The October Term 2012 began yesterday with oral arguments in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum and Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Florida. Kali Borkoski of this blog links to both argument transcripts.

In Kiobel, the Justices considered whether corporations can be sued under the Alien Tort Statute for human rights abuses committed abroad. Coverage of the arguments comes from Lyle Denniston of this blog, Greg Stohr of Bloomberg, Nina Totenberg of NPR, Adam Liptak of The New York Times, Robert Barnes of The Washington Post, Mark Sherman of the Associated Press, Jonathan Stempel of Reuters, Ariane de Vogue of ABC News, Lawrence Hurley at E&E Greenwire, David G. Savage of the Los Angeles Times, UPI, Kenneth Anderson of the Volokh Conspiracy, Michael Bobelian at Forbes, and Warren Richey of The Christian Science Monitor. In an op-ed for The Christian Science Monitor, Jodie A. Kirshner argues that the Court “should not use Monday’s argument as an opportunity to start lagging behind the rest of the world” in providing a hospitable forum for redress.

In Lozman, the Court considered what floating structures qualify as a “vessel,” thereby triggering federal maritime jurisdiction. Lyle Denniston covered the argument for this blog, while Jesse J. Holland of the Associated Press reports that the Justices seemed “unclear” about how to classify the structure at issue in the case. Laura Green of the Palm Beach Post, Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers, and Ina Paiva Cordle of the Miami Herald have additional coverage. [Disclosure: The law firm of Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, served as co-counsel on an amicus brief in support of the petitioners in Kiobel; the firm is also among the counsel for the petitioner in Lozman.]

Coverage also focused on the many denials of cert. in the lengthy order list that the Court issued yesterday.  The Associated Press reports on denials of a challenge to Washington State’s Top-2 primary system, a challenge to Minnesota’s prohibition on endorsements and the solicitation of campaign contributions by its judicial candidates, an appeal from a group seeking to avoid a Maine campaign disclosure law, an appeal to a decision stopping a Nebraska anti-abortion group from lobbying for a state law requiring health screenings for women seeking abortions, a challenge to a “federal rule that bars development on 50 million acres of roadless areas in national forests,” and an appeal of “a former toxicologist convicted of poisoning her husband.” The Associated Press also reports (via The Washington Post) that the Court declined to review a challenge to the Transportation Security Administration’s full-body scanners at airports (via the Chicago Tribune) a challenge to Illinois’s redistricting, and (via the Chicago Tribune) an appeal of a fraud conviction from the former owner of a Iowa kosher meat packing plant.  Greg Stohr of Bloomberg reports that the Court denied Merrill Lynch’s petition for certiorari, which sought dismissal of a class action suit brought on behalf of hundreds of African-American financial advisers.  Douglas A. Berman of Sentencing Law and Policy notes the denial of several sentencing law petitions. And Mark Walsh at Education Week notes that the Court declined a case from two Kansas school district employees who “sought to use the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to revive their claims of age discrimination in employment.”

The Court also invited the Solicitor General to file briefs expressing the views of the United States in several cases, including – as Greg Stohr of Bloomberg reports – a trio of cases arising out of the Allen Stanford Ponzi scheme. And as Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog and UPI report, the Court asked the government to file a response to a petition for rehearing filed by Liberty University in its religious challenges to the individual and employer mandates of Affordable Care Act; in the wake of its decision upholding individual mandate last June, the Court had denied Liberty’s petition for review of the Fourth Circuit’s decision dismissing its case.  Debra Cassens Weiss also has coverage of the Court’s order in the ABA Journal.

Previews of the October Term 2012 continue to roll in. At Forbes, Daniel Fisher previews three cases involving class action procedure. The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times flags the Voting Rights Act case Shelby County v. Holder and the affirmative action case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin as “tests for civil rights.” At Sentencing Law and Policy, Douglas A. Berman calls the Term “not-so-big” on the sentencing front. At the ABA Journal, Erwin Chemerinsky previews Fisher, while Mark Walsh focuses on Fisher with a nod to several other cases. And Greg Stohr of Bloomberg (video), Mike Sacks and a panel of experts at the Huffington Post (video), Nina Totenberg and Celeste Headlee of NPR, The Associated Press (via the Huffington Post) and Geoffery Lou Guray and Katelyn Polantz at PBS NewsHour’s The Rundown blog all discuss coming attractions from a wider angle.


  • Warren Richey of The Christian Science Monitor asks: “Which version of Chief Justice John Roberts will show up at the high court this year?” Kenneth Jost of Jost on Justice contends that arguments in Kiobel and Fisher may provide an answer.
  • Lisa Keen of LGBTQNation reports that yesterday’s orders conspicuously excluded any cases on California’s Proposition 8 or same-sex marriage.
  • Don Franzen interviewed Justice Scalia for the Los Angeles Review of Books.
  • At the Huffington Post, Bob Edgar calls for the adoption of a formal Code of Conduct for the Justices.
  • At Slate, Richard Hasen flags a dispute over “potentially thousands of Ohio ballots that the state will not count solely because of poll worker error” and notes that several courts have used Bush v. Gore “as the basis for expanding voting rights.”
  • Hassan Giordano of the Philadelphia Examiner notes that Pennsylvania’s voter identification  law puts the state at the center of another controversy which may reach the Court.
  • Also at the Huffington Post, Armand Derfner and J. Gerald Hebert call for the Court to “expand its understanding of the First Amendment to encompass the right to register and cast a ballot.”
  • At the First Amendment Center, Tony Mauro notes the absence of First Amendment cases on the docket for this Term.
  • As the presidential election looms, James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times discusses the lack of discussion of the Court on the campaign trail.  Alan Wirzbicki of the Boston Globe contends that the winner is likely to shape the Court for years to come, and Bill Mears of CNN looks at potential Court nominees from either an Obama second term or Romney presidency.
  • The Washington Post has a photo gallery of scenes from the Court on the first day of the new Term.
  • At the Taking Note blog of The New York Times, Lincoln Caplan argues that “there’s every reason to expect the court to continue along its conservative path” this Term.
  • In his Sidebar column for The New York Times, Adam Liptak reports that the Court’s health care decision last Term appears to have “simultaneously bolstered support for the law and hurt its own reputation.” John Gibeaut of the ABA Journal discusses the impact of the health care decision.
  • At the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Peter Landers highlights five “cases to watch” this Term.
  • Stephanie Francis Ward of the ABA Journal interviews Hanna Stotland and Jay Wexler on “what it takes” to obtain a clerkship on the Court.
  • Catalina Carmia of USA Today’s On Politics Blog speculates on possible Supreme Court nominations by a President Romney.
  • At USA Today, Tony Mauro argues that the Justices “won’t let animosity” left over from last Term affect the collegiality of the Court.
  • The UK Supreme Court Blog gets a visit from this blog’s Lyle Denniston.
  • Tom Goldstein thanks readers on the tenth anniversary of SCOTUSblog, while Max Mallory introduces changes to our case page format.

Posted in Round-up

Recommended Citation: Kiran Bhat, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 2, 2012, 9:12 AM),