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2011 Supreme Court Cases: First Monday Kicks Off Critical Year

By Robyn Hagan Cain on October 03, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

As a 1L, a cranky professor told us, "First year law students are the only people who find the law interesting. That's why you don't have friends." While his analysis may still hold true, we refuse to apologize for being unabashedly excited about the Supreme Court.

Today is First Monday, that judicial Festivus that lawyers, professors, law students, and judges await all year, and the 2011 Supreme Court cases are giving us plenty to celebrate. Here are our top five current obsessions for the Fall 2011 term:

  1. Eyewitness Review. On November 2, the Court will hear arguments in Perry v. New Hampshire, addressing whether due process protections against unreliable eyewitness identification evidence apply to all identifications made under suggestive circumstances, or only when the suggestive circumstances were orchestrated by the police.
  2. Individual Mandate. Everyone’s waiting to see if the Court will grant a writ of certiorari to review the individual mandate provision of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA); popular opinion is that it will. A Supreme Court decision in an ACA challenge is likely to affect the 2012 Presidential election, no matter how the Court rules.
  3. GPS Tracking. Did the government violate a defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights by installing a GPS tracking device on his vehicle without a warrant or consent? The Court’s decision could substantially affect Fourth Amendment protections for the tech age. If the Supreme Court decides that GPS tracking is not a constitutional violation, will it prompt a walking craze?
  4. Full Faith and Credit. The Full Faith and Credit Clause is our second-favorite constitutional clause. (Necessary and Proper is still numero uno.) Will The Nine take up this clause célèbre, and grant writ in Adar v. Smith, the Fifth Circuit case finding that the Full Faith and Credit Clause applies only to state courts, not state government officials? The Court will consider the Adar petition during its October 7 conference.
  5. Immigration Reform. Will the Supreme Court strike Arizona’s “anti-immigration” law, S.B. 1070?

As NPR’s Supreme Court expert Nina Totenberg noted this morning, this is a term full of cases with straight up “sex appeal.” Even if you are no longer a1L.

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