Supremes to cops: Warrant needed to search cell phones

With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans the privacies of life

Supremes to cops: Warrant needed to search cell phones

In a strong defense of digital age privacy, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police may not generally search the cellphones of people they arrest without first getting search warrants. Cellphones are powerful devices unlike anything else police may find on someone they arrest, Chief Justice John Roberts said for the court. Because the […]

Supremes give win to anti-gun forces

Supremes give win to anti-gun forces

A divided Supreme Court sided with gun control groups and the Obama administration Monday, ruling that the federal ban on “straw” purchases of guns can be enforced even if the ultimate buyer is legally allowed to own a gun. The justices ruled 5-4 that the law applied to a Virginia man who bought a gun […]

Supremes set to decide on 17 cases

Supremes set to decide on 17 cases

It’s crunch time at the Supreme Court, where the justices are racing to issue opinions in 17 cases over the next two weeks. The religious rights of corporations, the speech rights of abortion protesters and the privacy rights of people under arrest are among the significant issues that are so far unresolved. Summer travel, European […]

Segregation returning to American schools

Segregation is more prevalent in central cities of the largest metropolitan areas

Segregation returning to American schools

Segregation is making a comeback in U.S. schools. Progress toward integrated classrooms has largely been rolled back since the Supreme Court issued its landmark Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision 60 years ago, according to a report released Thursday by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. Blacks are now seeing more school segregation than […]

Supremes say ‘amen’ to prayer at public meetings

The prayers should not denigrate non-Christians or try to win converts

Supremes say ‘amen’ to prayer at public meetings

A narrowly divided Supreme Court upheld decidedly Christian prayers at the start of local council meetings on Monday, declaring them in line with long national traditions though the country has grown more religiously diverse. The content of the prayers is not significant as long as they do not denigrate non-Christians or try to win converts, […]

Race is increasingly significant

The Michigan amendment is so broad that it questions the existence of racial inequality

Race is increasingly significant

Behind every Supreme Court decision is a sociology of ordinary life. Opinions reveal the justices’ view of what’s what in the world, how people act and why things change. Justices probably prefer that we focus on their legal analyses, but we can glean the sociology behind their assumptions. Last week, judicial world views spun into […]

Supremes looking at ‘no warrant’ cell phone searches

Is looking at a smartphone's contents an invasion of privacy?

Supremes looking at ‘no warrant’ cell phone searches

The Supreme Court is considering whether police may search cellphones found on people they arrest without first getting a warrant. The court’s latest foray into the issue of privacy in the digital age involves two cases being argued Tuesday that arose from searches of phones carried by a gang member and a drug dealer. Police […]

Supremes nix big bucks award for child porn victim

The court said suit awards must be tied to victim's actual losses

Supremes nix big bucks award for child porn victim

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a plea to make it easier for victims of child pornography to collect money from people who view their images online, throwing out a nearly $3.4 million judgment in favor of a woman whose childhood rape has been widely seen on the Internet. Two dissenting justices said Congress should […]

Supremes OK Michigan’s affirmative action ban

The ruling bolsters affirmative action in education bans in California and Washington state

Supremes OK Michigan’s affirmative action ban

A state’s voters are free to outlaw the use of race as a factor in college admissions, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a blow to affirmative action that also laid bare tensions among the justices about a continuing need for programs that address racial inequality in America. The 6-2 decision upheld a voter-approved change […]

Justices appear skeptical in Internet streaming case

A good measure of skepticism sometimes leavened with humor

Justices appear skeptical in Internet streaming case

Grappling with fast-changing technology, Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to the shows they send out without strangling innovations in the use of the internet. The high court heard arguments in a dispute between television broadcasters and Aereo Inc., which takes free television signals from the airwaves […]