Editor's Note :

Editor's Note :

The court will issue orders from its January 13 conference on Tuesday, January 17, at 9:30 a.m. There is a possibility of opinions on Wednesday, January 18, at 10:00 a.m.
On Tuesday the court hears oral argument in Lynch v. Dimaya. Kevin Johnson has our preview.
On Tuesday the court also hears oral argument in Midland Funding, LLC v. Johnson. Ronald Mann has our preview.

Petition of the day

By on Jan 13, 2017 at 11:10 pm

The petition of the day is:

16-673

Issues: (1) Whether a federal official may retroactively ratify an ultra vires government action when: (a) no federal official was authorized to perform the act at the time it was initially undertaken; (b) the purported ratification does not include an examination of any facts related to the act performed; or (c) the ratification purports to encompass not only the initial act but also federal court rulings entered in response to the act; and (2) whether federal courts possess subject matter jurisdiction under Article III of the Constitution to hear a case filed at the behest of an individual who, from the time suit was filed until judgment was entered, lacked authority to vindicate the executive branch’s interest in seeing that the law is obeyed.

Oyez has posted audio and transcripts from this week’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court.

The court heard argument this week in:

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Update at 4:36 p.m.,  January 13: This post has been expanded to include summaries of all the cases the court agreed today to review.

Last week the justices held their first private conference of 2017. They did not grant any cases from that conference, but they made up for last week’s dearth of cases, and then some, after today’s conference, by granting review in 16 new cases, for a total of 13 additional hours of argument. In doing so, the court also took a big step toward filling out its merits docket for this term.

Today’s grants included several closely watched business cases. In Sandoz v. Amgen and Amgen v. Sandoz, the justices will consider the process for resolving patent disputes relating to the federal Food and Drug Administration’s licensing of “biologics” – products such as vaccines, viruses and antitoxins. The court had asked the federal government to weigh in last summer; the U.S. solicitor general recommended that both petitions be granted.

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gorsuch

Neil Gorsuch was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit by President George W. Bush on May 10, 2006, and confirmed shortly thereafter. Both his pre-judicial resumé and his body of work as a judge make him a natural fit for an appointment to the Supreme Court by a Republican president. He is relatively young (turning 50 this year), and his background is filled with sterling legal and academic credentials. He was a Marshall Scholar at the University of Oxford, graduated from Harvard Law School, clerked for prominent conservative judges (Judge David Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, as well as Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy of the Supreme Court), and was a high-
ranking official in the Bush Justice Department before his judicial appointment. He is celebrated as a keen legal thinker and a particularly incisive legal writer, with a flair that matches
— or at least evokes — that of the justice whose seat he would be nominated to fill. In fact, one study has identified him as the most natural successor to Justice Antonin Scalia on the Trump shortlist, both in terms of his judicial style and his substantive approach.

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Friday round-up

By on Jan 13, 2017 at 7:18 am

At The Economist, Steven Mazie discusses Wednesday’s argument in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, in which the court considered what level of educational benefit students with disabilities must receive, observing that it “now falls on the justices to decide whether to endorse the 10th circuit’s all-too-minimal standard for educational equality for disabled students or to articulate a higher standard,” and that the “tenor of the argument suggests they’d like to find a way to do the latter.” In The Christian Science Monitor, Henry Gass notes that Endrew F., along with another argued earlier this term, Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, could make this “a banner year” at the court “for disabled students, their parents, and the cash-strapped school districts that educate them.”  Continue reading »

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Petition of the day

By on Jan 12, 2017 at 11:07 pm

The petition of the day is:

16-707

Issues: (1) Whether the filing of a proof of claim is debt collection as defined by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; (2) whether the Bankruptcy Code, which governs the filing of proofs of claim in bankruptcy, precludes the application of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to the filing of a proof of claim for an unextinguished time-barred debt; and (3) whether the filing of a proof of claim for an unextinguished time-barred debt in a bankruptcy proceeding violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

