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Reading the political and legal landscapes; what it means when John Lewis and Newt Gingrich are on the same side on voting rights; reading Supreme Court cases for their signals; an expanding litigation portfolio; and the importance of the NAACP’s advocacy model in building Supreme Court cases.

In this five-part interview, Edward Blum – Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Founder and President of the Project on Fair Representation – discusses his background, running for Congress, and moving from public finance to political advocacy to Supreme Court litigation; the meeting of race, ethnicity and religion; the desire to “make big law” and how to read Supreme Court signals; and success building cases from the ground up – from Bush v. VeraNAMUDNO v. Holder, and Shelby County v. Holder to Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin and beyond – with “people of good will.”

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Petition of the day

By on Aug 7, 2014 at 10:19 pm

The petition of the day is:

Crews v. Farina
13-1227

Issue: Whether a habeas court may evade the highly deferential standard of review in the habeas statute by characterizing its legal and policy differences with the state court as unreasonable factual determinations and grant the writ on the basis of ineffectiveness of appellate counsel when the state court held that the cross-examination of the mitigation witness was not fundamental error under state law.

 

 
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Lawyers for two same-sex couples in Utah who wish to marry and a married same-sex Utah couple seeking to have the state recognize their marriage in Iowa will be filing papers in the Supreme Court urging review of the new appeal by state officials in the case of Herbert v. Kitchen.

The Utah case, filed on Tuesday, was the first same-sex marriage lawsuit to reach the Justices after a 13-month wave of lower court rulings striking down state bans.   On Thursday, the National Center for Lesbian Rights — part of the legal team for the three same-sex couples who won the Utah case in lower courts — indicated that a brief supporting review will be filed.  The team, of course, will be urging the Court to uphold their victory.

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Capture

What a non-lawyer brings to a political advocacy that sees litigation – especially Supreme Court cases – as the linchpin; the importance of race and religion and what growing up in a Jewish household in Texas means to a passion for civil rights; and seeking to change Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In this five-part interview, Edward Blum – Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Founder and President of the Project on Fair Representation – discusses his background, running for Congress, and moving from public finance to political advocacy to Supreme Court litigation; the meeting of race, ethnicity and religion; the desire to “make big law” and how to read Supreme Court signals; and success building cases from the ground up – from Bush v. VeraNAMUDNO v. Holder, and Shelby County v. Holder to Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin and beyond – with “people of good will.”

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Thursday round-up

By on Aug 7, 2014 at 7:48 am

Coverage of the Court once again focused on the issue of same-sex marriage – and in particular, which case the Court might review on the merits and when.  As Lyle reported for this blog on Tuesday, officials in Utah filed a petition asking the Court to weigh in and uphold that state’s ban on same-sex marriage, while the Virginia attorney general announced in a filing in the Fourth Circuit that he would be asking the Court to strike down his state’s ban.  David Savage covered those developments for the Los Angeles Times, as did Marcia Coyle for The National Law Journal and Joel Rosenblatt for Bloomberg NewsContinue reading »

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Petition of the day

By on Aug 6, 2014 at 10:10 pm

The petition of the day is:

Pronova BioPharma Norge AS v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.
13-1251

Issue: Whether the statutory bar for “public use” of an invention under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) (2006) (pre-America Invents Act) (current version at 35 U.S.C. § 102(a)(1)(2012)) broadly bars a patent when an innovator company allows any public access to its invention even if the invention is not actually used in public for its intended purpose.

Seeking to get early action by the Supreme Court on the major test case on access to federal subsidies to help people buy health insurance, attorneys for the challengers made an unusual request on Wednesday.  In a letter to the Court, the lawyers asked the full Court to weigh any request by the federal government for more time to answer the appeal, which involves a threat to the subsidy program in thirty-four states.

“This case,” the letter said, “involves a matter of urgent public importance, and [the challengers] therefore oppose any attempt to delay its resolution.”  The letter strongly implied that the Court should take steps to insure that the government responds quickly.  That response is now due on September 3, but a Court rule allows requests to extend such deadlines.

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The nation’s longest-running federal court challenge to a state ban on same-sex marriage — now in its tenth year — reached the Supreme Court on Wednesday.  A county clerk in Oklahoma filed a petition seeking to defend that state’s ban, one day after a similar appeal was filed by Utah officials.  The Oklahoma case (Smith v. Bishop) has been docketed as 14-136.  Other cases are due at the Court soon.

The Oklahoma case has been underway since November 2004, and finally was decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit last month, in a split decision nullifying a state constitutional amendment approved by Oklahoma voters in 2004.  That same appeals court had issued the similar ruling that is being challenged in the Utah case.

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Petition of the day

By on Aug 5, 2014 at 10:09 pm

The petition of the day is:

Dunlap v. Idaho
13-1315

Issue: Whether the Confrontation Clause applies to evidence offered by the prosecution to prove statutory aggravating circumstances that establish a defendant’s eligibility for the death penalty.

 
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UPDATE 4:32 p.m.   Virginia officials will be submitting their own petition to the Supreme Court on Friday, Attorney General Mark R. Herring said in a filing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  Although state officials take the view that Virginia’s ban is unconstitutional, as the Fourth Circuit ruled, they have said they will continue to enforce it while it remains on the books.  The state thus urged the Fourth Circuit to put its ruling on hold while the case moves to the Supreme Court. The attorney general said he hoped the Justices would consider the case at their private Conference on September 29, before the new Term formally opens.

FURTHER UPDATE:  The case page for Herbert v. Kitchen, in which Utah officials are asking the Court to uphold that state’s ban on same-sex marriage, is now available here.  

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A little over a year after the Supreme Court set off a wave of lower court decisions striking down state bans on same-sex marriage, the legal contest over the constitutionality of those laws returned to the Supreme Court at midday Tuesday.  Utah state officials, filing six weeks ahead of their deadline, asked the Court to uphold their state’s ban.   This was the first of several cases on that question likely to reach the Justices in the coming weeks and months.

The Court is in summer recess now, and probably would not act on the Utah case until the Justices return to the Court building this fall, for a new Term that opens on October 6.   The same-sex couples who successfully challenged the Utah ban will have a chance to respond to the state’s appeal before the Justices act.  But it now appears nearly certain that the Court will take on the issue, and reach a decision by next summer.

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