Wednesday round-up

Yesterday was a busy day at the Court, with the Justices releasing two opinions in argued cases and hearing oral argument in two others.

In yesterday’s first opinion, Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council, the Court unanimously reversed the Ninth Circuit and held that the flow of water from an improved portion into an unimproved portion of the same waterway does not qualify as a discharge of a pollutant under the Clean Water Act.  David Savage of the Los Angeles Times, Lawrence Hurley of Greenwire, Barbara Leonard of Courthouse News Service, William Buzbee of the Center for Progressive Reform, and the Associated Press all have coverage.  And at the Daily Writ, Kedar Bhatia notes that although Justice Alito concurred in the judgment, he did not write an opinion explaining that decision.  Bhatia adds that “[c]oncurrences and dissents without opinion used to be fairly common, but in recent years they have become increasingly rare.”

In yesterday’s other opinion, Ryan v. Gonzales – consolidated with Tibbals v. Carter – the Court unanimously held that federal law does not give a state prisoner a right to suspend his federal habeas proceeding when he is deemed incompetent to proceed.  Lyle Denniston of this blog has coverage of the opinion, along with a “plain English” explanation.  Other coverage comes from Jonathan Stempel at Reuters, Kent Scheidegger at Crime and Consequences, and the Associated Press.

The Court also heard oral arguments in two cases yesterday.  In Gabelli v. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Court is considering how to interpret a federal statute of limitations for civil penalty cases.  Most coverage of the oral argument – including Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News, Sarah N. Lynch and Jonathan Stempel of Reuters, Robert Barnes of The Washington Post, Jesse J. Holland of the Associated Press, and Brent Kendall of The Wall Street Journal Law Blog (subscription required) – concludes that the Court appeared inclined to tighten the time limits that apply when the SEC and other agencies impose fines on those accused of fraud.

In yesterday’s other argued case, Delia v. E.M.A., the Court is considering whether a North Carolina law that seeks to recover funds spent on Medicaid recipients who then recover funds from a third party (for example, in a lawsuit) is preempted by the Medicaid Act’s anti-lien provision.  Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers provides coverage of the case.

At this blog Kali provides links to oral argument transcripts in both of yesterday’s argued cases.

Today the Court will also hear oral argument in two cases.  In Missouri v. McNeely, the Court will consider whether a law enforcement officer may obtain a blood sample from a suspected drunk driver without a warrant.  Lyle Denniston previews McNeely for this blog. Other coverage comes from Nina Totenberg of National Public Radio, Warren Richey of The Christian Science Monitor, Jacob Gershman of The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) and M. Alex Johnson of NBC News.  And in Maracich v. Spears, the Court will consider whether the use of information from a state’s department of motor vehicles to solicit additional plaintiffs for a lawsuit against car dealerships in that state violates the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act.  Kevin Russell previews Maracich at this blog.

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Posted in Round-up

Recommended Citation: Conor McEvily, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 9, 2013, 10:01 AM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/01/wednesday-round-up-167/