Yesterday was a busy day for Court watchers as the Justices issued four opinions in argued cases, granted review in two others, and heard oral argument in two more.

In Florida v. Harris, the Court unanimously held that if the police provide evidence that a drug-sniffing dog has been trained, that may be enough to allow police to search a vehicle when the dog “alerts” to the possible presence of drugs.  Lyle Denniston of this blog reports on the opinion, including a “plain English” explanation.  Other coverage comes from Nina Totenberg of NPR (who also reports on the Court’s other decisions yesterday), Robert Barnes of The Washington Post, Richard Wolf of USA Today, Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers, Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Warren Richey of The Christian Science Monitor, Jesse J. Holland of the Associated Press, Jonathan Stempel of Reuters, Kent Scheidegger of Crime and Consequences, and Steven D. Schwinn of the Constitutional Law Prof Blog. Commentary on the case comes from Julian Sanchez at Cato at Liberty and Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy, who noted that “at first blush it seems that the Court has said there is no particular test and then created a particular test: Certification from a ‘bona fide’ organization based on reliability ‘in a controlled setting’ or ‘recent[] and successful[]’ completion of a training program creates a presumption of probable cause that then can be rebutted by defense counsel.”

In FTC v. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc., the Court unanimously held that because Georgia did not clearly articulate and affirmatively express a policy allowing hospital authorities to make acquisitions that substantially decreased competition, the “state-action doctrine” – which provides nonstate actors carrying out a state’s regulatory program with immunity from federal antitrust law – does not apply.  Lyle Denniston reports on the opinion, with other coverage coming from Greg Stohr of Bloomberg Businessweek, Andrew Pollack of The New York Times, Mark Sherman of the Associated Press, Barbara Leonard of Courthouse News Service, and Brent Kendall of The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).

In Bailey v. United States, the Court held by a vote of six to three that police officers preparing to execute a search warrant cannot detain recent occupants of the premises to be searched a mile away from those premises.  Coverage of the opinion comes from Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal, Jonathan Stempel of Reuters (via the Chicago Tribune,) Jonathan H. Adler of the Volokh Conspiracy, Mark Sherman of the Associated Press, Barbara Leonard of Courthouse News Service, Kent Scheidegger of Crime and Consequences, and Steven D. Schwinn of Constitutional Law Prof Blog.

And in Chafin v. Chafin, the Court unanimously held that a father’s appeal of a district court order allowing his child’s mother to take the child to Scotland is not moot simply because the child is no longer in the United States.  Lawrence Hurley and Jonathan Stempel of Reuters (via the Chicago Tribune), Robert Barnes of The Washington Post, Barbara Leonard of Courthouse News Service, Bill Mears of CNN, Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal, Marcus E. Howard of the Savannah (Ga.) Morning News, Steven D. Schwinn of Constitutional Law Prof Blog, Jesse J. Holland of the Associated Press, and Brian Lawson of the Huntsville (Ala.) Times all cover the decision.  (Thanks to Howard Bashman for the last link.)

Yesterday the Court also released its order list from its February 15, 2013 Conference, granting two new cases.  In Sandifer v. United States Steel Corporation, the Court will consider what constitutes “changing clothes” for purposes of Section 203(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Lawrence Hurley has coverage for Reuters.  The Court also granted McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, in which it will consider the constitutionality of the two-year limits on individual contributions to candidates, to political parties, or political committees.  At this blog Lyle Denniston discusses the McCutcheon case (as well as yesterday’s other orders), with other coverage coming from Adam Liptak of The New York Times, Rick Hasen of Election Law Blog, Robert Barnes of The Washington Post, Tarini Parti of Politico, Sam Baker at The Hill, Peter Overby of NPR, Jeremy Leaming of ACSblog, Jonathan Stempel and Lawrence Hurley of Reuters, Paul Blumenthal of The Huffington Post, and Steven D. Schwinn of Constitutional Law Prof Blog.  And the editorial board of The New York Times urges the Court to “heed the central message of the Buckley v. Valeo decision [that] ‘Congress was surely entitled to conclude’ . . . that overall limits on contribution are needed ‘to deal with the reality or appearance of corruption inherent in a system permitting unlimited financial contributions, even when the identities of the contributors and the mounts of their contributions are fully disclosed.’”

The Court also heard oral arguments in two cases yesterday.  In Millbrook v. United States, the Court is considering whether a provision of the Federal Tort Claims Act, which permits suits against the federal government for torts committed by federal law enforcement officers, allows a prison inmate to sue the government for an alleged sexual assault committed by guards at a federal prison.  NPR’s Nina Totenberg provides coverage of Millbrook.

And in Bowman v. Monsanto Co., the Court is considering whether Monsanto’s patent rights in its genetically modified soybean seeds extend to seeds from the resulting crop.  Coverage  of the oral argument – which generally predicted that the Court is likely to rule in Monsanto’s favor – comes from Adam Liptak of The New York Times, Jack Kaskey and Susan Decker of Bloomberg News, Robert Barnes of The Washington Post, David G. Savage of the Los Angeles Times, Richard Wolf of USA Today, Mark Sherman of the Associated Press, Lawrence Hurley of Reuters, Bill Lambrecht of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Ariane de Vogue of ABC News, Jeremy P. Jacobs of Greenwire, Maureen Groppe of the Indianapolis (Ind.) Star,  and Stephanie Condon of CBS News.  At this blog Kali Borkoski provides links to the transcripts of both Millbrook and Bowman.

Today the Court will hear oral arguments in two more cases.  In McBurney v. Young, the Court is considering whether a state may prohibit citizens of other states from enjoying the same right of access to public records that it provides to its own citizens.  Lyle Denniston previews the case for this blog, with additional coverage coming from Laura Kebede of the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch.  And in PPL Corp. and Subsidiaries v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the Court will consider whether, and how, U.S. corporations can receive tax credits for the foreign taxes that they pay.  Allison Christians previews the case for this blog, with other coverage coming from Patrick Temple-West of Reuters.

Briefly:

  • SCOTUSblog’s Shelby County v. Holder symposium continued yesterday with a post by Hashim Mooppan on the “conceptually divergent theories” advanced by the defenders of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Jonathan Stempel of Reuters reports that the Court has refused to hear former Illinois Governor George Ryan’s appeal of his conviction and prison sentence for fraud and other crimes involving kickbacks for state contracts and property leases.
  • David Savage of the Los Angeles Times and Richard Wolf of USA Today both discuss Shelby County v. Holder, set to be argued next week, in which the Court will consider the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Posted in Round-up

Recommended Citation: Conor McEvily, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Feb. 20, 2013, 9:38 AM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/02/wednesday-round-up-172/