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The Supreme Court's 2008-2009 Decisions on Court Access

The March to the Right Continues

By Gary F. Smith, Matthew Diller, Jane Perkins & Gill Deford

The Roberts Court continued on its conservative course, restricting plaintiffs’ access to federal court in several cases, involving pleading requirements, deference, standards for preliminary injunctions, stare decisis, and postjudgment relief. In Ashcroft v. Iqbal the Court again restricted Rule 8 notice pleading. Winter v. National Resources Defense Council, a case pitting environmentalists against the Navy, changed the standard that some appellate courts use to grant a preliminary injunction. Horne v. Flores made it easier to overturn remedial injunctions in “institutional reform” cases. In another case the Court found it easy to reject stare decisis when most justices disagreed with the precedent. However, the Court found that Title IX did not preclude a Section 1983 action and where politics, money, the judiciary, and corporate litigation mixed, recusal was required.

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