Petition of the day

By on Aug 26, 2016 at 11:11 pm

The petition of the day is:


Issue: (1) Whether the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act (“FEHBA”) preempts state laws that prevent carriers from seeking subrogation or reimbursement pursuant to their FEHBA contracts; and (2) whether FEHBA’s express-preemption provision, 5 U.S.C. § 8902(m)(1), which expressly “preempt[s] any State or local law” that would prevent enforcement of “the terms of any contract” between the Office of Personnel Management and a carrier which “relate to the nature, provision, or extent of coverage or benefits (including payments with respect to benefits)[,]” violates the Supremacy Clause.

Earlier this year, the Court threw out former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell’s conviction on federal corruption charges and sent the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  Both sides then asked the court of appeals to put the case on hold for thirty days.  The court of appeals agreed, instructing McDonnell and the federal government to “file a proposed briefing or a joint status report on or before August 29, 2016” – today.

In a filing today, the government and McDonnell’s lawyers asked the court to continue to keep the case on hold for three more weeks.  They explained that the two sides “have been conferring, and that process has progressed, but has not been completed in the Department of Justice.”  The filing also assured the court that the two sides would not ask to postpone proceedings in the case – suggesting that in three weeks we may know whether prosecutors intend to pursue charges against McDonnell (and his wife, Maureen) again.

Friday round-up

By on Aug 26, 2016 at 12:05 pm

Yesterday the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to leave in place a lower court ruling striking down North Carolina’s controversial election law, which included a requirement that voters provide a government-issued photo ID. Amy Howe covered the request for this blog, with other coverage coming from Lyle Denniston at his blog, Jessie Hellmann of The Hill, Pete Williams of NBC, and Rick Hasen at his Election Law Blog.

Continue reading »

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Earlier this month, North Carolina asked the Justices to halt a lower-court ruling that blocked the implementation of its controversial 2013 election law – including provisions requiring voters to present a government-issued photo ID, reducing the number of days when voters can go to the polls before Election Day, and eliminating preregistration for young voters.  The state told the Court that, unless it is allowed to apply those three provisions to the November 2016 general elections, there would be “voter confusion” and “consequent incentive to remain away from the polls.”  Continue reading »

Event announcement

By on Aug 26, 2016 at 10:25 am

On Thursday, September 1, at 12:00 p.m., the DC Bar will host a seminar on Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Pauley, a Missouri church’s challenge to its exclusion from a state program that provides funding for rubber playground surfaces. Hannah Smith from The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Heather Weaver from the ACLU will serve as panelists, and this blog’s Amy Howe will moderate. More information and registration are available for the in-person presentation and the webinar.


Thursday round-up

By on Aug 25, 2016 at 7:45 am

Mark Sherman of the Associated Press (via PBS NewsHour) looks at the presidential candidates’ positions on Supreme Court nominees, while at Real Clear Politics William Bennett argues that – although there are “many good reasons” to support Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump – “nothing on the home front is more important than the Supreme Court.” Continue reading »

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Petition of the day

By on Aug 24, 2016 at 11:23 pm

The petition of the day is:


Issue: Whether 21 U.S.C. § 853(a)(1) mandates joint and several liability among co-conspirators for forfeiture of the reasonably foreseeable proceeds of a drug conspiracy.

Tuesday round-up

By on Aug 23, 2016 at 7:41 am

At Vox, Dylan Matthews contends that the “unfilled vacancy of Antonin Scalia’s seat combined with a Hillary Clinton victory in November could set the Court on a new course.”  At MinnPost, Paul Anderson – a retired state supreme court justice – argues that the “refusal of Senate Republicans to allow any hearing on the nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court is a reckless and dangerous act.”   In The Atlantic, Barry Friedman analyzes Scalia’s legacy on policy and concludes that “a new president could change the constitutional law of policing more dramatically than it has been in decades.”  Finally, at CNN, Joan Biskupic looks back at Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s path to the Court thirty-five years ago and suggests that it “demonstrates how a long-odds nominee gets skillfully positioned to enjoy the luck of presidential selection.” Continue reading »

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Petition of the day

By on Aug 22, 2016 at 11:11 pm

The petition of the day is:


Issue: Whether an arbitration clause that does not expressly address the availability of class or collective arbitration is sufficient to defer the question of the availability of class or collective arbitration to an arbitrator to decide.

Monday round-up

By on Aug 22, 2016 at 6:48 am

In The New York Times, Alan Rappeport reports that “Democrats are planning to redouble their efforts to make the fate of the Supreme Court a signature election issue,” while Morgan Lee of the Associated Press (via Deseret News) reports on recent remarks by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who indicated that “split 4-4 decisions by the short-handed high court have left important public policy issues up in the air, including the president’s immigration plan, that are likely to be revisited by the court in the future.”  And in The Washington Post, Robert Barnes reports that neither Ginsburg “— the court’s oldest member, and so the one most often in the will-she-go spotlight — nor anyone else is preparing to step down soon.”


  • In The Washington Post, DeNeen Brown interviews Cecilia “Cissy” Marshall, the wife of the late Justice Thurgood Marshall.
  • At Nahmod Law, Sheldon Nahmod discusses the amicus brief that he filed in Manuel v. City of Joliet, in which the Court will consider whether the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizure allows a malicious prosecution claim.

Remember, we rely exclusively on our readers to send us links for our round-up.  If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at]

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