Crimes & Courts

The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments Wednesday in a Missouri case with the potential to open grant programs to parochial schools.

Updated at 2:47 p.m. ET

Judge Neil Gorsuch was confirmed Friday as the 113th justice to serve on the nation's highest court. The final vote was 54-45, mostly along party lines.

About two dozen Ohio Republicans who support President Trump's nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court took their message to the Statehouse earlier today.

This is how the Senate changes — not with a bang, but with a motion to overturn the ruling of the chair.

By a simple majority vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., set a new precedent in the Senate that will ease the confirmation for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on Friday, after 30 more hours of debate on the floor.

"This will be the first, and last, partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court justice," said McConnell in a closing floor speech.

Thursday is the day the judicial filibuster in the Senate is scheduled to die. There hasn't been much of an effort to save it, but there have been a lot of lamentations for the slow demise of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body (WGDB), otherwise known as the U.S. Senate.

Here are five insights into what the death of the judicial filibuster means:

1. The winners and losers

Sen. Rob Portman says he's hopeful Congress will be able to vote this week on Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, without invoking the so-called "nuclear" option—but he'd support it as a last result. 

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET.

Forty-one Democratic senators have now publicly announced that they will vote against ending debate this week on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. That means Republicans cannot at this time clear the 60-vote threshold needed to proceed to an up-or-down vote on the nomination. It also sets up an historic vote to end the Senate's filibuster rule for Supreme Court nominees.

Weekly Reporter Roundtable

Apr 3, 2017
Ohio Statehouse in Columbus
Alexander Smith / Wikimedia Commons

GOP Ohio lawmakers are working to pass legislation that will help curb the opiate epidemic in the state. Ohio had the most opioid-related overdose deaths in the country in 2014, with prescription opioids accounting for 22 percent of those deaths. The bill will prevent doctors from over-prescribing opiates and will require state officials to make available online patient education and counseling resources. Today we'll discuss this and the latest in state and national news with a panel of reporters. 

Guests:

The U.S. Senate could make history this week, but no one is feeling particularly good about it.

"It is depressing; I'm very depressed," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. "We're all arguing against it, but we don't know any other option."

The nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and the GOP blockade against Merrick Garland before him are forcing another showdown over whether to invoke the "nuclear option" and change the rules of the Senate to make it easier for a president to get all of his nominations approved.

Political Junkie Ken Rudin

Mar 31, 2017
President Donald Trump announcing Judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee at the White House on January 31st, 2017.
White House Official Photographer / Wikipedia Commons

As Judge Neil Gorsuch's confirmation vote for Supreme Court draws closer, it's becoming apparent that Democrats are prepared to filibuster. If he does not get the 60 votes needed to clear the Senate, Republicans could invoke the "nuclear option" and create a rule change that would allow Gorsuch to be confirmed with just a simple majority. Join us as we discuss this and the latest in political news with Ken Rudin. 

Guest:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the state of Texas has been using an unconstitutional and obsolete medical standard for determining whether those convicted of murder are exempt from the death penalty because of mental deficiency.

The 5-to-3 decision came in the case of Bobby James Moore, who killed a store clerk in Houston in 1980 during a botched robbery.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

On the final day of the confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch, the Senate Democratic leader announced his opposition to the Supreme Court nominee.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Chuck Schumer said Gorsuch "will have to earn 60 votes for confirmation," setting up a showdown with Republican leaders who may attempt to change Senate rules.

School districts must give students with disabilities the chance to make meaningful, "appropriately ambitious" progress, the Supreme Court said Wednesday in an 8-0 ruling.

The decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District could have far-reaching implications for the 6.5 million students with disabilities in the United States.

After a day of statements, Tuesday's Supreme Court confirmation hearing was all about answers. Judge Neil Gorsuch was careful in his responses to Senate Judiciary Committee members, but there were still a number of insights that marked the day. Read our full Day 2 coverage here. These are five highlights:

US Supreme Court
Joe Ravi / Wikimedia commons

NPR Politics team will live blog the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. The live blog will include streaming video, with posts featuring highlights, context and analysis from NPR reporters and correspondents.

At his Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Neil Gorsuch pitched himself as a reasonable jurist who would do his best to uphold the rule of law without any bias.

"Sitting here, I am acutely aware of my own imperfections," the federal appeals court judge told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. "But I pledge to each of you and to the American people that, if confirmed, I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the Constitution and laws of our great nation."

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that when clear evidence emerges after a jury verdict that there was racial bias during deliberations, the trial judge must make an exception to the usual rule protecting the secrecy of deliberations in order to determine whether the defendant was denied a fair trial. The vote was 5-to-3.

Writing for the court majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that racial discrimination is unlike other types of misconduct that may occur in the jury room because it "implicates unique historical, constitutional and institutional concerns."

In a reversal, the Supreme Court will not decide Gavin Grimm's lawsuit over a school policy that requires students to use the bathroom corresponding to their biological sex. The court was scheduled to hear the case this month.

With the Dakota Access Pipeline now cleared to cross under a reservoir in the Missouri River, one of the two Native American tribes fighting the pipeline has filed a legal challenge to the plan, according to the Associated Press.

ODRC

The Ohio Supreme Court is again considering a challenge by the state's only condemned female killer of her death sentence.

Sherrod Brown
Nick Castele / ideastream

Senator Sherrod Brown is not a fan of President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch.

After a dozen tumultuous days in the White House, President Trump on Tuesday night found a way to unite his party, delight his most ardent supporters and change the storyline on his nascent presidency in a single stroke.

It wasn't magic that did it, it was the choice of Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

President Trump has nominated conservative favorite Judge Neil Gorsuch to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

"Judge Gorsuch has a superb intellect, an unparalleled legal education, and a commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its text. He will make an incredible justice as soon as the Senate confirms him," Trump said in announcing his pick.

President Trump has made his pick to fill the ninth seat on the Supreme Court.

So now what?

President Trump's executive order on immigration late Friday ignited nationwide protests — and a slew of legal challenges.

At least four federal judges across the country have blocked part of the order and temporarily ensured refugees and travelers who reached U.S. soil would not be deported.

Here's an explanation of what happened so far and what could come next.

lethal injection chair
Wikipedia Commons

A federal judge has declared Ohio's new lethal injection process unconstitutional and delayed three upcoming executions.

President Trump says he plans to announce his pick for the U.S. Supreme Court next week.

The Trump administration has begun to float specific names for the high court's vacancy. The consensus seems to be that among the finalists on Trump's shortlist are Neil Gorsuch, a judge on the federal appeals court based in Denver; Judge William H. Pryor Jr. of Alabama, who served on the federal appeals court based in Atlanta; and Judge Thomas Hardiman of Pittsburgh, who serves on the 3rd Circuit Federal Court of Appeals.

Jonathan Waters
Nick Houser / WOSU

A fired Ohio State University marching band director has dropped all his legal claims against the university in exchange for it agreeing not to try to recover its costs from him.

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