Petition of the day

By on Oct 24, 2014 at 10:10 pm

The petition of the day is:

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Issue: (1) Whether and under what circumstances the Eighth Amendment authorizes a district court to impose a sentence less than the statutory mandatory minimum; and (2) whether a criminal defendant’s waiver of appeal rights made in an agreement to resolve a case prohibits an appeal by the government.

 
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Relist Watch

By on Oct 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm

John Elwood finally reviews Monday’s relisted cases.

Under the principle that weather and sports must always be saved until the end of the news to keep weary eyes watching those local ads, I should be burying this lede. But we here at Relist Watch aspire to better things, so we tell you up front: There were between zero and two new relists this week – it’s hard to be sure because the Court hasn’t updated the docket. Given the lack of new cases, we were sorely tempted to just pull th’ ol’ CTRL-C/CTRL-V move (that’s ⌘-C/⌘-V for you hipsters), but we figured that would merely irritate both our readers. Continue reading »

 
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Tribe3

The inspiration and aspiration for Uncertain Justice and the rewards of working with Joshua Matz, a co-author fifty years his junior.

“People ask, ‘Why did you pick constitutional law?’  I mean, come on.  Who, with a real opportunity to dig into a subject of law would not want that to be constitutional law?  It has everything.  It has history.  It has moral philosophy.  The meaning of liberty, of equality, of dignity.  It has legal technicalities galore.  It has precedent.  It involves strategy, dealing with complicated human situations and the people who are affected by law, and the human dynamics of complicated institutions like the U.S. Supreme Court.”

In this six-part interview, Laurence H. Tribe, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, discusses his background, from his birth in Shanghai, China during World War Two and his early interest in mathematics to teaching presidents and Supreme Court Justices and arguing cases before the Supreme Court; the inspiration and purpose of his latest book, Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution , written with former student Joshua Matz; and understanding essential, accessible points of the Supreme Court, principles in constitutional law and leading issues of the day — “Obamacare,” racial equality, gay rights, campaign finance, and the relation of privacy and technology.

Posted in Everything Else
 
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Friday round-up

By on Oct 24, 2014 at 5:53 am

Coverage of the Court’s release of a revised version of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent in the Texas voter ID case (on which Lyle reported for this blog on Wednesday) continues.  At The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire, Jess Bravin observes that, with the correction, Ginsburg “may have made history a second time.”  And Tony Mauro’s story on the release for The Blog of Legal Times includes an interview with Frank Wagner, the retired reporter of decisions, about the role that the reporter might have played in such an opinion.

Briefly:

  • At Just Security, William Dodge looks at Samantar v. Yousuf, the human rights case in which the Court recently asked the Solicitor General to file a brief expressing the views of the United States.
  • At The Huffington Post, Elizabeth Wydra examines recent comments by Chief Justice John Roberts regarding politics and the Court.
  • At the Constitutional Accountability Center’s Text and History Blog, Brianne Gorod continues the CAC’s series on the Chief Justice with a focus on his views on federal power.
  • At ACSblog, Jason Steed begins the first part of a three-part series on term limits at the Court, starting with the 1968 presidential elections.

A friendly reminder:  We rely on our readers to send us links for the round-up.  If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at] scotusblog.com.

 
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Petition of the day

By on Oct 23, 2014 at 10:16 pm

The petition of the day is:

14-59

Issue: (1) Whether the Ninth Circuit erred when it held – in conflict with the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Tenth Circuits, but in accord with the Seventh Circuit – that a district court’s order striking or refusing to consider a qualified immunity motion is not subject to interlocutory appeal, even when it subjects a public official to unlimited discovery for the duration of a lawsuit; and (2) whether petitioners are entitled to qualified immunity.

Applying the Supreme Court’s June decision that raised a major new legal threat to Internet rebroadcast of copyrighted TV programs, a federal judge in NewYork City on Thursday ordered Aereo, Inc., to refrain from relaying video to paying customers while any part of the original show is on the air.  She refused — but will consider later — a broader plea to stop Aereo from storing such programs for later (“time-shift”) viewing by its customers.  (UPDATE: The specific terms of the judge’s order can be read here.)

