U.S. Supreme Court | KUOW News and Information

U.S. Supreme Court

Some online sales are about to start costing more.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that states can require retailers to collect and remit sales taxes on out-of-state purchases. The 5-to-4 decision reversed decades-old decisions that protected out-of-state vendors from sales tax obligations unless the vendor had a physical presence in the state.

A fish-friendly culvert in Washington state.
Flickr Photo/Washington DNR (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/cCuMVy

A tie in the U.S. Supreme Court may cost Washington state $2 billion.

The court split 4-4 Monday in a long-running court battle between tribes and the state over salmon-blocking road culverts.


The U.S. Supreme Court issued a narrowly focused ruling Monday that favored Masterpiece Cakes, a Colorado bakery, which refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. But the 7-to-2 decision was on the narrowest of grounds and left unresolved whether business owners have a free speech right to refuse to sell goods and services to same-sex couples.

Sports betting
Flickr Photo/Baishampayan Ghose (CC BY-SA) / Flickr Photo/Baishampayan Ghose (CC BY-SA)

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the states can legalize sports betting.

In Washington state, that could only happen if the Legislature passes a law. And that would require a 60 percent majority.

Supreme Court SCOTUS
Flickr Photo/Kjetil-Ree (CC BY-NC-ND)/flic.kr/p/Hzv1u

The Notorious RBG was likely wearing her dissent collar this morning, as she issued a scathing rebuttal to the majority decision in today's case. At issue? A 5-4 ruling that upheld the ability of employers to force employees into individual arbitration. 


Updated at 7:08 p.m. ET

In a case involving the rights of tens of millions of private sector employees, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, delivered a major blow to workers, ruling for the first time that workers may not band together to challenge violations of federal labor laws.

FILE: U.S. Supreme Court
Flickr Photo/Phil Roeder (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/T2SxdT

Bill Radke talks to Lisa Marshall Manheim, associate professor at the University of Washington School of Law, about what arguments were presented in front of the Supreme Court Wednesday in favor and against Trump's travel ban. Washington state was among those suing the president over the executive order.

During intense arguments at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the justices, by a narrow margin, seemed to be leaning toward upholding the third and current version of the Trump travel ban.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is often the deciding vote in closely contested cases, for example, made repeated comments suggesting that the court does not usually second-guess a president's national security decisions — even in the context of an immigration law that bans discrimination based on nationality.

A fish-friendly culvert in Washington state.
Flickr Photo/Washington DNR (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/cCuMVy

Kim Malcolm talks with University of Washington law professor Robert Anderson about a U.S. Supreme Court case involving Native American fishing rights in Washington state. At issue is whether Washington state should pay to fix culverts, which block the passage of salmon.

Updated at 5:27 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that immigrants, even those with permanent legal status and asylum seekers, do not have the right to periodic bond hearings.

When Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg began her legal crusade, women were treated differently than men by law. By the time she first put on judicial robes she had already worked a judicial revolution.

Today the issues are both the same and different. At front and center is the question of sexual harassment.

Updated on Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. ET

Keith Gaddie has "hung up his spurs."

The election expert from the University of Oklahoma no longer helps state legislatures draw new district lines to maximize their partisan advantage.

He was still wearing those spurs in 2011 when he provided data that helped Wisconsin Republicans enact a legislative redistricting plan aimed at maximizing their power for the foreseeable future.

But now he has reversed course and filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the practice is undemocratic.

The U.S. Supreme Court will temporarily allow the Trump administration to block many refugees from six mostly Muslim countries without direct familial ties in the United States from entering this country.

In a brief order issued Monday, Justice Anthony Kennedy delayed implementation of a ruling issued by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last week that would have allowed entry to refugees with formal ties to resettlement agencies here.

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that taxpayer-funded grants for playgrounds available to nonprofits under a state program could not be denied to a school run by a church.

"The consequence is, in all likelihood, a few extra scraped knees. But the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.

The Supreme Court says it will decide the fate of President Trump's revised travel ban, agreeing to hear arguments over immigration cases that were filed in federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland and allowing parts of the ban that has been on hold since March to take effect.

The justices removed the two lower courts' injunctions against the ban "with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States," narrowing the scope of those injunctions that had put the ban in limbo.

The Slants
Courtesy of The Slants

Bill Radke speaks with Simon Tam of Portland band The Slants and Robert Chang, professor of law at the Seattle University School of Law, about the Supreme Court decision that allowed Tam's Asian-American band to trademark their name, which some argued was too offensive for the designation.

Tam explains how he feels this decision allows people to empower themselves against slurs and thinks this is a huge win for social justice.

Professor Chang disagrees with the SCOTUS decision, claiming that this could open the doors to discriminatory  trademarks that slip past civil rights laws. He also argues that trademarking names may in fact harm future social justice movements. 

Members of the Asian-American rock band The Slants have the right to call themselves by a disparaging name, the Supreme Court says, in a ruling that could have broad impact on how the First Amendment is applied in other trademark cases.

The Slants' frontman, Simon Tam, filed a lawsuit after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office kept the band from registering its name and rejected its appeal, citing the Lanham Act, which prohibits any trademark that could "disparage ... or bring ... into contemp[t] or disrepute" any "persons, living or dead," as the court states.

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

President Trump's administration filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday night seeking to reverse rulings by lower courts in Hawaii and Maryland that blocked a temporary ban on travel to the United States from six majority-Muslim countries.

The Trump administration says the Constitution gives the president "broad authority to prevent aliens abroad from entering this country when he deems it in the nation's interest."

Today, more Americans graduate high school and go on to college than ever before. But as the country becomes more diverse — the Census Bureau expects that by 2020 more than half of the nation's children will be part of a minority race or ethnic group — are colleges and universities ready to serve them?

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.

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

President Donald Trump shakes hands with 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch, his choice for Supreme Court associate justice in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Bill Radke talks to New York Times Magazine staff writer Emily Bazelon about the Senate vote on Judge Neil Gorsuch and what it means now that Senate Democrats are threatening to filibuster the the vote. 

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:

President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, to announce Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court. Gorsuch stands with his wife Louise.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Starting Tuesday morning, NPR Politics team cover the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

With security at the U.S.-Mexico border at the center of a seething controversy, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court seemed torn at oral arguments on Tuesday — torn between their sense of justice and legal rules that until now have protected U.S. Border Patrol agents from liability in cross-border shootings.

The Washington State Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that a florist who declined to do flowers for a same-sex wedding broke the state’s anti-discrimination law. But the same-sex couple who won the case, isn’t celebrating too enthusiastically just yet.

The highest court in Washington state says a florist violated the state's anti-discrimination law when she refused to provide floral services to a gay couple.

Is Thunderpussy too offensive to trademark?

Feb 13, 2017

Bill Radke talks to Molly Sides and Leah Julius of the Seattle band Thunderpussy and their struggle to trademark a name that the federal government has deemed too offensive. A case currently in the Supreme Court will determine if their name, among others, will be given trademark status. The members discuss why a trademark is so important, the misconceptions about their name and why they struggle with other names, such as the Washington Redskins, that would also benefit from this ruling.  

Bill Radke talks with Emily Bazelon about the ongoing court battle over President Trump's immigration and refugee travel ban. Bazelon is a staff writer for the New York Times Magazine and a senior research scholar at Yale Law School.

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