American Judges Association


Date of this Version

May 2003


Published in Court Review: The Journal of the American Judges Association, 40:1 (2003), pp. 18-31. Copyright © 2003 National Center for State Courts. Used by permission. Online at


The past term of the United States Supreme Court was dramatic, unexpected, and produced constitutional decisions that affect the nature and fabric of our society. The term had three or four “star” cases: the approval of affirmative action, the striking down of bans on gay sexual relations, the U-turn in the Court’s federalism revolution, and the restriction on punitive damage awards. These decisions and the other rulings in constitutional law outside the criminal field made up the bulk of the Court’s opinions for the 2002-2003 term.

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