U.S. Supreme Court | KERA News

U.S. Supreme Court

The Trump administration's push to deport more immigrants in the country illegally has hit a legal speed bump.

For years, immigration authorities have been skipping one simple step in the process: When they served notices to appear in court, they routinely left the court date blank. Now, because of that omission and a recent Supreme Court decision, tens of thousands of deportation cases could be delayed, or tossed out altogether.

Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up four days of hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The committee is likely to vote on Kavanaugh in about two weeks.

And nothing in this week's often partisan-squabbling, protest-interrupted spectacle has changed the likely outcome: a party-line vote in favor of Kavanaugh's elevation to the high court.

Here's a look back at some themes, issues and events of the past four days.

1. "Women for Kavanaugh"

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Friday marks the fourth and final day of confirmation hearings for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee. Brett Kavanaugh finished testimony on Thursday.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faces a second round of questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

Updated at 10:55 p.m. ET

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh weathered another long day of questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday.

He was pressed once again for his views on presidential power.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., sought a promise from Kavanaugh that he would be willing to serve as a check on the president who nominated him.

Andrew Harnik / AP

After a sometimes raucous day of opening statements on Tuesday, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faces his first round of questioning from senators on Wednesday.

Updated at 10:21 p.m. ET

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is presenting himself as an open-minded judge who is guided by the law but not indifferent to the effects of his decisions, during a marathon day of confirmation hearings.

"I don't live in a bubble," Kavanaugh told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I base my decisions on the law, but I do so with an awareness of the facts and an awareness of the real-world consequences."

Andrew Harnik / AP

Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh started today. 

The 53-year-old federal judge is President Donald Trump’s pick to fill the spot left vacant by Justice Anthony Kennedy who retired in July.

Updated at 5:22 p.m ET

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh opened on a contentious note Tuesday, with Senate Democrats raising noisy objections that much of Kavanaugh's lengthy paper trail is still off limits.

The hearing proceeded despite Democrats' call for delay. Republicans, who control the Senate, hope to confirm Kavanaugh in time to join the high court when its fall term begins next month, cementing a 5-4 conservative majority.

Senate Democrats, who are divided on abortion policy, are instead turning to health care as a rallying cry for opposition to Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Specifically, they are sounding the alarm that confirming the conservative U.S. Court of Appeals judge could jeopardize one of the Affordable Care Act's most popular provisions — its protections for people with pre-existing health conditions.

The landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade is in the spotlight again with President Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement. The ruling found a constitutional right to privacy extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion.

Over a dozen years as a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., Brett Kavanaugh has weighed in on controversial cases involving guns, abortion, health care and religious liberty.

But after Kavanaugh emerged on President Trump's shortlist for the Supreme Court, a suggestion the judge made in a 2009 law review article swiftly took center stage:

"Provide sitting presidents with a temporary deferral of civil suits and of criminal prosecutions and investigations," Kavanaugh proposed.

President Trump's nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy was met with swift partisan response from many in Congress, emphasizing the power of a narrow group of uncommitted senators.

A large number of Senate Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., immediately announced that they plan to vote against Kavanaugh.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

President Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The announcement Monday night came less than two weeks after the high court’s swing voter announced his retirement. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would solidify the Supreme Court's conservative majority.

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

With just hours to go before the official announcement, President Trump has made a decision on his pick for the next Supreme Court justice, a source close to the decision-making process tells NPR's Mara Liasson.

But there is still no indication which of the four finalists it will be.

As of Monday morning, Trump was still deciding among Judges Thomas Hardiman, Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett.

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

The final hours of President Trump's decision-making on his second Supreme Court nominee are being described as hectic and unpredictable — and the president has still not made a decision.

"It's insane" over there, said a source close to the process. Few have had any sleep in Bedminster, N.J., as deliberations continue over the pros and cons of the potential nominees, and no one is sure which way the president is going to go, the source said.

The internal White House debate over who should replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court reflects the broader political split within the Republican Party — and the mistrust that is nursed by outside-the-Beltway social conservatives about the more establishment and business-oriented wing of the party.

So it is perhaps no surprise that a quintessentially Washingtonian fight has erupted between the supporters of the two leading candidates for the nomination, Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Updated at 5:58 p.m. ET

President Trump has narrowed his list of Supreme Court candidates to three, according to two sources close to the process.

The three are Judges Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Raymond Kethledge with Kavanaugh and Barrett as the top two at the moment.

It's important to maintain that caveat, because President Trump has not made a final decision, and it could change.

One day after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, a group calling itself Demand Justice staged a rally outside the court's front steps.

President Trump said on Friday that he plans to announce his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on July 9.

"I've got it down to about five" candidates, including two women, Trump told reporters on Air Force One as he traveled to his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. He indicated that he may interview one or two candidates there this weekend.

"It is a group of very highly talented, very brilliant, mostly conservative judges," Trump added.

Abortion rights advocates in Texas say the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy raises the stakes for laws passed by the state Legislature.

Kennedy has been the swing vote on rulings upholding access to abortions in the U.S. for decades. Most recently, he voted to strike down a Texas law known as House Bill 2, which forced the closure of multiple abortion clinics across the state.

During a rally in North Dakota Wednesday night, President Trump underscored the importance of protecting the GOP's Senate majority this fall, deeming it especially critical in the wake of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement.

"Justice Kennedy's retirement makes the issue of Senate control one of the vital issues of our time — the most important thing we can do," Trump told a crowd in Fargo.

Updated at 3:01 p.m. ET

President Trump said Wednesday he intends to nominate a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy from a list of names he first compiled during his 2016 campaign. He told reporters he had recently added five more names to the list. Here is a look at who is under consideration:

Updated at 5:54 p.m. ET

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement Wednesday, setting the stage for what promises to be an epic political battle over his replacement.

A Trump nominee is likely to be far more conservative than Kennedy, who, though appointed by President Ronald Reagan, voted with the court's liberals in some key cases.

Updated at 10:50 a.m. ET

In a blow to organized labor, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that government workers who choose not to join a union cannot be charged for the cost of collective bargaining.

The vote was a predictable 5-4. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion with the court's conservatives joining him.

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

In a 5-4 ruling that gave broad leeway to presidential authority, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Trump's travel ban that barred nearly all travelers from five mainly Muslim countries as well as North Korea and Venezuela.

The president's proclamation was "squarely within the scope of Presidential authority under the INA," the court wrote in its majority opinion, referring to the Immigration and Nationality Act.

"A moment of profound vindication"

Updated at 11:26 a.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court has reversed a lower court decision upholding a California law requiring anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers to more fully disclose what they are.

Civil rights attorneys say the Supreme Court's decision Monday in a Texas redistricting case showed how difficult it is to prove discrimination in voting laws.

The Supreme Court mostly sided with Republican lawmakers in the case, which challenged state House and congressional maps. Plaintiffs had argued lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minorities when they drew up the maps.

The Supreme Court of the United States
Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

Extinguishing the possibility that Texas could be placed back under federal electoral supervision, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday pushed aside claims that lawmakers intentionally discriminated against voters of color when they enacted the state's congressional and state House maps.

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