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.
- Writing for this blog, Lyle Denniston reports that the Court has asked lawyers in the combined cases Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center and Georgia-Pacific West v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center, which were argued in December, to file new briefs on the impact on the case of a new federal stormwater drainage rule.
- Also at this blog, Debra Lyn Bassett reports on Monday’s oral argument in The Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles, while Daniel Richman covers Monday’s oral argument in Descamps v. United States.
- At the Volokh Conspiracy, Professor Randy Barnett discusses his initial reaction to the arguments in last Term’s Affordable Care Act cases and includes a video clip of his exchange with Walter Dellinger on the PBS News Hour.
- At Education Week, Mark Walsh observes the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Hazelwood School Dist. v. Kuhlmeier, in which the Court ruled that educators do not violate the First Amendment when they exercise control over student speech in school-sponsored expressive activities. (Thanks to Howard Bashman for the link.)
- In a letter to the editor of The Washington Post, Pamela Karlan takes issue with a recent op-ed by Post columnist George Will, which Karlan alleges “distorted [her] Harvard Law Review article in both details large and small.”
Recommended Citation: Conor McEvily, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 9, 2013, 10:01 AM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/01/wednesday-round-up-167/