Event announcement

By on Feb 3, 2016 at 12:55 pm

On February 16, the National Constitution Center will host a discussion on United States v. Texas, the challenge to the Obama administration’s deferred-action policy for certain undocumented immigrants.  Speakers will include Josh Blackman, Adam Cox, Cristina Rodriguez, and Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz. More information about this event, which will be held in Philadelphia and also live-streamed, is available here.

 
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Wednesday round-up

By on Feb 3, 2016 at 11:13 am

As Lyle Denniston reported for this blog, yesterday the Court turned down an application by Republicans in Virginia’s congressional delegation for a stay blocking implementation of a new state congressional-district map. Andrew Cain also reports on the Court’s order for the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Briefly:

  • In the Los Angeles Times, David Garrow notes that four Justices are over the age of seventy-five and urges Chief Justice John Roberts to “use his authority as head of the federal judiciary to require his high court colleagues and others to undergo regular mental health checkups.”
  • At the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Liberty Blog, Julio Colomba argues that the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent brief opposing review in American Farm Bureau Federation v. EPA, a challenge to the EPA’s water-pollution cleanup plan for the Chesapeake Bay, misunderstands federalism because “state officials’ participation in or consent to federal overreach is, at best, irrelevant.”
  • In The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro reports on the future of the Oyez Project, whose arrangement with the Chicago-Kent College of Law is set to expire in May when its founder, Jerry Goldman, retires.
  • For Forbes, Michael Bobelian reports on the Court’s grant in Salman v. United States and argues that “[w]hat’s at stake in this case is whether the justices will… make it easier for prosecutors to pursue certain types of insider trading claims.”
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Unpersuaded that a failure to act would lead to “widespread mass confusion” in this year’s congressional elections in Virginia, the Supreme Court refused on Monday to delay the use in 2016 of a new election-districts map drawn by a lower three-judge federal court.  That will allow the new maps to be used even while the Court is reviewing the validity of an earlier map drawn by the state legislature but nullified by the lower court.  The Justices are due to hold a hearing on the earlier map on March 21, in the case of Wittman v. Personhuballah.

Lawyers representing Republican members of Congress from Virginia had warned that, without a delay, candidates would have to run “two-front” campaigns in five districts, running in both the districts as composed by the legislature and the new districts drawn up by the lower court.  Depending on when the Court rules on the earlier map, both this year’s primary and general elections for House of Representatives seats in the state might have to be postponed, the lawyers contended.  The primary is now set for June 14 and the general for November 8, the lawyers contended.

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Tuesday round-up

By on Feb 2, 2016 at 10:38 am

Briefly

  •  At The George Washington Law Review’s On the Docket, Kami Chavis Simmons contends that, although the Court’s decision in Montgomery v. Louisiana, holding that Miller v. Alabama applies retroactively to cases on state collateral review, “is not the watershed moment many criminal justice reformers are awaiting, it is an incremental step toward fully vindicating the principle that children are different.”
  • For The News Journal, Jessica Masulli Reyes reports that the Delaware Superior Court has issued a stay on all pending capital murder trials and executions in the state until it can determine the constitutionality of Delaware’s death-penalty law in light of Hurst v. Florida, in which the Court struck down Florida’s capital-sentencing scheme.

 

 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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Monday round-up

By on Feb 1, 2016 at 3:41 pm

Justice Samuel Alito took his seat on the Court ten years ago yesterday. Reporting on the anniversary for the ABA Journal, Mark Walsh observes that Alito “has quietly helped move the court rightward on issues such as race in K-12 education, abortion rights, campaign finance, voting rights and religious accommodation.” Tamara Tabo of Above the Law contends that Alito may be “the most important conservative currently on the Court,” because he is “more coherent than Kennedy, more conventional than Thomas, more consistently conservative than Roberts,” and “a lot further from retirement or death than Scalia.”

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In a recent article in the Law & Society Review, Birth Order, Preferences, and Norms on the U.S. Supreme Court, Kevin McGuire assesses the influence of childhood birth order on the Justices’ later ideological preferences and approaches to jurisprudence. Looking back at the past fifty-five Justices (1900-2010), McGuire begins by finding a correlation between their political ideologies and birth order. His second finding, perhaps of greater interest to readers, is that birth order offers an explanation for the willingness of different Justices to use their judicial authority to effect policy change. A Justice who was a first or only child is more likely than other Justices to hold conservative political ideologies and is less willing to strike down legislation, even when he disagrees with the law. The reverse is true of Justices who were a middle or youngest child; these Justices tend to hold liberal political ideologies and more readily invoke judicial review.

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This week at the Court

By on Jan 31, 2016 at 1:23 pm

The Court is now in recess. The next sitting will begin on February 22. The calendar for that sitting is available here.

 
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The Supreme Court released on Friday the argument calendar for its March sitting, showing that the seven cases challenging the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate are set for a ninety-minute hearing on March 23.  There will be one more argument sitting, in April.

The daily schedule for March, with a summary of the legal issues at stake, follows the jump.

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Relist Watch

By on Jan 29, 2016 at 4:49 pm

John Elwood reviews Monday’s relisted cases.

With the Iowa caucuses just days away, you’re probably wondering if Relist Watch is endorsing a primary candidate. And having surveyed the field and studied the candidates’ positions on the issues in detail, our answer is: What’s a caucus? Sounds NSFW. But really, you should know us better than that. If we wanted to talk about something shallow and devoid of substance, we would . . . well, come to think of it, that’s what we do every week. So let’s turn to that now.

Regular readers know we are a positive bunch – so positive that we have been known to deploy exclamation points for no apparent reason! On the positive side of this week’s ledger is a pair of two-time relists that achieved the efficient petitioner’s dream: summary reversal. Amgen Inc. v. Harris, 15-278, addressed whether the “fraud on the market” theory developed for securities class actions applies in the context of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). During the case’s previous trip to One First Street, the Court decided to GVR (“grant, vacate, and remand,” if you’re not into the whole brevity thing) for consideration in light of Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, which clarified the standard for pleading that an ERISA plan trustee had violated the duty of prudence. This time around, Amgen persuaded the Supremes that that esteemed court of appeals had misapplied Fifth Third, and in just three-and-a-half pages, the Court held that the complaint did not plead “sufficient facts and allegations to state a claim for breach of the duty of prudence.” James v. City of Boise, 15-493, challenged the Idaho Supreme Court’s, um, idiosyncratic view that when the Supreme Court construes federal law, it “does not have authority to limit the discretion of state courts where such limitation is not contained in the statute.” In just one-and-a-half pages (more than one-tenth of which consisted of a single quote from the Court’s 1816 decision in Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee) the Court clarified that “[t]he Idaho Supreme Court, like any other state or federal court, is bound by this Court’s interpretation of federal law.” Some have speculated that this case is a shot across the bow of the Alabama Supreme Court. The implications of James will become clearer in the future, once we know what has actually happened.

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Friday round-up

By on Jan 29, 2016 at 8:13 am

Briefly:

  • At In A Crowded Theater, Erica Goldberg urges the Court to grant review in Electronic Arts v. Davis, “a Ninth Circuit case involving whether a football video game manufacturer is liable for using the numbers and likenesses of retired football players.”
  • In The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin reports that, according to White House press secretary Josh Earnest, President Barack Obama “is not interested in sitting on the Supreme Court once he leaves office.”
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