Editor's Note :

Editor's Note :

We expect additional orders from the December 9 conference on Monday at 9:30 a.m. There is also a possibility of opinions on Monday.

Petition of the day

By on Dec 9, 2016 at 11:26 pm

The petition of the day is:

16-534

Issues: (1) Whether 28 U.S.C. § 1610(g) provides a freestanding attachment immunity exception that allows terror victim judgment creditors to attach and execute upon assets of foreign state sponsors of terrorism regardless of whether assets are otherwise subject to execution under Section 1610; and (2) whether the commercial use exception to execution immunity, codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1610(a), applies to a foreign sovereign’s property located in the United States only when the property is used by the foreign state itself.

This afternoon the justices issued orders from today’s private conference, adding one new case to their merits docket for the term. They agreed to review the case of Terry Honeycutt, who worked as a salaried employee at a hardware store owned by his brother, Tony. The two brothers were charged with federal drug crimes for the store’s sale of an iodine-based water disinfectant – which can also be used to make methamphetamines. Tony pleaded guilty and forfeited $200,000 to account for the proceeds of the illegal sales. After Terry went to trial and was convicted, the government argued that he should have to forfeit the rest of the proceeds, approximately $70,000.

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Oyez has posted audio and transcripts from this week’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court.

The court heard argument this week in:

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There was high drama at the Supreme Court last night, in the case of an Alabama death-row inmate who sought a last-minute stay of his execution, which was originally scheduled for 6 p.m. CST yesterday. Although the court would twice put a temporary hold on the executions, his flurry of filings was ultimately to no avail: The execution eventually began shortly after 10 p.m. CST, and he was pronounced dead roughly an hour later.

The inmate in the case was Ronald Smith, who in 1995 was convicted of capital murder for the shooting death of Casey Wilson, a convenience-store clerk in Huntsville, Ala. A majority of the 12-member jury recommended that Smith receive a sentence of life in prison, but the judge overrode that recommendation and sentenced Smith to death. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court struck down Florida’s death-sentencing scheme, holding that the Constitution “requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death”; that ruling, Smith argued, should also render his death sentence invalid. Continue reading »

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Friday round-up

By on Dec 9, 2016 at 7:18 am

On Wednesday, the court extended the briefing schedule in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., a high-profile case arising out of a transgender student’s request to use the boys’ bathroom at his high school. Amy Howe covers the development for this blog. Additional coverage comes from Lyle Denniston at Constitution Daily, who notes that among “other effects of the change will be that the new government of President-elect Donald Trump will get time to decide whether to get involved — and, if it wishes — to change federal policy,” and from Ross Runkel at his eponymous blog, who points out that the “extension might even result in a ninth Justice being confirmed before oral arguments.”

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Petition of the day

By on Dec 8, 2016 at 11:23 pm

The petition of the day is:

16-368

Issues: (1) Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit erred in refusing to apply the presumption that congress intends positive law to retain common law principles absent clear evidence to the contrary, United States v. Texas, and instead deferring under Auer v. Robbins to an agency’s conclusion that its general regulations implicitly displace the common law; (2) whether the “general” Auer presumption that Congress intended deference to the agency applies when this court has recognized a specific countervailing presumption of congressional intent; and (3) whether Auer and Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co. should be overruled.

 

A week from today, the nation will celebrate the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, the collective name for the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

To commemorate this occasion, the Supreme Court Historical Society and the Georgetown Center for the Constitution invited Villanova University professor Colleen Sheehan to lecture about James Madison, who first presented to Congress what became the Bill of Rights and about whom Sheehan has written multiple books.

Justice Stephen Breyer, who introduced Sheehan, called the Bill of Rights “the document that helps 320 million Americans live a reasonably civilized life even though they think all kinds of different things.” Seeking to understand the genesis of this document, Breyer elaborated, is therefore “a very fine thing,” even “the most important thing we can do” – “tell the next generation and the generation after that a little bit about our … constitutional history.”

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In its conference of December 9, 2016, the court will consider petitions involving issues such as whether, when counsel fully concedes the client’s guilt to all charges over the client’s express objection, counsel’s performance amounts to a complete failure to subject the prosecution’s case to meaningful adversarial testing so that the United States v. Cronic prejudice standard applies, or whether the Strickland v. Washington prejudice standard applies; whether 21 U.S.C. § 853(a)(1) mandates joint and several liability among co-conspirators for forfeiture of the reasonably foreseeable proceeds of a drug conspiracy; and whether a state court violates a petitioner’s federal due process rights when it denies a new trial and DNA testing in an actual innocence case in which newly discovered evidence demonstrates that the only physical evidence linking the petitioner to the crime scene was based upon inaccurate forensic science and false expert testimony.

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Thursday round-up

By on Dec 8, 2016 at 7:34 am

Yesterday, the court heard oral argument in Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp., a case involving a challenge to the use of a structured dismissal to resolve a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. Daniel Bussel analyzes the argument for this blog. Another look at the argument comes from Ross Runkel at his eponymous blog.

Tuesday’s argument docket featured Life Technologies v. Promega, a patent case that asked when export of a “substantial portion” of the components of a patented invention for assembly outside the country creates patent infringement liability. John Duffy has this blog’s argument analysis.

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Petition of the day

By on Dec 7, 2016 at 11:40 pm

The petition of the day is:

16-529

Issue: Whether the five-year statute of limitations in 28 U.S.C. § 2462 applies to claims for “disgorgement.”

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