 

judgegruender2

Raymond Gruender, who is 53, was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit by President George W. Bush in 2004, after working in private practice and serving as a prosecutor in the Eastern District of Missouri, first as an assistant U.S. Attorney and then as U.S. Attorney. Gruender earned a B.A., an M.B.A. and a J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. He served as Missouri state director for Sen. Bob Dole’s unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1996. Since his confirmation by a vote of 97-1, after an uncontroversial confirmation hearing, Gruender has provided a solidly conservative vote on the 8th Circuit. He appeared on President-elect Donald Trump’s original list of 11 potential Supreme Court nominees that was released on May 18, 2016.

Gruender’s deep Midwestern roots and lack of an Ivy League affiliation may be appealing if Trump is seeking a nominee who hails from outside the coastal elites. Gruender also has a compelling personal story. When he was in law school, his father, angered after Gruender’s mother fled to avoid spousal abuse, pulled a gun on Gruender and his siblings, shooting Gruender and his sister, and later committing suicide. According to an official Minnesota State Bar Association publication, Gruender “knocked his father to the floor before his 12-year-old brother could be shot.”

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screen-shot-2017-01-12-at-1-28-29-pm

Ahmer Abbasi (Center for Constitutional Rights)

It has been more than 15 years since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, but litigation related to the attacks and the U.S. government’s response continues to wind its way through the courts. Next week the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in one such case, filed by a group of Muslim men who were in the country illegally and were arrested after the attacks. In their lawsuit, the men contend that their rights were violated when they were held in detention centers under unreasonably harsh conditions until they were cleared of any connection to terrorism, even though federal officials knew that they had no such connection, because of their race and ethnicity.

As the case comes to the Supreme Court, the question before the justices is not whether the men’s rights were violated, but instead whether their claims against a group of federal officials can go forward at all. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit agreed with the plaintiffs and allowed several claims to proceed. The officials – former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, and former INS Commissioner James Ziglar, along with Dennis Hasty and James Sherman, the wardens at the federal detention center where some detainees were held – now urge the Supreme Court to reverse that ruling and dismiss the claims against them, arguing that litigating the plaintiffs’ claims would entangle courts in questions relating to national security, intelligence, and immigration. But the plaintiffs counter that the officials must be held accountable for their actions to demonstrate the country’s “commitment to the rule of law” and to deter future constitutional violations.

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Relist Watch

By on Jan 12, 2017 at 10:01 am

John Elwood reviews Monday’s relists

Happy New Year, everyone! 2016 was such a trainwreck of a year, right up to the bitter (and I mean bitter) end; 2017 will surely be better! Already, it’s as if a warm breeze has blown into the nation’s capital, ushering in an era of good feeling and unity so profound and sincere that no ironic hyperlink could adequately express it. And it looks like all the weird news stories are finally behind us.

But 2016 was not all bad. It brought with it what will one day be recognized, along with self-driving cars, drone snack delivery, and the clip-on man bun, as one of the defining technological breakthroughs of the 21st century: Relist Watch SelectTM. A week when we have 27(!) new relists seems like a fitting time to reflect on the genius of Voltaire’s quip, “If Relist Watch SelectTM did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it.” (Disclosure: Quotation partly made up.) Without it, there is no guarantee that this would have been posted before, say, the day in late June when the last of this Friday’s grants will ultimately be decided.

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Thursday round-up

By on Jan 12, 2017 at 7:06 am

Yesterday the court heard oral argument in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, in which the justices considered what level of educational benefit students with disabilities must receive. Amy Howe analyzes the argument for this blog. Additional coverage comes from Mark Walsh at Education Week, Jim Gerl at the Special Education Law Blog, and Nina Totenberg at NPR, who notes that “by the end of the argument, there appeared to be a majority of justices willing to put more bite into the guarantee of a free appropriate public education for children with disabilities.” Commentary comes from Noah Feldman at Bloomberg View, who argues that “there’s something morally troubling about saying that our national standard of appropriate education is to be better than nothing.”

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