The petition of the day is:
Lawyers for the twenty-six states that challenged President Barack Obama’s broad policy to delay the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants asked the Supreme Court on Monday to give them more time to answer the government’s appeal. Delay has the potential to slow down a case that U.S. officials very much want decided during the Court’s current Term.
Texas Solicitor General Scott A. Keller wrote to the Court asking permission to file the states’ response on January 20, thirty days after it would have been due under the normal schedule. Keller cited a long list of other legal tasks faced by lawyers in the case, and he suggested that the government had not taken the steps that it could have to have moved the case along at earlier stages.
Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush said “we intend to oppose Texas’s request for a full 30-day extension,” adding that the government believes the case “should be considered expeditiously.” His remark at least implied that the government might suggest something less than a thirty-day extension.
The fight in the Supreme Court over public employee unions and the First Amendment is expected to be one of the most divisive of the Term. That was true even before the state of Illinois weighed in on both sides of the case
Call it a sideshow, or a play within the play. Whatever the label, it is unusual for the Court to find itself, as it does now, in the middle of a dispute between state leaders over which official’s view from Illinois should count – the governor’s or the attorney general’s.
The dispute offers important insights into the intersection between state law and politics, as well as advocacy and decision-making in the Supreme Court.
The unusual circumstance has developed in the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. The issue in the case is whether a public employee union may charge workers who do not want to join a fee to cover the cost of collective bargaining and related activities that may benefit all workers. The Court must decide whether the required payment in lieu of union dues, called an agency fee (and also known as a “fair share” fee), violates the free speech rights of workers who do not want to be associated with the union’s activities.
Chief Justice John Roberts appeared in New York last week to discuss former Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes. Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) covered the speech, reporting that it was “a lecture less about law–not a single one of Hughes’s opinions was discussed–than about leadership, the peculiar kind that a chief justice can, with sufficient dexterity, exercise in a role that gives him no direct power over his fellow justices and, by tradition, a muted place in the political dialogue.” Other coverage comes from Ariane de Vogue of CNN, who similarly reports that Roberts “revealed his deep understanding of the court’s history but also his thoughts on the role of the chief justice, its limits and opportunities for leadership, and why no one on the current court will ever run for president.” Continue reading »
On Tuesday the Justices met for their November 24 Conference. The December sitting will begin on Monday, November 30. The hearing list for the December sitting is here.
In its Conference of November 24, 2015, the Court will consider petitions seeking review of issues such as whether restrictions on occupational speech are subject to First Amendment scrutiny, whether the federal Bankruptcy Code preempts Puerto Rico statutory law, and whether one city’s ban on “assault weapons” violates the Second Amendment.
This edition of “Petitions to watch” features petitions raising issues that Tom has determined to have a reasonable chance of being granted, although we post them here without consideration of whether they present appropriate vehicles in which to decide those issues. Our policy is to include and disclose all cases in which Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, represents either a party or an amicus in the case, with the exception of the rare cases in which Goldstein & Russell represents the respondent(s) but does not appear on the briefs in the case.
A Washington, D.C., lawyer and former federal prosecutor said on Friday that he will file an “immediate appeal” to the Supreme Court in his long-running challenge to the National Security Agency’s massive telephone data sweeps program. His appeal would reach the Court only days before that program is due to end, a week from Sunday.
Larry E. Klayman, a frequent litigator, made his plan to continue pursuing his case after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit refused on Friday to conduct en banc review of his protest that the NSA program violates the Fourth Amendment. Congress earlier this year ordered an end to the bulk collection of telephone and other message data, but allowed NSA to continue the surveillance for another 180 days.
The following post describes the significance of the D.C. Circuit’s actions on Friday. This post appeared earlier on lyldenlawnews.com.
In recent years the Court has generally limited its criminal-side docket to “one issue” cases. But on the Monday after Thanksgiving, the Court will hear arguments in Musacchio v. United States on two different issues. The arguments will undoubtedly be interesting to students of criminal law. But otherwise the case does not appear to raise constitutional issues and requires simply a straightforward understanding of somewhat detailed facts.
First, how should an appellate court evaluate whether the evidence in a criminal trial was sufficient for conviction, when the jury was erroneously instructed on additional elements that are not present in the statute which defines the crime and which made it harder for the government to convict (and yet the jury still convicted)? Must the court measure the evidence against the erroneous, more difficult to satisfy, elements? Or should the reviewing court apply the elements simply as written in the statute and charged in the indictment?
John Elwood reviews Monday’s relisted cases.
It’s six o’clock on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys are down thirty at halftime. All of the fun people in your family have either fallen into food comas or left for some early Black Friday shopping (sidebar: is it still “Black Friday” when it starts on Thursday or even earlier?). You can’t bring up the presidential race because your weird uncle is going to say something offensive. There is only one place for a desperate nation to turn: the Thanksgiving edition of Relist Watch.
Let’s start with this week’s winners. It is a list that, as usual, does not include the Cowboys. Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, 15-274, was granted after a single relist. The Court will consider the constitutionality of a Texas law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and requires clinics that perform abortions to have the same facilities as a surgical center. Meanwhile, the case’s big brother, the seven-time-relisted Currier v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, 14-997, involving a similar Mississippi law, has been sent back to the waiting room.
One year after President Barack Obama took historic steps to overhaul immigration policy, his lawyers on Friday appealed to the Supreme Court to uphold his plan and let it go into effect. It is currently stalled by lower court rulings finding that the president probably overstepped his powers in bypassing Congress to put off deportation for nearly five million undocumented immigrants.
The filing in United States v. Texas (docket 15-674) arrived just as Washington’s attention is focused on what the government should do about the immigration of refugees fleeing from war and terrorism in the Middle East. The only link between that controversy and the deferred-deportation policy is that the Court in deciding that case could clarify how power over who may enter the country is divided between Congress and the executive branch.