A federal judge in Phoenix has taken an initial step toward allowing same-sex marriage in that state, indicating that he is likely to strike down the state’s ban when he rules on it soon.  Senior U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick, overseeing two cases involving some fifteen gay and lesbian couples, ruled Friday on only one part of that case, but left little doubt where his overall review was heading.

In his fourteen-page order, he ruled that state officials must treat a gay couple as having been married when one of the partners died this summer.  Thus, the death certificate must show that they were married at that time, according to the decision.  In the course of that ruling, though, the judge offered a range of observations that seem sure to doom Arizona’s ban when he does confront that issue directly.

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Petition of the day

By on Sep 12, 2014 at 10:09 pm

The petition of the day is:

13-1547

Issue: Whether operation of a “stay-put” provision in 20 U.S.C. § 1415(j) – which requires that a child whose educational program under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is under dispute to remain in his or her then-current placement while statutory “proceedings” to resolve the dispute are pending – terminates upon entry of a final judgment by a state or federal trial court in favor of the school district, as the D.C. and Sixth Circuits have held, or whether it continues until completion of any subsequent appeal of that judgment, as the Third and Ninth Circuits have held.

Friday round-up

By on Sep 12, 2014 at 8:04 am

Briefly:

  • In June, the Court held in Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus that a pre-enforcement challenge to an Ohio law prohibiting false statements in campaigns can go forward, when the challenge is brought by a group that has been previously been accused of violating the law and is at risk of being accused again. At his Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen reports that, on remand, a federal district court has now struck down the law itself.
  • On Saturday at 6 p.m., C-SPAN Radio will continue its series on historic oral arguments and what they might mean for current cases with a show on Virginia v. Black and Elonis v. United States.
  • At Re’s Judicata, Richard Re discusses a recent article by Erin Morrow Hawley in which Hawley suggests that, in its June decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, “all nine Justices . . . made ‘a serious mistake’ in failing to address, much less mention, a jurisdictional problem.”
  • In an op-ed for The New York Times, economists Henry Aaron, David Cutler, and Peter Orszag urge the Court to “wait to see what the lower courts dobefore deciding whether to intervene” in the challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies for individuals who purchase health insurance through exchanges established by the federal government, rather than a state.

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Petition of the day

By on Sep 11, 2014 at 10:13 pm

The petition of the day is:

Baker Botts, L.L.P. v. ASARCO, L.L.C.
14-103

Issue: Whether Section 330(a) of the Bankruptcy Code grants bankruptcy judges discretion to award compensation for the defense of a fee application.

hearing loop

The Court has announced that, when it resumes oral arguments in October, visitors will be able to use a new “induction loop” assistive listening system that has been installed in the Courtroom.  Visitors who use hearing aids or cochlear implants that include a telecoil (a small copper wire which boosts magnetic signals) will automatically experience improved sound quality and clarity simply by switching on their telecoil; no additional equipment is required.  Visitors who do not wear telecoil-enabled hearing devices, but who wish to take advantage of the loop system, may borrow a headset from the Court that will give them the same benefits as those with telecoil-enabled hearing aids and implants. Continue reading »

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Thursday round-up

By on Sep 11, 2014 at 6:24 am

The big news out of the Court yesterday came in the challenges to several states’ bans on same-sex marriage:  the seven petitions that have been filed so far will all be considered by the Justices at their private Conference on September 29.  Lyle Denniston reported on the latest developments for this blog; other coverage comes from Richard Wolf of USA Today and Ariane de Vogue of ABC News. Continue reading »

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Petition of the day

By on Sep 10, 2014 at 10:10 pm

The petition of the day is:

Williams v. Hastings
13-1221

Issue: Whether and under what circumstances a federal prisoner may use 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) to seek relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 when an intervening and retroactively applicable statutory decision of this Court demonstrates that his sentence his unlawful.

Matching the speed of lawyers and lower courts in handling the same-sex marriage controversy, the Supreme Court on Wednesday set the stage for its first look at all of the pending cases, when the Justices assemble on September 29 for a private Conference.

Seven petitions — three from Virginia, and one each from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin — will be submitted to the Justices at that session.  There is, of course, no certainty that they will act on any or all of them at that point, but the option is there.  With all sides agreeing that the time to rule is now, it would be a surprise if the Court opted to bypass the issue altogether in its new Term.

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This is the second installment of “Petitions to watch” featuring cases up for consideration at the Court’s September 29 “Long Conference.”  Because the Court has not considered new petitions since the end of June, the number of petitions slated for review at the September 29 Conference is quite large – more than at any other Conference of the year. Therefore, we are posting our list of petitions to watch at the “Long Conference” in three separate installments. This second installment includes petitions seeking review of issues such as the jurisdiction of tribal courts to adjudicate civil tort claims against non-members, disparate-impact claims under the Fair Housing Act, and the dismissal of a lawsuit as a “strike” under the Prison Litigation Reform Act.  The first installment is available here.

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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Wednesday round-up

By on Sep 10, 2014 at 7:42 am

Yesterday Indiana and Wisconsin both filed petitions asking the Court to review a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit striking down their respective bans on same-sex marriage.  Lyle covered the filings for this blog; other coverage comes from Lauren Raab of the Los Angeles Times and Tim Evans of the Indianapolis Star (via USA Today). Continue reading »

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