Editor's Note :

Editor's Note :

The Court has not announced its plans for next week regarding the release of opinions, if any. At this time of the Term, however, it would be unusual if there were none.

Today the Court heard oral arguments in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, in which the federal government is suing the retail giant for its refusal to hire Samantha Elauf, a Muslim teenager who wore a headscarf.  (I previewed the case in Plain English yesterday.)  After an hour of often spirited discussion, it wasn’t clear that there was a consensus for either side’s proposed rule.  But the government (and therefore Elauf) has reason to be optimistic, as several Justices seemed to coalesce around a rule that would give it much of what it is seeking.  Let’s talk about today’s oral arguments in Plain English. Continue reading »

Eric M. Fraser practices appellate, antitrust, and intellectual property law at Osborn Maledon, P.A.

State licensing boards composed of market participants do not enjoy automatic immunity from antitrust laws, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday. The decision in North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission affirms the Fourth Circuit and deals a setback to an increasingly common form of regulation. Continue reading »

Analysis

In opinions using a boatload of fishing metaphors, a divided Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that a federal criminal law against destroying corporate records cannot be used against a commercial fisherman for throwing undersized fish overboard to avoid prosecution.  The ruling split the Court’s nine Justices widely on the question of how judges should interpret federal laws.

In the four-one-four ruling in Yates v. United States, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted in the main opinion that the government had claimed that the 2002 law “covers the waterfront, including fish from the sea” — a sweep that the Court rejected.  Justice Elena Kagan, for the four dissenters, wrote that the other Justices had gone on a “fishing expedition” for support for the ruling, but the effort “comes up empty.”

(Art Lien)

Justice Ginsburg (Art Lien)

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Analysis

If it is true that lawyers can make a simple proposition into something bewilderingly complex, it may also be true that judges sometimes prefer the simple, and go with that instead.  Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., proved the latter point in an argument on Wednesday, and the Supreme Court might be well advised to turn to the page in the transcript where he did so, and make that its ruling in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch.

Justice Alito (Art Lien)

Justice Alito (Art Lien)

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Today’s transcripts

By on Feb 25, 2015 at 12:30 pm

The transcript in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. is here

The transcript in Baker Botts, L.L.P. v. ASARCO LLC is here.

Posted in Merits Cases
 
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When the government has a dog of a case, someone has to draw the short straw and argue it. In Henderson v. United States, Assistant to the Solicitor General Ann O’Connell drew that straw. It seems clear that the Court will side with petitioner Tony Henderson – a felon seeking the right to sell or otherwise dispose of firearms that he owns but can no longer legally possess. In offering concession after concession and various fallback options, the government offered a case study in controlled implosions.

(Art Lien)

Assistant to the SG Ann O’Connell (Art Lien)

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We are live blogging this morning as opinions are issued; please click here to be taken to the live blog.

Posted in Live
 
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Wednesday round-up

By on Feb 25, 2015 at 6:13 am

The February sitting is now well underway.  Yesterday the Court issued its opinion in the water rights dispute Kansas v. Nebraska.  Jeremy Jacobs reports for Greenwire that “[a] majority of the justices held that Nebraska knowingly violated an interstate compact governing the river, depriving Kansas of water that should have flowed over the states’ border.”

Today the Court will hear oral arguments in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, in which it will consider whether the retailer discriminated against a Muslim teenager when it refused to hire her because she wore a headscarf.  Lyle Denniston previewed the case for this blog, while I added our coverage in Plain English. Other coverage comes from Richard Wolf of USA Today and Lawrence Hurley of Reuters. Continue reading »

Posted in Round-up
 
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Petition of the day

By on Feb 24, 2015 at 10:15 pm

The petition of the day is:

14-531

Issue: Whether this Court’s decision in Martinez v. Ryan provides a basis to allow a federal habeas petitioner to reopen the judgment, years after finality, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b).

 
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