of the Court, view the text of the U.S. Constitution, and more. The Landmark Cases section provides information on the decisions that have significantly altered Constitutional doctrines. A list of supplementary references for students and educators is also provided.

Turn to SIRS Government Reporter’s U.S. Supreme Court feature for a wealth of information on the Nation’s highest court.