U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan, handling the case after its return from the Supreme Court, confined her ruling to a preliminary order limiting what Aereo may offer its customers in relaying TV programming.   She rejected, at least for now, a plea by the over-the-air broadcasting industry for an order to also prohibit Aereo from copying and storing copyright video for later viewing.  That will be an issue, she said, when she decides the shape of any permanent order if she ultimately rules for the broadcasters on the core legal issue of copyright infringement.

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Tribe2

Two important cases — Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia (public access to trials) and Larkin v. Grendel’s Den, Inc. (the First Amendment Establishment Clause and a church’s power to control a liquor license) — in a long career and assessing the problem and real impact of the Supreme Court taking on Bush v. Gore.

“People ask, ‘Why did you pick constitutional law?’  I mean, come on.  Who, with a real opportunity to dig into a subject of law would not want that to be constitutional law?  It has everything.  It has history.  It has moral philosophy.  The meaning of liberty, of equality, of dignity.  It has legal technicalities galore.  It has precedent.  It involves strategy, dealing with complicated human situations and the people who are affected by law, and the human dynamics of complicated institutions like the U.S. Supreme Court.”

In this six-part interview, Laurence H. Tribe, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, discusses his background, from his birth in Shanghai, China during World War Two and his early interest in mathematics to teaching presidents and Supreme Court Justices and arguing cases before the Supreme Court; the inspiration and purpose of his latest book, Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution , written with former student Joshua Matz; and understanding essential, accessible points of the Supreme Court, principles in constitutional law and leading issues of the day — “Obamacare,” racial equality, gay rights, campaign finance, and the relation of privacy and technology.

Posted in Everything Else
 
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Thursday round-up

By on Oct 23, 2014 at 6:43 am

As Lyle reported for this blog yesterday, the Court released a revised version of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent from the Court’s order allowing Texas to implement its voter identification law.  In the new version, Ginsburg corrected a mistake about whether a particular form of identification – issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – would meet the requirements of the new law.  Other coverage of the correction comes from Nina Totenberg of NPR, who notes that it was “the erring justice herself . . . who asked the court’s public information office to announce the error.”  At Crime and Consequences, Kent Scheidegger also discusses the process by which the Court modifies its opinions more generally, and he urges the Court to follow the lead of the California Supreme Court, which issues “modification orders.”  And at The Economist’s Democracy in America blog, Steven Mazie criticizes the Court’s failure to explain the reasoning behind its original pre-dawn order last Saturday.  He contends that,  “[w]hen the stakes are this high, all the justices should follow Justice Ginsburg’s lead and stay up all night to explain to America just what they are up to and why.”

Briefly:

A friendly reminder:  We rely on our readers to send us links for the round-up.  If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at] scotusblog.com.

Posted in Round-up
 
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Petition of the day

By on Oct 22, 2014 at 10:43 pm

The petition of the day is:

14-165

Issue: Whether, when the Federal Sentencing Guidelines calculate a person’s offense level based on prior convictions that are expressly excluded under the relevant federal statute, the statute or the Guidelines control.

 
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Three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit listened closely, but noncommittally, on Wednesday to a broad constitutional attack on the system of war crimes tribunals now operating at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  The hearing — running more than twice as long as the assigned half-hour — ranged over the trial of Abraham Lincoln’s assassins, a military trial in the Civil War, a sabotage trial during World War II, and an 1895 case involving a Chinese national convicted outside of the regular court system.

The point of that exploration was to help the three-judge panel decide whether Congress and the Pentagon have teamed up to create a system of war crimes prosecutions that pushed aside the regular civilian trial courts, in a way that violates the Constitution’s Article III, creating the federal judiciary.  The case heard Wednesday seems destined to go to the Supreme Court.

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