U.S. Supreme Court

Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision involving a Missouri church ultimately could make it easier for religious institutions to seek out state money for non-religious needs.

The justices ruled 7-2 in favor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, which had sought a state grant to put a soft surface on its preschool playground, but was denied funding. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote it is “odious to our Constitution” to exclude the church from the grant program.

Phil Roeder / Flickr - CC

Drawing voting districts to favor one party or another, a process known as gerrymandering, is widely considered a key factor behind the country's intensely partisan climate. Today, we discuss the practice of "packing and cracking" in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's announcement this week to take up the issue.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Attorneys for two convicted murderers argued Thursday that the Kansas Supreme Court should overturn their death sentences.

Jonathan and Reginald Carr were sentenced to death for the 2000 murders of four people in Wichita. 

Sarah Ellen Johnson, an attorney representing Jonathan Carr, called the original proceedings 15 years ago “filled” with errors to the point where it wasn’t a fair trial.

“Did the accumulation of errors have any effect on the jurors’ verdict? I don’t see how it couldn’t have,” she said.

Mark Schierbecker / Wikimedia Commons

In a statement on Twitter Friday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, said she will oppose Federal Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The White House / YouTube

NPR's Politics team will live blog the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. The live blog will include streaming video, with posts featuring highlights, context and analysis from NPR reporters and correspondents. 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

These days political news provides plenty of fodder for Up To Date's Ethics Professors. Today, we ask them if it's okay for protestors to break the law for a cause. They also discuss whether Senate Democrats would be justified in stonewalling President Trump's new Supreme Court nominee, the same way Republicans refused to recognize President Obama's.

Updated Jan. 31, 9:34 p.m. - The state of Missouri has carried out its first execution since May of 2016.

According to a statement from the Department of Corrections, Mark Christeson's lethal injection began at 6:57 p.m., and he was pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m.

Patrick McKay / Flickr -- CC

Kansas lawmakers seeking to keep university campuses, hospitals and government buildings off limits to firearms are facing a familiar argument from opponents.

Namely, that such restrictions infringe on the right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“It’s a Second Amendment issue,” says Rep. John Whitmer, a Wichita Republican. “It’s a right to bear arms issue.”

kev-shine / Flickr -- CC

The Audiofiles look at some of the best new podcasts of 2016, from the serious (mental illness, embedded journalists) to the lighthearted (a discussion of the Baby-Sitters Club books).

Guests:

Sony Picture Classics

This time of the year can be heavy with tradition, but don't let yourself get stuck in the past. This weekend, Up To Date's indie, foreign, and documentary film critics are endorsing several movies that could embolden you to break from the familiar and find your own way in life. During the holiday shopping frenzy, make time to be inspired. Stop by your local theater for a flick with a friend.

Cynthia Haines

Eagle Huntress, G

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt may currently be Missouri's freshman senator but he has worked in the Capitol since 1997. Early in his career, he served as chief deputy whip for the GOP, eventually becoming House majority leader in 2005 and 2006.

Republican Roy Blunt has represented Missouri in Washington, D.C., for 19 years. After seven terms in the House of Representatives, Blunt moved to the Senate in 2010. Now, Blunt finds himself in a tight race against Democrat Jason Kander that may cost his party control of the U.S. Senate. Also, Brian McTavish presents the latest Weekend To-Do List.

With Donald Trump urging supporters to watch for instances of voter fraud, we find out how the Jackson County Election Board ensures fair and free voting. Then, a 1938 Supreme Court ruling forced the University of Missouri Law School to accept black students, or create a separate school for them. The litigant, Lloyd Gaines, disappeared soon after, but his case made history.

There is rarely unanimous agreement among the justices of the current Supreme Court of the United States, which means that for every majority opinion written, there is a dissenting one. We look at the influence dissenting opinions can have on future Supreme Court rulings.

Guest:

  • Edward Cantu is an associate professor at University of Missouri - Kansas City, School of Law.

