Sharply criticizing the Supreme Court for its recent actions on same-sex marriage, the Alabama Supreme Court on Tuesday evening ordered all state judges who have the duty to issue licenses to wed to stop doing so immediately for same-sex couples.
Using its independent power to interpret the federal Constitution, the state tribunal upheld the Alabama ban on same-sex marriage — a ruling directly contrary to a decision by a federal trial judge in Mobile. The Supreme Court itself has refused to stop the enforcement of the federal judge’s ruling while the state appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
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The petition of the day is:
Issue: (1) Whether a jurisdictional determination, that is
conclusive as to federal jurisdiction under the
Clean Water Act, and binding on all parties, is
subject to judicial review under the
Administrative Procedure Act; and (2) whether a due process claim against an agency action
is subject to the finality requirement of the
Administrative Procedure Act.
Few areas of the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence are as dense and complex as the rules governing post-conviction habeas corpus petitions filed by state prisoners in federal court. And the density and complexity of those doctrines were on full display Tuesday morning, as the Justices tried to sort out whether California death row inmate Hector Ayala should receive a new trial for the murders of three men and a host of other serious felonies arising out of a 1985 armed robbery. While Justices Anthony Kennedy and Sonia Sotomayor, in particular, seemed deeply troubled by some of the actions of the state trial judge who presided over Ayala’s prosecution – and some of the arguments offered by California in defending those actions – it was difficult to find in Tuesday’s argument any broad support for a decision affirming the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that had granted Ayala relief. Instead, if Tuesday’s argument made anything clear, it was the need for the Justices to clarify exactly which state court decisions are entitled to deference from federal habeas courts—and for what reasons. Continue reading »
The transcript in Los Angeles v. Patel is here.
The transcript in Davis v. Ayala is here.
We are live blogging this morning as opinions are issued in argued cases. Click here to be taken to the live blog page.
Two sharply differing views on the Court’s role in handling disputes over interstate waters emerged last week. Justice Elena Kagan’s approach endorsed the power of Court-appointed special masters to fashion equitable remedies in disputes that states cannot resolve on their own. Justice Clarence Thomas’s approach warned the Court and its appointed special masters of the dangers posed by allowing equitable reformation over politically charged technical disputes between sovereign states. Justice Antonin Scalia specifically warned lawyers, judges, and special masters to stop assuming that modern Restatements are describing current law rather than revising it. Continue reading »
Tomorrow the Court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, the challenge to the availability of tax subsidies for individuals who purchase their health insurance on a marketplace created by the federal government. Coverage of the case comes from Brent Kendall and Jess Bravin for The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Sahil Kapur at Talking Points Memo, Dan Mangan at CNBC, and Liz Goodwin for Yahoo! News. Commentary comes from Marty Lederman at Balkinization, Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker, Nicholas Bagley in The New York Times, Robert Schlesinger at U.S. News & World Report, Jonathan Cohn in The Huffington Post, Steven Brill at Reuters, Simon Lazarus at Democracy, Michael Dorf at Dorf on Law, and Anthony Tersigni at The Hill’s Congress Blog. The case will also be the topic of this morning’s Diane Rehm Show (radio); guests will include this blog’s own Amanda Frost. Continue reading »
The petition of the day is:
Issue: Whether and to what extent false statements of fact, which are designed to deceive voters, are protected by the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.
Fifteen years ago, in the hope of eliminating or at least reducing partisan battles over redistricting, Arizona voters amended the state’s constitution to hand the power to draw boundaries for federal congressional districts over to an independent commission. The state’s legislature went to court to challenge that transfer of authority, and after an hour of oral arguments that focused almost exclusively on the words of the Constitution, it appeared that the Justices may be poised to return the power to the legislature – which could spell trouble not only for the Arizona commission, but also for California and the handful of other states with similar schemes. Let’s talk about Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission in Plain English. Continue reading »