Editor's Note :

Editor's Note :

There is a possibility of opinions on Tuesday.
On Tuesday the court hears oral argument in Life Technologies Corporation v. Promega Corporation. John Duffy has our preview.

Petition of the day

By on Dec 5, 2016 at 11:32 pm

The petition of the day is:

16-507

Issues: (1) Whether the warrantless access and use of hundreds of data points showing the petitioner’s historical cell phone location over a weeklong period was a search that violated the petitioner’s federal Fourth Amendment rights; and (2) whether the show-up of the petitioner was unnecessarily suggestive, resulting in unreliable out-of-court and in-court identifications that violated his federal constitutional right to due process of law.

“It is a very tough matter,” observed Justice Stephen Breyer, summarizing the questions with which the justices were grappling today. Federal law permits (and sometimes requires) states to consider race when drawing district lines, to create legislative districts in which a majority of voters are members of a minority group, but at the same time the Constitution bars states from making race the predominant factor when drawing districts. “No one,” Breyer continued, “seems to have a good answer to” the dilemma facing the Supreme Court – how courts should determine when the use of race becomes sufficiently pervasive that it crosses over to become unconstitutional racial gerrymandering, particularly when race correlates closely with political party. If there was a consensus on the court this morning after roughly two hours of oral arguments, it may have been this: justices of all ideological stripes are tired of redistricting cases, and they would really prefer to leave the business of drawing and reviewing legislative maps to the legislature. To that end, the justices seemed to be considering issuing opinions that might not immediately resolve the two cases before them, but which could give more concrete guidance to courts reviewing future racial gerrymandering claims. Whether they can coalesce around such rulings remains to be seen. Continue reading »

Posted in Everything Else
 
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Argument transcripts

By on Dec 5, 2016 at 2:22 pm

The transcript in Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections is here; the transcript in McCrory v. Harris is here.

Posted in Merits Cases
 
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Monday round-up

By on Dec 5, 2016 at 7:25 am

Today the court hears oral argument in two redistricting cases from Virginia and North Carolina, Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections and McCrory v. Harris. Amy Howe previewed the cases for this blog. Liza Carens and Jenna Scoville provide a preview of McCrory for Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute. At the Associated Press, Mark Sherman reports that the “claim made by black voters in both states is that Republicans created districts with more reliably Democratic black voters than necessary to elect their preferred candidates, making neighboring districts whiter and more Republican.” Additional coverage comes from Nina Totenberg at NPR, who reports that the cases present “the challenge of finding a delicate balance in considering race when drawing political boundaries — and the court’s reluctance to weigh in on partisan politics.”

Continue reading »

Posted in Round-up
 
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This week at the court

By on Dec 4, 2016 at 12:04 pm

The court issued additional orders from the December 2 conference on Monday. The court did not grant any new cases or call for the views of the solicitor general in any cases. The court also heard oral arguments in two cases. There is a possibility of opinions on Tuesday at 10 a.m. The court will also hear oral arguments again on Tuesday and Wednesday, beginning at 10 a.m. each day. The calendar for the December sitting is available on the court’s website. On Friday the justices will meet for their December 9 conference; our list of “petitions to watch” for that conference will be available soon.

 
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Oyez has posted audio and transcripts from this week’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court.

The court heard argument this week in:

Posted in Everything Else
 
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Petition of the day

By on Dec 2, 2016 at 11:22 pm

The petition of the day is:

16-499

Issue: Whether the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350, categorically forecloses corporate liability.

Today the Supreme Court added seven new cases, for a total of five hours of oral argument, to its merits docket for this term. The cases cover a range of issues, from a divorced couple’s dispute over military retirement pay to the scope of the patent exhaustion doctrine, as well as the excessive use of force by the police, the contours of an exemption from federal employee benefits laws for churches, and the interpretation of an international convention on the service of process.

Continue reading »

Next month will mark 44 years since the Supreme Court declared the existence of a constitutional right for women to choose to terminate their pregnancies through abortion. Yet, unlike any other decision in recent decades, the longevity of Roe v. Wade as precedent remains in doubt, under continual attack in courts, legislatures and political campaigns.

The curious status of Roe was brought into dramatic relief last month when CBS aired an interview with President-elect Donald Trump on its “60 Minutes” broadcast. Trump reiterated his oft-stated campaign pledge that he would appoint judges and justices who were pro-life and committed to overturning Roe; he suggested that if Roe were reversed, access to abortion would be up to each state. In the same interview, he asserted that argument over the legal status of same-sex marriage is now “irrelevant”: “It’s law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean, it’s done. And I’m fine with that.”

Continue reading »

 
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Relist Watch

By on Dec 2, 2016 at 11:19 am

John Elwood (finally) reviews Monday’s relists.

Since the Supreme Court’s last conference, we’ve crossed an important inflection point in American civic life. It began of course with Thanksgiving, the only major holiday not yet spoiled by commercialism, when we come together to commemorate an important event in early American history – the time when Native Americans taught the pilgrims how to make jello molds with little marshmallows. That sacrosanct gathering yields almost immediately to Thanksgetting – when U.S. residents are legally required to line up bleary-eyed at strip malls in a frenzied quest for discounts so deep they nearly equal the value of the unused gift-cards from last Christmas sitting in their sock drawers.

Continue reading »

 
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