UPDATE Friday a.m.  A reply brief was filed late Thursday by challengers to the Texas law.  It can be read here.  This post now includes a link to the state’s opposing brief, as filed Thursday evening.

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Accusing some of the challengers to Texas’s voter ID law of rushing their case to an early trial to create an artificial “emergency,” state officials urged the Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon to leave that law in operation through this year’s general election — with early voting starting next Monday.

The law, the state’s legal response said, has been in operation for fifteen months, which was the status quo that a federal judge in Corpus Christi disturbed when she barred enforcement of the law last week, just nine days before voting was to begin.  The judge, the state argued, should have held off with her decision until after the elections this November.

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Vowing to come back soon with a plea for the Supreme Court to take on the basic constitutional issue of state power to ban same-sex marriages, state officials in Alaska on Thursday asked the Court in the meantime to delay lower court orders that would allow such marriages beginning on Friday.

The application (Parnell v. Hamby, docket 14A413) seeks a postponement pending final action in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where the state has filed an appeal.   The request was filed with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who handles emergency legal pleas from the geographic area of the Ninth Circuit, which includes Alaska.  Kennedy can act on his own, or refer the request to the full Court.

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The Republican River

 

All the rivers run into the sea;

Yet the sea is not full;

Unto the place from whence the rivers come,

Thither they return again.

–Ecclesiastes 1:7 (KJV)

 

 

On Tuesday, the Court heard arguments in an original jurisdiction dispute between Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska over flows of a common river: the Republican River. After the states disputed the terms of their 1943 compact, they enacted a 2003 settlement stipulation. When the parties confronted a breach by Nebraska and a dispute over the water supply models they used to calculate Nebraska’s share, they reached an impasse. Kansas exercised its veto power, sending the dispute first to arbitration, then the Special Master and to the Supreme Court. Continue reading »

Relist Watch

By on Oct 16, 2014 at 10:57 am

John Elwood reviews Tuesday’s relisted cases.

Though we’re just a week into the new Term, OT2014 has already had more than its share of headlines, with the Justices issuing a slew of emergency orders on hot topics ranging from gay marriage to voting rights to abortion. But those faded into insignificance Wednesday as the Court took up the controversial issue of teeth whitening, with the Nine debating whether strips, gels, or trays were the best way to get their ivories just the right shade of Biden. The magic number for adult teeth may be thirty-two, but the magic number for relists this week is the almost manageable number of eleven. Relist Watch will now pause for three minutes and thirty-seven seconds while you watch that last link.     Continue reading »

 
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At its Conference on October 17, 2014, the Court will consider petitions seeking review of issues such as the standard of review for exhaustion under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the admissibility of lay testimony that is based on specialized knowledge, and proof of causation in a prosecution for insider trading.

This edition of “Petitions to watch” features petitions raising issues that Tom has determined to have a reasonable chance of being granted, although we post them here without consideration of whether they present appropriate vehicles in which to decide those issues.  Our policy is to include and disclose all cases in which Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, represents either a party or an amicus in the case, with the exception of the rare cases in which Goldstein & Russell represents the respondent(s) but does not appear on the briefs in the case.

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Thursday round-up

By on Oct 16, 2014 at 6:12 am

Yesterday the Court heard oral arguments in the patent procedure case Teva Pharmaceuticals USA v. Sandoz, Inc. Lyle Denniston covered the oral argument for this blog. At Written Description, Lisa Larrimore Ouellette provides her “thoughts about the leaning of each Justice,” while Irena Royzman analyzes the arguments in the case for Law360 (registration or subscription required).  At ISCOTUSnow, Edward Lee predicts the winner of the oral argument in both of yesterday’s cases based on the number of questions for each side at the oral argument.  Continue reading »

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Event announcments

By on Oct 16, 2014 at 12:05 am

Today at 1 p.m. the State and Local Legal Center will host a preview of the Court’s Term focusing on cases that relate to state and local government. The webinar is free; register here.

On November 13 Bloomberg BNA will host a day-long conference on the Court’s impact on patent enforcement at Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, DC. More information is available here.

 
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Petition of the day

By on Oct 15, 2014 at 10:15 pm

The petition of the day is:

14-168

Issue: (1) Whether, under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), a service provider that contracts with an employer to provide services to an ERISA plan exercises “control” over “plan assets” when the service provider (a) contracts with the employer for compensation for services provided to the plan, and (b) elects to exercise its contractual right to receive that compensation, rather than waiving that right; and (2) whether under the plain language of section 408 of ERISA, a provider of services to an ERISA plan can be held to have violated section 406 of ERISA, which states that a fiduciary to an ERISA plan may not “deal with the assets of the plan in his own interest or for his own account,” when it has received only “reasonable compensation” for its services.

Saying that the spread across the country of new laws to restrict voting rights will create new tests of constitutionality for the Supreme Court, the Obama administration on Wednesday evening asked the Justices in the meantime to bar Texas from using its strict new voter ID law.  The government’s application was one of three (the others are here and here) seeking delay of the new law — a delay that clearly would last through this year’s election, including early voting that starts Monday in Texas.

The challenges followed swiftly after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit voted to allow the law to be in full effect, after having never been used in a federal election.  The pleas for delay to the Supreme Court do not ask for an immediate ruling on the law’s constitutionality, leaving that to the Fifth Circuit for now instead.

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