Nina Totenberg

The U.S. Supreme Court has once again let the lower courts delay in addressing a Texas law that for four months has, for all practical purposes, made abortion in the state illegal after six weeks of pregnancy, when many women do not yet know they are pregnant.

Three Supreme Court justices issued statements Wednesday addressing an NPR story about relations among the justices. On Tuesday, NPR reported that Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a longtime diabetic, had indicated to Chief Justice John Roberts that because of the omicron surge, she did not feel safe being in a room with people who are unmasked, and that the chief justice "in some form asked the other justices to mask up."

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Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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All right. To the U.S. Supreme Court now, which has not been this divided in decades. There is disagreement about masking, about social issues and about the Constitution itself.

Updated January 21, 2022 at 2:11 PM ET

It was pretty jarring earlier this month when the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court took the bench for the first time since the omicron surge over the holidays. All were now wearing masks. All, that is, except Justice Neil Gorsuch. What's more, Justice Sonia Sotomayor was not there at all, choosing instead to participate through a microphone setup in her chambers.

Updated January 13, 2022 at 6:30 PM ET

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration's vaccine-or-test rule Thursday, declaring that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had exceeded its authority.

But at the same time, the court upheld a regulation issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that mandates vaccines for almost all employees at hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers that receive federal funds.

Updated January 7, 2022 at 7:12 PM ET

The Supreme Court's conservative supermajority on Friday seemed ready to block some or all of the Biden administration's regulations aimed at increasing vaccinations nationwide.

At issue in the nearly four-hour argument were two regulations:

  1. One imposes a vaccine mandate for almost all workers at hospitals, nursing homes and other medical providers receiving federal Medicare and Medicaid funds.

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The U.S. Supreme Court's conservative supermajority seemed poised Wednesday to hand school-choice advocates a major victory, and potentially a large expansion of state programs required to fund religious education.

The handwriting on the wall came during a nearly two-hour argument involving a challenge brought by two Maine families to the state's unusual way of providing public education.

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Updated December 1, 2021 at 5:35 PM ET

The right to an abortion in the United States appeared to be on shaky ground as a divided Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on the fate of Roe v. Wade, the court's 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the United States.

An epic argument at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday: At issue is whether to reverse the court's nearly half-century-old Roe v. Wade decision and subsequent decisions declaring that women have a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

Until now, all the court's abortion decisions have upheld Roe's central framework — that women have a constitutional right to an abortion in the first two trimesters of pregnancy when a fetus is unable to survive outside the womb, until roughly between 22 and 24 weeks.

For nearly a half-century, abortion has been a constitutional right in the United States. But this week, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in a Mississippi case that directly challenges Roe v. Wade and subsequent decisions.

Those rulings consistently declared that a woman has a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy in the first two trimesters of pregnancy when a fetus is unable to survive outside the womb. But with that abortion right now in doubt, it's worth looking back at its history.

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case involving an FBI undercover operation at a mosque in California. Area Muslims are suing the FBI over a nearly year-long surveillance program that, at least publicly, yielded no results and proved a huge embarrassment to the bureau.

How it began

In hindsight, the covert operation unfolded like some sort of black comedy. As Ira Glass reported on This American Life back in 2012, "It is a cautionary tale, a case where we can watch everything go wrong."

Wednesday marks a showdown over guns at the legal O.K. Corral. The Supreme Court hears arguments in its first major gun case in more than a decade, and the new conservative supermajority seems poised to make gun regulation more difficult.

Updated November 1, 2021 at 1:08 PM ET

Abortion rights are front and center at the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, but not the way most people expected. The focus will not be on abortion rights, per se, but on the controversial Texas law designed to prevent court challenges.

Updated October 22, 2021 at 1:40 PM ET

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to review a controversial Texas abortion law on Nov. 1 but refused to block the law while it examines the state's unusual enforcement scheme and whether the Department of Justice has the right to sue to block the law.

This week, just days after the Boston Marathon took place for the first time since the pandemic began, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was sentenced to death for his role in the terrorist bombing of the race in 2013. The question in the case is not Tsarnaev's guilt. It is whether he was properly sentenced to death and whether he had a fair trial.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in a case testing the limits of public disclosure about the CIA's secret torture program after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The central issue of the case concerns whether a detainee at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, who has never been charged with a crime can subpoena testimony from the CIA contractors who supervised his torture.

Abu Zubaydah was the first prisoner held by the CIA to undergo extensive torture.

For the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, Monday marks the first time nearly all of them will gather together in the courtroom since the lockdown a year and a half ago. But if some of the justices greet the new term with great anticipation for a new conservative legal era, others likely are facing the term with dread.

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Updated September 20, 2021 at 8:02 PM ET

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Dec. 1 in a case from Mississippi that tests whether all state laws that ban pre-viability abortions are unconstitutional.

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has a warning to those who want to remake the court: Be careful what you wish for.

The Supreme Court's conservative majority tossed a legal bomb into the abortion debate late Wednesday night.

By a vote of 5-to-4, the court's most conservative members upheld, for now, a Texas law that, in effect, bans abortions after about six weeks. But almost as important as the result was how the court reached its decision — without full briefing and arguments before any court.

Updated September 2, 2021 at 12:20 PM ET

The U.S. Supreme Court late Wednesday night refused to block a Texas law that amounts to a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The vote was 5-4, with three Trump-appointed justices joining two other conservative justices. Dissenting were conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and the court's three liberal justices.

Updated September 1, 2021 at 12:48 PM ET

Legislation banning abortions after about six weeks is now the law of the land in Texas, effectively ending Roe v. Wade protections in the state.

The battle is now joined at the U.S. Supreme Court. This week the state of Mississippi formally asked the high court to reverse its landmark 1973 abortion decision, Roe v. Wade, prompting abortion-rights defenders to say, in effect, "I told you so."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Updated July 1, 2021 at 4:37 PM ET

The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday gutted most of what remains of the landmark Voting Rights Act. The court's decision, while leaving some protections involving redistricting in place, left close to a dead letter the law once hailed as the most effective civil rights legislation in the nation's history.

The 6-3 vote was along ideological lines, with Justice Samuel Alito writing the decision for the court's conservative majority, and the liberals in angry dissent.

Updated June 23, 2021 at 4:48 PM ET

In a victory for student speech rights, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a former cheerleader's online F-bombs about her school is protected speech under the First Amendment.

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