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Monday round-up

By on Jan 25, 2016 at 6:54 am

It has been a week since the Court announced that it would review United States v. Texas, the challenge to the Obama administration’s deferred-action policy for undocumented immigrants.  Commentary on the case comes from Leon Lazaroff, who at The Street notes that the Court’s “ruling, whatever is decided, is likely to determine the tenor of debate until election day”; and from Kenneth Jost, who at Jost on Justice contends that, in granting review, “the court gave a tantalizing clue that the conservative justices are if anything eager to expand a somewhat technical issue of administrative law into a major showdown over Obama’s use of presidential power.”  Continue reading »

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This week at the Court

By on Jan 24, 2016 at 1:29 pm

On Monday the Court issued orders from its January 22 Conference; it did not add any new cases to its merits docket, but it did release per curiam decisions in Amgen v. Harris and James v. City of Boise. On Monday the Court also announced its opinions in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission v. Electric Power Supply AssociationMenominee Tribe of Wisconsin v. United StatesMusacchio v. United States, and Montgomery v. Louisiana. The next sitting will begin on February 22. The calendar for that sitting is available here

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

The Court heard arguments this week in:

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On December 7, Justice Stephen Breyer was featured as part of the Aspen Institute’s Alma and Joseph Gildenhorn Book Series in Washington, D.C., where he discussed his latest book, The Court and the World. The Aspen Institute has posted video and a review of the event online.

Two days later, Justice Anthony Kennedy was honored with the Beacon Prize at Human Rights First’s 2015 Human Rights Summit Gala in Washington, D.C. According to Human Rights First, Kennedy received the prize for his leadership in “interpreting and applying the law to advance human dignity and freedom,” including his majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. “It is our duty as Americans, our duty as citizens of the world, our duty as persons, our duty as human beings, to ensure that light is always cast in the darkness and in the shadows where injustice persists,” Kennedy said in his acceptance speech. “We must always re-dedicate ourselves to the proposition that the work of freedom is never done.” Video of the award presentation and Kennedy’s speech is available online.

SCOTUS Dec 15 Jan 16

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Relist Watch

By on Jan 22, 2016 at 11:12 am

John Elwood reviews Tuesday’s relisted cases.

There are two types of people in D.C.: those who can’t handle a little bit of snow; and those who enjoy ridiculing them. This set us apart from the rest of the country, whose population is likewise divided into two groups: those who loathe Washingtonians for being snow weenies, and those who despise us for all the other things that make us contemptible. D.C. residents, the piles of snow that accumulate this weekend will eventually melt; the scorn your countrymen have heaped upon you is there for good.

On a happier note, this week’s relists suggest that this Term continues to get more interesting by the week (although the next grants seem likely to be argued in October). So sit back and relax, make up an enormous batch of French toast with all the bread and milk you’ve bought, and enjoy this week’s installment of Relist Watch.

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The oral argument in Sturgeon v. Frost confirmed our suspicions that it is a complicated and difficult case. Throughout the argument, the Justices stumbled over their questions, and the back and forth among the Justices and the lawyers was hard to follow even for those steeped in the issues and law of the case. But, by the end of the argument, the positions of the parties and the Justices were somewhat clear. While predictions are difficult (and foolish, if one thinks people will remember), the consensus view of the participants seems to be that the Ninth Circuit’s opinion is in jeopardy. The Justices pushed the federal government to defend the opinion below, and it was like pulling teeth. But, predicting how the Justices will resolve the merits is more fraught. The lawyers for John Sturgeon and the state of Alaska (as amicus) tried to make the issues black and white and about federal overreach, but they were met full force by lawyerly and pragmatic questions from Justices Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor. Justice Anthony Kennedy may be the swing Justice (surprise!), and I couldn’t discern his vote from his questions. So, I’ll punt any further predictions.

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Friday round-up

By on Jan 22, 2016 at 6:42 am

Tuesday’s opinion in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, holding that an unaccepted settlement offer or offer of judgment does not moot a plaintiff’s case, continues to garner coverage and commentary.  Ronald Mann analyzed the decision for this blog; commentary comes from Hera Arsen at Ogletree Deakins and Archis Parasharami (and others) at Mayer Brown’s Class Defense Blog.

On Monday, the Justices announced that they would review United States v. Texas, the challenge to the Obama administration’s deferred-action policy for undocumented immigrants.  Coverage comes from Liz Goodwin at Yahoo! News, while commentary comes from Garrett Epps for The Atlantic and Eric Segall at ACSblog. Continue reading »

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In Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, the Court agreed to review a Ninth Circuit decision that allowed a class action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to proceed against a government contractor, petitioner Campbell-Ewald Company. A simplistic view would see “Ninth Circuit” and “class action” and predict an easy reversal. But that is not what happened. Rather, although the Court reviewed two entirely separate arguments for dismissal, the Court rebuffed the contractor on both grounds.

The first issue in the case is the important one: whether a complete offer of relief to the named plaintiff in a class action moots that individual’s claim. This is the second in what is likely to be a continuing line of cases grappling with a defendant’s ability to force a settlement of a class action by offering full relief to the named plaintiffs. In some areas, the size of the individual claims makes such a tactic unprofitable (securities cases being the most obvious), but the strategy is commonly used by defendants in consumer and employee class actions under statutes like the TCPA and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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Thursday round-up

By on Jan 21, 2016 at 9:18 am

Yesterday the Justices heard oral arguments in Nebraska v. Parker, in which they are considering a dispute over land on the Omaha Indian reservation in Nebraska.  Lyle Denniston covered the case for this blog, with other coverage coming from Mark Walsh of Education Week.

At yesterday’s oral arguments in Sturgeon v. Frost, the Court was considering the case of an Alaska man who wants to use his hovercraft to hunt moose there.  Coverage comes from Robin Bravender for Greenwire and E&E Publishing (subscription required). Continue reading »

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