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Snippets: Sotomayor Honored, Utah's Appeal, and NSA Metadata

By William Peacock, Esq. on December 30, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Happy Monday!

Because it's the eve of the eve of a holiday, and you're probably thinking ahead to where you'll be tomorrow night, we're not going to occupy your mind with an in-depth analysis of a SCOTUS case. (Besides, the Court is on holiday too -- there's nothing to analyze.)

So please, take some time from your busy holiday work schedule to enjoy this pre-holiday roundup, instead.

Sonia Sotomayor Drops the Ball

No, that's not figurative. Justice Sonia Sotomayor will literally drop the ball, as she was selected to press the button that starts the widely-watched New York ball drop on New Year's Eve.

She was selected for the honor due to her rise from humble beginnings in the Bronx to reach the nation's highest court. She is the first Supreme Court justice to receive the honor, and follows pop star Lady Gaga, boxing great Muhammad Ali as well as Bill and Hillary Clinton, who were honored in the past, reports Reuters.

Utah Gay Marriage Dispute Heads to SCOTUS?

After a district court struck down Utah's anti-gay marriage law, holding that the state had no rational basis for its denial of equal protection and due process to same-sex couples, both the district court and the Tenth Circuit refused to issue a stay on the opinion.

Same-sex couples have since flooded the county clerks' offices and obtained marriage licenses. Meanwhile, the state has plotted a path to the Supreme Court, where Justice Sotomayor again takes center stage. She handles emergency legal requests from the Tenth Circuit, and can make the decision to grant or deny Utah's request for a hold herself, or forward it to the entire court, reports the Salt Lake City Tribune.

Over at SCOTUSblog, Lyle Denniston reviews the procedural paths that the state could take in challenging the district court's opinion, from seeking immediate, direct Supreme Court review (unlikely to be granted), to waiting out the Tenth Circuit's expedited review.

NSA Metadata Cases Set up for SCOTUS?

After two district courts came to conflicting conclusions about the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's mass collection of phone "metadata" records (calling records, essentially) from all major telecommunications providers, many are opining that the cases are headed for the Supreme Court.

On our Technologist blog, we reviewed the two decisions, the controlling Supreme Court precedent (that was ignored -- ahem, distinguished -- by a lower court) and discussed the odds of a SCOTUS showdown.

From all of us at FindLaw, Happy New Year's Eve eve! Don't forget to make those resolutions, and if you have any suggestions for us to undertake in 2014, let us know on LinkedIn.

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