U.S. Supreme Court Reaches Decisions on Major Cases, With Some Surprise Alignments Among Justices

Jun 26, 2019

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The nation's highest court is completing its term this week, recently handing down rulings addressing free speech, racial discrimination, and the separation of church and state.  We'll look at what these decisions mean -- and what's left to be decided.  Also on the docket: the Trump Administration's addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census and the practice of gerrymandering. 


GUESTS: 

  • John Greabe, Director, Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership & Public Service, and  Professor of Law at UNH School of Law.
  • Jennifer Sargent,  Visiting Associate Professor of Writing and of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, with a focus on law, ethics, and civil rights. She is also a former public defender and district judge. 

Some of the cases we plan to discuss:

Flowers v. Mississippi: In a 7 - 2 vote, the Court overturned the death sentence of Mississippi inmate, Curtis Flowers, who alleged that racial discrimination in juror selection had led to bias in his murder trials.  The case was featured in the podcast series, In The Dark, as well as a documentary series, Wrong Man.  Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch dissented.  

  •  Of interest: The Flowers case is another example of President Trump's two Supreme Court appointees taking different paths

The American Legion v. American Humanist Association: In a 7 - 2 vote, the Court ruled that a 40-foot cross honoring soldiers who died in World War I could remain on state property in Maryland and does not violate separation of Church and State.  Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg dissented. 

Apple Inc., v. Pepper: In a 5 to 4 vote, the Justices handed a major victory to the plaintiffs in a massive antitrust lawsuit against Apple.  The Court ruled that iPhone users can pursue their case alleging that Apple is violating federal law by using monopoly power to raise prices of iPhone apps.  In this case, as in the Flowers case, the decision split President Trump's two nominees, Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. 

For SCOTUS reporting and analyis:

Coverage by Nina Totenberg, NPR's legal affairs correspondent; Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog; and Adam Liptak of The New York Times.