It was late October 2000, and opinion was split around the cabinet table. In a landmark ruling a few weeks previously, the High Court had decided that(...)

 Supreme Court judges at  an appeal by the State against a landmark decision in favour of Kathryn Sinnot and her son Jamie, who has autistm, in 2001. It was the first time seven Supreme Court judges had assembled to determine a constitutional issue. From left: Hugh Geoghegan, John Murray, Susan Denham, the then chief justice Ronan Keane, Frank Murphy, Adrian Hardiman and Nial Fennelly. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

It has played a key role in helping to shape modern Ireland but the Supreme Court was slow to find its voice. After the foundation of the State, the j(...)