FURTHER UPDATED Monday 5:23 p.m.   The three inmates’ lawyers have now filed a response, urging the Court to delay the execution until after it decides the case on the merits; they do not support cutting off a stay if Oklahoma adopts a new protocol.


UPDATED Monday 2:46 p.m.  The application to delay the executions (docket 14A796) is here.  The state said it is continuing to search for a supply of drugs previously approved for lethal injections and, if it locates them, would then ask the Court for permission to go ahead with the executions.  Otherwise, it sought a delay until after the Supreme Court rules on the pending case, which will be heard in late April.


The state of Oklahoma will ask the Supreme Court on Monday to delay three executions by lethal drugs while the Justices weigh a new test case, but it will also seek the option of resuming executions if the officials put together a new drug protocol, lawyers for the state said.  The application for postponement is expected to be filed at the Court shortly.

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We are live blogging this morning as orders and opinions are issued. The live blog is here.

Posted in Live

Monday round-up

By on Jan 26, 2015 at 7:56 am

On Friday afternoon the Court issued grants from its January 23 Conference.  Its announcement that it would review a challenge by a group of Oklahoma death-row inmates to the state’s lethal-injection protocol drew the most attention.  Lyle Denniston covered the grant for this blog; other coverage comes from Nina Totenberg of NPR, Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), and Adam Liptak and Erik Eckholm of The New York Times.  In another story for The New York Times, Adam Liptak notes that the Court’s announcement on Friday “brought fresh attention to the life-or-death importance of a single vote.”   The Court also granted review in OBB Personenverkehr AG v. Sachs, a lawsuit arising from an accident in Austria in which a California woman was seriously injured on a government-owned railroad.  Ingrid Wuerth discusses the grant at Lawfare, concluding that “the case is likely to be of broad significance for FSIA litigation in part because it has been more than two decades since the Court directly addressed the statute’s commercial activity exception” and because it will “contribute to the Roberts Court’s growing legacy of significant foreign relations-related cases.” Continue reading »

Posted in Round-up

This week at the Court

By on Jan 25, 2015 at 12:01 am

On Friday the Court granted two new cases from its January 23 Conference. Lyle covered those orders here. On Monday the Court issued additional orders  and one opinion, M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett


Petition of the day

By on Jan 23, 2015 at 10:10 pm

The petition of the day is:


Issue: (1) Whether a government policy expressly excluding “religious worship services” from a broadly open forum violates the Free Exercise Clause and Establishment Clause; and (2) whether a government policy expressly excluding “religious worship services” from a broadly open forum violates the Free Speech Clause.

The Supreme Court agreed on Friday afternoon to hear the appeal of three Oklahoma death-row inmates who are challenging the three-drug protocol the state now uses for executions.  The Court on January 15 had refused, by a five-to-four vote, to grant delays of four inmates’ executions, and one of them was put to death that night. The other three remain in the case.

Even while agreeing to hear the case, the Justices took no action — at least not immediately — to put off any of the execution dates for the three still involved.  The next such date is next Thursday.

The Court, in a separate order, agreed to clarify when an agent of a foreign government may be sued in U.S. courts for an overseas incident involving an official agency of the foreign state.  That case is OBB Personenverkehr AG v. Sachs, involving a California woman who was injured in an accident in Austria involving the railroad owned by the Austrian government.  The woman lost both legs in the accident. Continue reading »

This week’s argument audio

By on Jan 23, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Oyez has posted audio recordings of this week’s oral arguments.

The Court heard arguments this week in:

Posted in Merits Cases

Friday round-up

By on Jan 23, 2015 at 6:35 am

The Court was not in session yesterday, but coverage of and commentary on the Court’s actions this week continue.  On Wednesday, the Court heard oral arguments in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, in which it is considering whether the Fair Housing Act provides a cause of action based on disparate impact.  I covered the arguments in Plain English for this blog, with other coverage from Sam Hananel of the Associated Press (via Yahoo! News); commentary comes from Garrett Epps in The Atlantic, Elizabeth Warren in The Washington Post, Steven Mazie in The Economist (registration or subscription required), Mark Joseph Stern of Slate, Zachary Roth at MSNBC, and the editorial boards of The New York Times and The Dallas Morning NewsContinue reading »

Posted in Round-up

Petition of the day

By on Jan 22, 2015 at 10:15 pm

The petition of the day is:


Issue: Whether, when a court of appeals issues a general remand for resentencing, the district court may conduct resentencing de novo.

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