Less than two years after trying to sort out the proof federal prosecutors must offer to get convictions for bank fraud, the Supreme Court on Monday decided to try again even though few lower-court judges have yet applied the Justices’ prior ruling.  The Court granted review of the new case, Shaw v. United States, despite the government’s argument that very little was at stake.  The Court also took on a case about court review of orders to provide restitution to victims of crime.

Both cases will be heard and decided in the next Term starting in October.  So far, with Monday’s orders included, the Justices have put on the new Term’s docket only ten cases, including five that are being carried over from the current Term.  The pace of grants has fallen off since the Court wound up with eight members, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February.

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Monday round-up

By on Apr 25, 2016 at 5:56 am

Today the Justices will hear oral arguments in two cases.  Ronald Mann previewed Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, involving the standard for awarding attorney’s fees in a copyright case, for this blog, while law students Alexander Gray and Tina Zheng do the same for Cornell’s Legal Information Institute.

In his preview for this blog, Ronald Mann describes Monday’s other case, Cuozzo Speed Technologies v. Lee, as a “potential landmark patent case”; law students Sonia Gupta and Gerard Salvatore have Cornell’s preview.  And at STAT, Dylan Scott explains why, although the case, “on its face, has nothing to do with prescription drugs,” the Court’s ruling in it “could, nonetheless, leave a big mark on medicine.” Continue reading »

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Petition of the day

By on Apr 24, 2016 at 11:00 pm

The petition of the day is:

15-1232

Issue: Whether the Attorney General’s decision that an alien’s crime is “particularly serious,” thus barring the alien from receiving withholding of removal, is a decision “specified” by Congress “to be in the discretion of the Attorney General,” and therefore not reviewable by federal courts.

 
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The Court issued orders from its April 22 Conference on Monday. It granted review in two cases. On Tuesday the Court released its opinion in Heffernan v. City of Paterson. The Court also heard oral arguments on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The calendar for the April sitting is available here. On Friday the Justices will meet for their April 29 Conference; our list of “petitions to watch” for that Conference is available here.

 
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Oral argument audio and transcripts from this week’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court are available on Oyez. The Court heard arguments this week in:

United States v. Texas
United States v. Bryant
Universal Health Services v. Escobar
Birchfield v. North Dakota
Encino Motorcars v. Navarro

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The Mills Legal Clinic of Stanford Law School is seeking a new instructor for the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. The instructor will participate in all activities of the clinic, including: supervising students on case research and brief writing; delivering seminar-style instruction on the Supreme Court and elements of appellate advocacy; and identifying and scrutinizing opportunities for the clinic to become involved in new cases. The clinic instructor will be required to be at Stanford full-time while the clinic is running and to be available as needed during other time periods. The anticipated start date for this position is August 2016.

More information on the position and on Stanford’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic is available here.

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Friday round-up

By on Apr 22, 2016 at 10:57 am

Monday’s oral argument in United States v. Texas, the challenge to the Obama administration’s deferred-action policy for some undocumented immigrants, continues to dominate coverage of and commentary on the Court.  C-SPAN Radio will air the oral argument today at 3:30 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m.  In The Daily Signal, Josh Siegel reports on comments by Texas governor Greg Abbott, who predicts that the Court will deadlock in the case.  At Immigration Prof Blog, Peter Margulies responds to some of the arguments and commentary on work-authorization regulations, while Josh Blackman and Cristina Rodriguez discuss the case in a podcast for the National Constitution Center.  And in Fortune, Kevin Johnson suggests that Texas’s lawsuit is “little more than a political gambit.”  Continue reading »

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Petition of the day

By on Apr 21, 2016 at 11:00 pm

The petition of the day is:

15-797

Issue: (1) Whether it violates the Eighth Amendment and this Court’s decisions in Hall v. Florida and Atkins v. Virginia to prohibit the use of current medical standards on intellectual disability, and require the use of outdated medical standards, in determining whether an individual may be executed; and (2) whether execution of a condemned individual more than three-and-one-half decades after the imposition of a death sentence violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

 
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The last argument of the week brought the Justices a dispute under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Encino Motorcars v. Navarro. The case involves service advisors at car dealers – the employees who meet with the customers to discuss what services the customers should buy. Because many of those advisors are paid a salary, rather than commissions, the only basis for exempting them from the FLSA is a provision that exempts any “salesman, partsman, or mechanic primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles.” The provision obviously covers those who sell cars and those who fix them, but its application to those who sell services is not nearly so clear.

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Thursday round-up

By on Apr 21, 2016 at 8:51 am

Yesterday the Court issued opinions in several argued cases.  Andrew Hamm rounded up early coverage and commentary for this blog.  In Bank Markazi v. Peterson, the Court upheld a statute which directs that Iranian assets go to terror victims and their families.  Lyle Denniston covered the ruling for this blog, with other coverage coming from Tony Mauro of The National Law Journal (subscription or registration may be required), who reports that, before yesterday’s ruling, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Chief Justice John Roberts had “never been the only two dissenters in a case.”  Commentary on the ruling comes from Howard Wasserman at PrawfsBlawgContinue reading »

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