News and information useful to Cleveland State College of Law students, faculty and staff.

Will the Insular Cases Be the Next to Be Overturned by Supreme Court?

The Insular Cases were a series of Supreme Court decisions that decreed limits to the rights of U.S. citizens in territories based largely on their race.  The cases arose from the U.S. acquisition of new territories from Spain after the Spanish-American War and the subsequent demands of residents of those places for equal rights.  The Supreme Court held that full constitutional protection of rights does not automatically extend to all places under American control only those places fully incorporated (that is deemed on the path to statehood by the U.S. government).

Currently the Supreme Court will consider whether to hear a case on this issue in Fitisemanu v. United States. This case is brought by U.S. nationals from American Samoa who do not have full U.S. citizenship.  American Samoans are U.S. nationals but not citizens, preventing them from voting in state and federal elections even when they become residents of a state. Natives of other territories are U.S. citizens who can exercise all constitutional rights provided they first move to a state.

This comes on the heels of the case decided by the Court in May of this year: United States v. Vaello-Madero in which both Justices Gorsuch and Sotomayor opined against the main ruling of the Insular Cases.

Now the American Bar Association’s (ABA) House of Delegates has passed Resolution 404 calling for equal rights for the 3.6 million residents of U.S. territories and rejecting the Insular Cases.

So now legal watchers, researchers, attorneys etc. have to wait and see what will happen next regarding the Insular Cases and rights for people in the U.S. territories.

ProQuest Congressional Database

ProQuest Congressional (linked from our database page) is a collection of historic and current congressional information and is one of the best databases for legislative history information. It is available on campus or remotely with authentication (CSU ID and PIN). One great feature is compiled legislative histories, which are created through gathering and organizing into one place all documents related to the passage of an important piece of legislation. Another feature of the product is the ability to search the social media of public officials. 

For more information on conducting legislative history research, see the Legislative History Research Guide.

ProQuest is also available as part of the Law Library Legal Research Seminars, which are available online via the Westlaw TWEN platform. Earn points for completing an online seminar by correctly answering 3/4 of the questions on that seminar’s quiz. When 100 points are earned, you are awarded a Law Library Legal Research Letter of Recognition and a Digital Badge, which you can post to your LinkedIn page.

Check out all available research databases on our database page.

Is the U.S. Supreme Court Too Powerful?

A recent New York Times article (via Yahoo) titled A Powerful Court asks the question if the U.S. Supreme Court is too powerful and should the justices’ time on the bench be limited with a term of years or a specific retirement age.  U.S. Supreme Court justices have lifetime appointments to the bench.  However, many other countries including many common law countries have some limitation on how long a judge may serve.  High courts in such countries as Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Israel must retire at 70. Federal judges in Canada retire at age 75. The Philippines, a former U.S. territory. requires judges to retire at 70. Many U.S. state judiciaries have similar limits.

To assist researchers in finding out more on the topic, we have compiled a short non-exhaustive bibliography:

  1. Retiring Life Tenure: On Term Limits and Regular Appointments at the Supreme Court, by Tyler Cooper, Amanda Dworkin, Dylan Hosmer-Quint, and Amanda Pescovitz, 42 Cardozo L. Rev. 2763 (2021).
  2. Age and Tenure of the Justices and Productivity of the US Supreme Court: Are Term Limits Necessary?, by Joshua C. Teitelbaum, 34 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 161 (2006).
  3. The Unintended Consequences of Term Limits for Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: Lessons From a Comparative Study of the Indian Supreme Court, by Sital Kalantry, 30 Tul. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 43 (2022).
  4. The Policy Consequences of Term Limits on the U.S. Supreme Court, by Ryan C. Black and Amanda C. Bryan, 42 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. 821 (2016).
  5. Ghosts of the Supreme Court: A Historical and Jurisdictional Analysis Justifying a Constitutional Amendment for Compulsory Medical Retirement, by Kristen E. Hahn, 54 Ind. L. Rev. 247 (2021).
  6. Designing Supreme Court Term Limits, by Shelby A. Mars, 13 Seton Hall Circuit Rev. 203 (2017).
  7. Term Limits for the Supreme Court: Life Tenure Reconsidered, by James Lindgren, 29 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 769 (2006).
  8. Why Justices Retire, by David Yalof, 88 Judicature 42 (2004).
  9. Reforming the Court : Term Limits for Supreme Court Justices, edited by Roger C. Cramton and Paul D. Carrington, (2006) (link to catalog).
  10. Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of The United States, Final Report (2021).

We Have PRIDE in Our Research Guide

Just in time for the end of PRIDE month is our recently updated Sexual Orientation & the Law Research Guide.  The guide covers books in our collection, journals, blogs, websites and databases.

Our newest database addition highlighted in the guide is HeinOnline’s LGBTQ+ Rights database. The database charts the gay rights movement in America and Includes government documents, case opinions, case briefs, books and pamphlets, as well as a curated scholarly article collection and interactive timeline.  Users can browse and search seven collections in the database: Marriage and Family; Employment Discrimination; AIDS and Health Care; Military service; Public Spaces and Society; Supreme Court Briefs; and Historical Attitudes and Analysis.

State of Ohio Moves to Outlaw Abortion in Wake of Supreme Court Decision

The Ohio Capitol Journal just posted an article on abortion in Ohio stemming from the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade today in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The state of play at the moment in Ohio is that abortion is still legal but not for long.  The article points out that Governor Mike DeWine will look to implement the previously-passed (in 2019) six-week abortion ban before moving on to any new abortion legislation.