This week at the Court

By on Nov 23, 2014 at 12:01 am

On Tuesday the Justices will meet for their November 25 Conference. Our list of “Petitions to watch” for that Conference is here.


January arguments, day by day

By on Nov 22, 2014 at 9:01 am

The Supreme Court on Friday released the schedule of oral arguments for the session beginning January 12.  Arguments begin at 10 a.m. each day; each argument will be for one hour.  There will be no afternoon arguments.

The daily schedule, with brief summaries of the issues and links to case pages, follows the jump.

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UPDATED 11:21 a.m.   The Oklahoma petition for review before the appeals court rules is here.  The state noted that it is willing to have its case, if granted, put on the same briefing schedule as King v. Burwell, and asks for a quick response to its petition if the Court wishes a response.  The state would seek argument time, it noted.  (Thanks to a helpful reader for sending a copy of the petition.)


The state of Oklahoma, arguing that the Supreme Court should consider the views of a state government when it rules on the legality of federal tax subsidies to be paid to insurance-buying consumers under the Affordable Care Act, has urged the Court to review that state’s case when it considers the already granted case of King v. Burwell.

Following a request by the Obama administration, Oklahoma’s case is on hold now at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, while the Justices review the King case.  But Oklahoma’s attorney general, Scott Pruitt, is now seeking to bypass the appeals court with a new petition.  The petition itself is not yet available, but it has been docketed by the Supreme Court.

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Petition of the day

By on Nov 21, 2014 at 10:24 pm

The petition of the day is:


Issue: Whether conspiracy to commit a robbery, absent any overt act in furtherance of the crime, is itself a violent felony presenting a serious potential risk of physical injury justifying an enhanced sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act.


Specializing in Supreme Court advocacy; how Supreme Court arguments differ from any other; and what the Court does, whether interpreting the Constitution or a statute.

“Just the way they say, ‘Battle plans never survive contact with the enemy,’ oral argument plans never survive contact with the Court.”

In this six-part interview, Eric Schnapper — Supreme Court advocate and holder of the Betts, Patterson & Mines Professorship in Trial Advocacy at the University of Washington School of Law — discusses his background, from Yale Law School to a twenty-five-year career at the NAACAP Legal Defense Fund to legal academe; how Supreme Court advocacy differs from other legal advocacy; the importance of legal briefs and their relation to oral argument; what one can and cannot prepare for in oral argument; and stories and what one learns from a long career as a Supreme Court advocate.

Posted in Everything Else

Friday round-up

By on Nov 21, 2014 at 5:40 am


  • At his eponymous blog, Luke Rioux cites Monday’s summary decision in Glebe v. Frost as an example of how the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act “forces federal courts to deny habeas relief even when a conviction is fundamentally flawed.”
  • At Forbes, JV DeLong weighs in on King v. Burwell, the ACA subsidies case, and urges the Court to “unlock the armory and pull out the rusty but still serviceable sword of non-delegation to stop the nonsense, and restore democratic government.”
  • In The Huffington Post, Fred Wertheimer predicts that the Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC “will go down as one of the worst Supreme Court decisions ever,” and he proposes “a number of important reforms that can be made within the constitutional framework of this decision.”

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Posted in Round-up

Petition of the day

By on Nov 20, 2014 at 10:15 pm

The petition of the day is:


Issue: Whether, when a debtor in good faith converts a bankruptcy case to Chapter 7 after confirmation of a Chapter 13 plan, undistributed funds held by the Chapter 13 trustee are refunded to the debtor (as the Third Circuit held in In re Michael), or distributed to creditors (as the Fifth Circuit held below).

Lawyers for seven same-sex couples in Louisiana — some married, some seeking to marry — asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to review the case before it is decided in a federal appeals court.  The case, the lawyers argued, would widen the scope of the Court’s consideration of the constitutional controversy.  The new petition is here; it has not yet been formally docketed.

There is no need, the document argued, for the Court to await “further percolation of the issue in the courts of appeal.”   There is now a “head-on split” among federal appeals courts, so it “would serve little utility” for the Justices to let the Louisiana case unfold in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, where the case is now pending; a hearing has been set in the appeals court for January 9.

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With two Justices dissenting, the Supreme Court on Thursday refused to delay same-sex marriages in South Carolina, leaving intact a federal judge’s order that goes into effect at noon and strikes down the state’s ban.  Neither the Court nor the dissenters gave any explanation.

The order continued the Court’s pattern in recent weeks of refusing to delay lower-court orders nullifying state bans on same-sex marriages, at least when a federal appeals court had also refused to issue a postponement.  Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented Thursday, as they had previously.

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At its Conference on November 25, 2014, the Court will consider petitions seeking review of issues such as the reviewability of the Secretary of the Interior’s decision to recognize a tribe, the retroactive application of Miller v. Alabama, a good faith belief in the invalidity of a patent as a defense in an infringement suit, and certification of a class action settlement resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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.

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