Coverage of the opinion in Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., in which the Court held that an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship for would-be voters is preempted by federal law, comes from Nina Totenberg of National Public Radio (audio), Bill Mears of CNN, Jess Bravin and Tamara Audi of The Wall Street Journal, Jeremy Leaming of ACSblog, Richard Wolf of USA Today, Laura Klein Mullen at JURIST, and Aaron Kase at Lawyers.com. Commentary comes from Derek T. Muller at Excess of Democracy, while at The Daily Beast, Richard L. Hasen argues that although the decision may look like a win for federalism, it “could shift some power in elections back to the states.” Both the Brennan Center for Justice and the Constitutional Accountability Center hailed the decision as a “victory.”
The petition of the day is:
Issue: Whether the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires a school district to pay for a residential placement that is required to treat a child’s mental illness.
This morning the Court granted four new cases and issued five opinions.
Lyle’s report on the opinion in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (including a “Plain English” summary) is here. Marty Lederman’s post examining the possible implications of the decision is here. Tejinder Singh also provided our initial analysis of that decision.
Max Mallory rounded up early news coverage of today’s decisions and orders here.
UPDATED: Max has a post with video introducing the blog’s new format here.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That would seem to be the lesson from the Court’s decision in Alleyne v. United States, which today resolved a decade-old controversy regarding the constitutional distinction between two kinds of sentences: mandatory minimums and statutory maximums.
Because merely keeping quiet when police ask damaging questions is not claiming a right to silence, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, prosecutors may use that silence against the suspect at the trial. If an individual is voluntarily talking to the police, he or she must claim the Fifth Amendment right of silence, or lose it; simply saying nothing won’t do, according to the ruling.
This morning the Court issued its decision in Maracich v. Spears. In a blow to plaintiffs’ attorneys, the Court narrowly construed the so-called “litigation exception” to the federal Drivers’ Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), ruling that the exception did not cover (and that the DPPA therefore prohibits) the use of protected data from state drivers’ databases to solicit clients.
Showing a strong suspicion that big drug companies with deep pockets may be using their money to shield shaky patent rights, the Supreme Court on Monday for the first time cleared the way for antitrust lawsuits to challenge payoffs between brand-name drugmakers to keep would-be competitors who make generic substitutes temporarily out of their market.
But winning such lawsuits will hardly be easy, because the Court refused to start with the premise that such payments are probably illegal. The five-to-three decision in Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis (docket 12-416) was based far more on antitrust than patent law, and was at least a warning that settling lawsuits — at least in the drug industry — is a practice not necessarily free from risk. (Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., took no part in the ruling.)
The Court, by a seven-to-two vote, today held that federal law preempts — that is to say, renders invalid — an Arizona law requiring voter registration officials to reject a voter’s application for registration if it is not accompanied by evidence of U.S. citizenship above and beyond the attestation of citizenship the applicant has made on the federal “Motor Voter” form. And in so doing, the Court definitively holds for the first time–with only Justice Thomas in dissent on this point–that Congress has substantial authority to regulate the manner in which States register voters for federal elections.
UPDATED Tuesday pm: Arizona officials have announced that they will now pursue the suggestion offered by the Court’s opinion on how the state might be able to gain a right to require proof of citizenship for voters. The official statement is here.
In a ruling that might easily be misunderstood if not read very closely, the Supreme Court on Monday simultaneously strengthened Congress’s hand in expanding the ranks of eligible voters, and yet assured states that they retain the ultimate power to decide who gets to vote. The apparent bottom line: states cannot now require voters to show proof that they are U.S. citizens, but the Court has given them a plan that could gain them that power.
The decision in the case of Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (docket 12-71) had major potential for sorting out the dual roles of Congress and the states in deciding eligibility to vote, and that was even more vital in the midst of a new national controversy over efforts among some states to narrow eligibility. The end result will give both sides in that controversy encouragement, but perhaps rather confusing legal guidance.
Here is some early coverage of today’s orders and opinions.
The Court issued opinions this morning in five argued cases: Salinas v. Texas, Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, Alleyne v. United States, Maracich v. Spears, and Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council. In the Arizona case, the Court struck down a state law requiring would-be voters to prove that they are U. S. citizens. Early coverage comes from Greg Stohr of Bloomberg, Pete Williams and Erin McClam of NBC News, Adam Liptak of The New York Times, Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal, Josh Gerstein of Politico, Richard Wolf of USA Today, Jesse Holland of the Associated Press, Lawrence Hurley of Reuters, and Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal.