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On Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., the justices are expected to release orders from their October 11 conference.
On Tuesday at 10:00 a.m., the justices will hear oral argument in Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico v. Aurelius Investment, LLC. Click to read Amy Howe's preview.

This week at the court

By on Oct 13, 2019 at 12:00 pm

On Tuesday, the justices are expected to release orders from their October 11 conference and will hear oral argument in Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico v. Aurelius Investment, LLC.

On Wednesday, the court will hear oral argument in Kansas v. GarciaRotkiske v. Klemm and Mathena v. Malvo.

On Friday, the justices will meet for their October 18 conference.

 
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Oyez has posted the aligned audio and transcripts from this week’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court. The court heard argument this week in:

Posted in Merits Cases
 
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In the fall of 2002, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo terrorized the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Dubbed the “D.C. snipers,” Muhammad and Malvo randomly shot and killed 12 people and badly injured six more. Muhammad was sentenced to death and executed in 2009, while Malvo – who was only 17 at the time of the shootings – was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Next week the Supreme Court will hear oral argument on whether a pair of decisions from 2012 and 2016, involving life sentences for juveniles, require him to be resentenced.

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SCOTUS Map – Summer 2019 recap

By on Oct 11, 2019 at 10:12 am

This summer was another busy one for the Supreme Court. During the summer term — which we define as the period between the last day October Term 2018 decisions were handed down (June 27, 2019) and the first day of oral arguments for OT 2019 (October 7, 2019) — the justices participated in 52 events. Below is a selection of what they’ve been up to.

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Petitions of the week

By on Oct 11, 2019 at 9:09 am

This week we highlight petitions pending before the Supreme Court that address, among other things, whether district courts have inherent authority to release grand jury materials in extraordinary circumstances, as in the case of a researcher investigating the 1956 Galíndez affair, and whether Congress intended a statute giving a competitive-bidding preference to providers owned and controlled by veterans to trump the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act, which directs the government to acquire certain goods and services from nonprofit entities that employ blind and severely disabled individuals.

The petitions of the week are below the jump:

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Friday round-up

By on Oct 11, 2019 at 6:52 am

In an op-ed at The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), John Bursch pushes back against “one of the advocates’ main arguments” in a trio of cases the court heard this week about whether federal law protects employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, “that Title VII bans discrimination based on interracial relationships, so it must ban discrimination based on same-sex relationships too,” arguing that “race and sex are not interchangeable.” At Balkinization, Andy Koppelman calls a hypothetical question asked by Justice Samuel Alito in Tuesday’s argument “a desperation move, looking for some way to avoid the obvious implications of the statute’s plain text.” At Take Care, Amanda Shanor explains that “Justice Alito’s insinuation—that there would be no liability if an employer refused to hire a candidate knowing only that they are attracted to members of the same sex—can’t be correct.” At Keen News Service, Lisa Keen tries to “narrow down the prospects” for the cases, and Ernie Haffner suggests at his eponymous blog that the court could adopt “a middle ground position.”  Commentary on one of the cases, Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. EEOC , which involves discrimination against transgender people, comes from Walt Heyer in an op-ed for The Washington Times and James Gottry at Townhall. [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is counsel on an amicus brief in support of respondent Stephens in Harris.]

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On Wednesday, October 16, the Supreme Court will hear argument in Rotkiske v. Klemm, yet another case arising from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Although the FDCPA has a long history of putting fiddly questions of statutory interpretation before the justices, this case has broader implications. It forces the court to confront the question of how to read language commonly used in statutes of limitations against the background of the so-called “discovery rule.” Under the discovery rule, the limitations period for actions based on fraud only begins running when a reasonable plaintiff would have discovered the fraud.

Rotkiske accumulated and defaulted on approximately $1,200 in credit card debt. His bank, as most banks do in similar situations, turned to a professional debt-collection firm, Klemm & Associates. Klemm filed two suits against Rotkiske to collect the debt. In the first, in March 2008, it attempted to serve Rotkiske at an address at which he no longer resided. An individual who did not match Rotkiske’s physical description accepted service. Rotkiske asserts that Klemm dropped that suit when it could not find his current address. Klemm filed a second collection action against Rotkiske in March 2009. It attempted service at the same address as in its 2008 case, and again, someone unknown to Rotkiske accepted service. Klemm filed an affidavit asserting that an “Adult in charge of the Defendant(s) residence” had accepted service. When Rotkiske failed to appear, the Philadelphia Municipal Court entered a default judgment against him.

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Capitol of Puerto Rico

The Constitution’s appointments clause provides that the president nominates, but the Senate must confirm, principal “Officers of the United States,” although Congress can also give the president the power to appoint “inferior Officers.” Next week the Supreme Court will hear oral argument on the scope of both this clause and the ancient remedy known as the “de facto officer” doctrine, which blesses an official’s actions even when his appointment is later discovered to have been invalid. The questions before the court may be a law nerd’s dream, but the justices’ resolution of these issues could have powerful real-world implications.

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Thursday round-up

By on Oct 10, 2019 at 7:17 am

At The Daily Signal, Elizabeth Slattery writes that “[a]fter two hours of oral argument and dozens of questions” Tuesday in a trio of high-profile civil-rights cases involving LBGT employees, “there was not much agreement among the justices.” In an op-ed at Forbes, Michael Bobelian suggests that, “[b]ased on a complex mix of conflicting methods of statutory interpretation, the application of principles from a law enacted in a bygone age to new social norms, and the justices’ ideologies, the cases pose an unusual cocktail of opportunities and pitfalls for the justices.” At Balkinization, Marty Lederman offers “some thoughts on three issues the Justices and defendants’ advocates raised.” Masha Gessen observes at The New Yorker (via How Appealing) that “the Justices wanted to talk about bathrooms.” Additional commentary and analysis comes from Nonnie Shivers at Ogletree Deakins. [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is counsel on an amicus brief in support of respondent Stephens in Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC.]

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Relist Watch

By on Oct 9, 2019 at 3:38 pm

John Elwood reviews first Monday’s relists.

The beginning of October Term 2019 finds the Supreme Court once again mired in controversy about basic workplace protections. While the world may be losing its collective mind about important issues, I get to focus on the calming mundanity of compiling relists for the ninth straight term — beginning in such a distant past that I hyphenated the then-unfamiliar term “Re-list.”

We have a dozen relists out of the long conference — down from last year’s 17 relists, but twice the modest number from that conference during October Term 2017. The high number of relists may have something to do with the low number of grants out of the long conference — just five, consolidated into three arguments. On that note: Once again this year I will be subjecting you to my version of phrenology, namely the pseudo-science of tracking the distribution dates of the successful cases from the long conference. Two years ago I postulated, based on three terms’ statistics, that successful petitions were disproportionately distributed later in the summer, which I grandiosely called (using a phrase that already has another meaning) “The September Effect.” Although last term’s long-conference grants didn’t cooperate, this year’s sure did: All five grants were distributed during the second week of September. And as you’ll see below, the long-conference relists this year (unlike last term’s) also tended to be distributed later — the sole June or early July distribution had been previously distributed in April.

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