Briefly Mentioned :

Briefly Noted :

The chief justice has submitted to Congress proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil and Criminal Procedure.


Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s Legacy

This week in the Community we discuss the legacy of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. During her tenure, she played a crucial role in many key decisions, but the Court’s more recent precedents have called a number of those holdings into question. This week, we ask your thoughts on what Justice O’Connor’s legacy is and will be.

FCC v. Fox

On Tuesday the Court heard oral arguments in Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations. The question before the Court is whether the wording of the FCC’s policy banning “fleeting” indecency – including the “s-word”, the “f-word”, and images of nudity – is unconstitutionally vague. (Lyle recapped the argument here.) The case involves two separate proceedings, one of which has previously been before the Court. Three years ago, in Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations, the Court determined that the FCC had the authority to broaden its policy from banning repeated uses of profane language to banning any such usage; however, the Court did not decide whether the “fleeting indecency” ban was constitutional.  Instead, the case returned to the Second Circuit, which held that the policy as a whole was unconstitutional. Applying that ruling in a separate case, the Second Circuit then struck down the use of indecency regulation against images of nudity on TV.

The Texas redistricting cases

The Court will kick off its  January sitting next Monday by hearing oral argument in the Texas redistricting cases.  The cases concern the new districting maps enacted by the Texas legislature last year in the aftermath of the 2010 census, which saw the state obtain four additional seats in the House.  After the state commenced the pre-clearance process regarding those maps pursuant to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, several groups sued in a Texas federal district court to block the maps from being used in the 2012 election cycle.  That court granted an interim order blocking the legislatively enacted maps, replacing them with maps of its own.  Our discussion topics this week will focus on how the Court should respond, how it likely will respond, and the Voting Rights Act more generally.

Christmas and the Court

In this week’s Community, we’re discussing Christmas and the Court. Topics will include the Court’s Christmas party, its recent Establishment Clause cases, trends in the law regarding the relationship between church and state, and more!  We look forward to hearing your views, and wish a happy holiday season to all of our readers.

Sackett v. EPA

In January, the Court will hear argument in Sackett v. EPA, No. 10-1062, a case involving governmental enforcement of federal environmental laws against private property owners.  The specific questions presented concern the EPA’s use of so-called “administrative compliance orders,” which assert that the property owner is in violation of an environmental law provision and demands that the owner bring itself into compliance, and remedy the effects of the violation, within a certain time.  The Court will decide whether the property owner can go to court to challenge the order or if it may only contest the EPA’s factual and legal assertions later, when the EPA sues the property owner civilly or criminally. 

The case in itself warrants discussion, but it also provides the Community an opportunity to discuss broader questions regarding the Court’s approach to property rights and how it resolves potential conflict between property rights and environmental protection.



Closed Community Discussions

Date Closed Post Title
01.14.12 The Confrontation Clause and Williams v. Illinois
01.09.12 Arizona v. United States: S.B. 1070
01.09.12 Building an appellate practice
12.19.11 Justices in the media
12.13.11 The Court’s campaign finance jurisprudence and its impact on the electoral process
12.05.11 The Supreme Court and Detainee Litigation
11.14.11 Class actions in the aftermath of Wal-Mart v. Dukes
11.14.11 Blogging with an eye to influencing courts
11.09.11 Proposition 8 and DOMA
11.08.11 Ineffective assistance of counsel – Lafler and Frye
11.07.11 Supreme Court clinics
11.04.11 Arizona v. United States
11.03.11 The Supreme Court and arbitration
11.02.11 M.B.Z. v. Clinton
11.02.11 United States v. Jones
10.28.11 Cameras at the Court
10.27.11 The Establishment Clause
10.27.11 The Supreme Court and Business
10.26.11 Kiobel and Mohamad
10.26.11 Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington
10.26.11 Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC
10.25.11 Perry v. New Hampshire
10.21.11 Fisher v. University of Texas
10.19.11 The Stolen Valor Act
10.17.11 Originalism and the Supreme Court
Term Snapshot