Friday, June 19, 2009

Ahead in the Supreme Court

As the United States Supreme Court moves into the final days of its current Term, there are ten cases which have been argued and are not yet decided. Five of the cases will undoubtedly receive national press attention.

The most politically charged case is Ricci v. DeStefano. As I have discussed previously (May 27), this is the case in which Judge Sonia Sotomayor sat on a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit which, in a brief opinion, upheld New Haven's decision not to certify a fire department promotion examination on the grounds the examination results had a disparate impact on racial minorities. However the Supreme Court decides the matter, we can expect that the case will be the Judge's most discussed decision at the Senate confirmation hearings which are scheduled to begin July 13.

The most awaited case involving governmental searches is Stafford United School District v. Redding, which involves the strip search of a young student by school officials.

For prosecutors and defense counsel Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts will be the much awaited ruling on whether forensic laboratory reports are admissible in criminal trials without being subject to the strict rules of cross-examination the Supreme Court has enunciated in recent years.

The most important case with respect to the financial downturn is Cuomo v. The Clearing House Association, in which the Court must decide whether the National Bank Act preempts state enforcement of state laws against national banks. The downturn has exposed deep flaws in the federal regulation of banks, and the question is to what extent, if any, will this affect the Court's determination of the preemption question.

Finally, some maintain that the Court's ruling in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder will decide the continued viability of the federal Voting Rights Act.

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