CC--Wikimedia

Misdemeanor assault convictions for domestic violence were enough to invoke a federal ban on firearms, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Annie Sturby is the community safety assessment coordinator for the Kansas City-based Rose Brooks Center. She works with police, prosecutors and others in the community who interact with victims of domestic abuse.

Rarely do women ask for help obtaining a gun of their own, Sturby says.

Hiku2 / Wikimedia--CC

Updated: 11:58 a.m.

Missouri’s highly restrictive abortion laws are certain to face a court challenge now that the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down similar restrictions in Texas.

The high court on Monday, by a 5-3 vote, ruled that a 2013 Texas law placed an undue burden on women seeking to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion under the court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Courtesy Bonyen Lee-Gilmore

The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday about a controversial Texas law that imposes strict requirements on health clinics that provide abortions. The law requires doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals and meet ambulatory surgical standards.

The case is hugely consequential for abortion providers in Kansas and Missouri because both states have similarly restrictive laws.

Patrick McKay / Flickr -- CC

While the Gannon school funding case now before the Kansas Supreme Court has garnered most of the attention, there's another school finance case out there and that one has gone all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case, known as Petrella, was filed by parents in the Shawnee Mission School District in 2010 against the state. The parents argue the district should be able to raise unlimited local tax money to pay for education. The state right now caps how much money can be spent locally as a way to equalize education for all Kansas kids.

They were not the best of friends but, as the two first female Supreme Court Justices, Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were allies on key cases affecting the rights of women. Linda Hirshman, author of Sisters in Law, describes the lives and relationship of these two remarkable women.

The U.S. Supreme Court  handed down some historic decisions this week. Among those was Obergefell v. Hodges in which the Court upheld the right to marry for same sex couples in all 50 states. On this edition of Up To Date, we analyze the decision and hear reactions from across the spectrum. 

Guests: 

NPR's legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg talks about two impending supreme court decisions that will determine the future of the Affordable Care Act, and same-sex marriage itself. 

Anita Hill's 1991 testimony in the confirmation hearings for then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas ignited a firestorm, both in the media and the public.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with Hill about a new documentary that examines her experience giving the testimony and the fallout that resulted, both in the media and in her personal life.

Guest:

  • Anita Hill, professor of social policy, law and women's, gender and sexuality issues at Brandeis University

Mark Fischer / Flickr Creative Commons

Last week we saw the closing of another Supreme Court session with landmark rulings about religious freedom, cell phone privacy, and recess appointments. But there was another decision: a 5-4 ruling that may have an impact on unions and how they operate, including right in the Kansas City area. On Tuesday's Up To Date,  guest host Brian Ellison talks with the AFL-CIO's Craig Becker on the highest court in the land's ruling on union agency fees.

Wallyg / Flickr -- Creative Commons

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional.  Section 4 is the part of the bill requiring certain states, mostly in the south, to get federal approval for changes to voting regulations.  Professor Allan Rostron provides an initial reaction and potential implication to this ruling.

The United States Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police must obtain a search warrant to draw blood in routine drunk driving arrests.

The case stems from a 2010 drunk driving arrest in Cape Girardeau. At question is whether a Missouri Highway Patrol Officer violated Tyler McNeely’s protection from unreasonable search and seizure when he drew McNeely’s blood with neither a warrant nor his permission.

There has been vigorous public debate this election cycle about the Supreme Court; from the Citizens United case to the Affordable Care Act.

Missouri Drunk Driving Case Heads To U.S. Supreme Court

Sep 26, 2012
orangesparrow / Flickr

A Cape Girardeau drunk driving case is going all the way to the U.S.  Supreme Court.  The court will decide if police can give a blood test without a warrant.

Of all the ideological battles being fought in this country, none will have more impact on its future than those being waged between the White House and the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Thursday morning the Supreme Court  largely upheld the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments next week on the Affordable Care Act.