Yesterday the Court heard oral argument in a pair of consolidated cases and issued unanimous opinions in two others.

In the consolidated cases Dorsey v. United States and Hill v. United States, the Court is considering whether the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 – which reduced federal sentences for crack cocaine crimes – applies when the offense occurred before the statute went into effect, but the defendant was not sentenced until after the effective date.  Lyle Denniston reported on the oral argument for this blog; other coverage comes from Adam Liptak of the New York Times, Mike Sacks of the Huffington Post, Robert Barnes of the Washington Post, David G. Savage of the Los Angeles Times, and Jesse J. Holland of the Associated Press.  The editorial board of the Washington Post also weighs in on the case, arguing that “[i]t is simply wrong to sentence a defendant to a penalty that Congress and the president have already determined is grossly unfair and racially discriminatory.”  A transcript of yesterday’s argument is available here.

The Court also issued opinions in two cases yesterday.  In Caraco v. Novo Nordisk, the Court unanimously held that a generic drug manufacturer may employ the counterclaim provision of the Hatch-Waxman Act to force correction of a use code that inaccurately describes the brand’s patent as covering a particular method of using a drug.  Greg Stohr covered the decision for Bloomberg; other coverage comes from Anna Yukhananov and James Vicini of Reuters, Jaclyn Belczyk of JURIST, Brent Kendall of the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), and the Associated Press. Joe Palazzolo of the Wall Street Journal Law Blog and Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy both focus on a passage in Justice Kagan’s opinion for the Court in which she relies on (among other things) an assertion that the New York Mets have “no chance whatsoever (because they have no hitting)” of winning the World Series to illustrate her point that “context changes meaning.”

In yesterday’s second opinion, Filarsky v. Delia, the Court unanimously held that a private individual temporarily retained by the government to carry out its work is entitled to seek qualified immunity from suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.  Among those providing coverage of the opinion are Adam Liptak at the New York Times, David G. Savage at the Los Angeles Times, James Vicini at Reuters, Debra Cassens Weiss at the ABA Journal, Jessica M. Karmasek at Legal News Line, Kent Scheidegger at Crime and Consequences, Steven D. Schwinn at Constitutional Law Prof Blog, Jaclyn Belczyk at JURIST, and the Associated Press.

Today the Court will hear oral argument in Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter, in which the Court will consider whether the federal government has a duty to pay all of the contract costs when an Indian tribe performs government functions under contract, even though Congress has imposed spending limits. Lyle previewed the case for this blog here.


  • At Balkinization, Marty Lederman links to a recent article in The New Republic about the challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  At Immigration Prof Blog, Kevin Johnson previews next week’s oral argument in Arizona v. United States, and concludes that “there is considerable uncertainty today about the extent of the power of the states to participate in immigration enforcement.”
  • At JURIST, Julia Zebley reports on Monday’s oral arguments in Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp. [Disclosure: The law firm of Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, represents the petitioners in Christopher, but the author of this post is not involved in the case.]
  • At The Note blog of ABC News, Ariane de Vogue looks beyond the health care cases to some of the “other compelling cases that will be decided in the coming weeks” at the Court.

Posted in Round-up

Recommended Citation: Conor McEvily, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 18, 2012, 9:32 AM),