Overview of the 2013 Supreme Court Term


The Supreme Court transformed America's civil rights landscape in the final week of its 2012 term with a series of landmark decisions heading in opposite directions.

Read a summary of all the Court's major civil liberties-related cases from this term >>

Supreme Court Cases

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores & Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius

Religious Freedom, Reproductive Freedom

3/31/2014 - Whether for-profit business corporations are entitled to an exemption under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act from the general requirement that employer health plans include coverage for contraceptive care.

Wood v. Moss

Free Speech

3/26/2014 - Whether plaintiffs are entitled to a trial on their claim of viewpoint discrimination based on detailed allegations that anti-Bush demonstrators were treated less favorably than pro-Bush demonstrators by the Secret Service during a 2004 presidential visit to Oregon.

Lane v. Franks

Free Speech

3/10/2014 - Whether the First Amendment protects a public employee who testifies truthfully, under subpoena, at a public corruption trial.

Riley v. California

Search and Seizure

3/10/2014 - Whether the police may conduct a warrantless search of a cell phone seized from a suspect incident to arrest.

Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus

Free Speech

3/3/2014 - Whether a First Amendment challenge to an Ohio law prohibiting "false statements" about a political candidate "during the course of a campaign" was properly dismissed when the objecting candidate withdrew his administrative complaint after losing the election.

Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International

Free Speech

2/27/2014 - Whether the idea of using a third party to settle financial accounts among financial institutions to minimize risk through the use of a computer program can properly be patented.

Township of Mt. Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc. (Dismissed)


10/28/2013 - Whether housing policies that have a disproportionate impact on racial minorities and women violate the anti-discrimination provision of the federal Fair Housing Act.

United States v. Apel Decided

Free Speech

10/21/2013 - Whether someone who has been barred from a military base may subsequently be prosecuted for demonstrating outside the main gate of the base in a designated protest zone located on military property.

Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action

Racial Equality

10/11/2013 - Whether an amendment to the Michigan Constitution barring affirmative action at state universities and colleges violates federal equal protection.

Town of Greece v. Galloway

Religious Freedom

9/23/2013 - Whether the Establishment Clause prohibits legislative bodies from opening their meetings with sectarian prayer.

McCullen v. Coakley

Free Speech/Reproductive Rights

9/18/2013 - Whether a Massachusetts law creating a 35-foot buffer zone outside abortion clinics is constitutional on its face and as applied to three specific clinics in the state.

Kansas v. Cheever Decided

Criminal Justice

8/21/2013 - Whether the Fifth Amendment imposes any limits on the state's ability to introduce evidence derived from a court-ordered psychiatric examination of the defendant by the state's expert.

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