Yesterday morning’s argument in Home Depot U.S.A. v. Jackson was a notable one, as Justice Elena Kagan brought a strong view of the case to the bench and proceeded to dominate the argument.

The case involves the removal of litigation from state court to federal court. Under Section 1441 (and predecessor provisions dating back to the 18th century), “the defendant or the defendants” generally has a right to remove “any civil action brought in a State court of which the [federal] district courts have original jurisdiction.” In 2005, responding to concerns that state courts have been unduly receptive to class actions, Congress adopted the Class Action Fairness Act (often called the CAFA), which included a variety of provisions designed to make it easier for class-action defendants to remove those cases to federal court. One provision, in Section 1332, granted original federal jurisdiction over most class actions seeking a recovery of more than $5 million. Another provision, in Section 1453, provided that “any defendant” can remove a “class action” as defined in Section 1332.

Continue reading »

In the first 5-4 decision of this term (Stokeling v. United States), the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that state robbery statutes that require “resistance … overcome by physical force,” even if the force used is “minimal,” are sufficient to satisfy the prior-conviction requirement of the federal Armed Career Criminal Act. This result was not as surprising as the grouping of the justices. Justice Clarence Thomas’ majority opinion was joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, while Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts as well as Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan.

Continue reading »

 
Share:

Ratified in 1933, the 21st Amendment ended Prohibition – which (fun fact!) was established by the 18th Amendment, ratified 100 years ago today. It also gave states broad power to regulate alcoholic beverages. At today’s oral argument in Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Blair, the justices considered exactly how expansive that regulatory power is. In particular, does the 21st Amendment allow Tennessee to impose a two-year residency requirement for anyone who wants a retail license to sell alcohol there, or is the state’s power instead limited by a doctrine known as the dormant commerce clause, which bars states from discriminating against interstate commerce? The Supreme Court’s answer could have a significant impact on where Americans buy their alcohol and what kinds are available to them, but after an hour of oral argument it was hard to see exactly where the justices were headed in the case.

Shay Dvoretzky for petitioner (Art Lien)

Continue reading »

Argument transcripts

By on Jan 16, 2019 at 2:03 pm

The transcript of oral argument in Knick v. Township of Scott is available on the Supreme Court’s website; the transcript in Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Blair is also available.

Posted in Merits Cases
 
Share:

Medicare was before the Supreme Court yesterday in a case that could have significant implications for administrative law. At the granular level, the case, Azar v. Allina Health Services, concerns whether the Department of Health and Human Services was permitted to change, without notice and comment, an important reimbursement formula for hospitals that treat many low-income patients. That question alone determines the fate of $3 to $4 billion. But the stakes are higher because the case requires the Supreme Court to interpret a provision of the Medicare Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1395hh(a)(2), that applies to any “substantive” changes to benefits, payment of services, or eligibility, and, therefore implicates significant components of the entire program. At a broader level still, and beyond the Medicare context, the case has administrative law mavens watching because it gives the court the opportunity to opine on some still unsettled, yet central, administrative law questions about the line between substantive and interpretive rules.

Continue reading »

Relist Watch

By on Jan 16, 2019 at 11:06 am

John Elwood reviews Monday’s relists.

I’m traveling today, so I’m going to be more summary than usual. The April calendar already appears to have a full complement of 12 cases, but the court in theory could add to it with this Friday’s grants. Admittedly, if it does so, petitioners won’t have the full 30 days to file reply briefs before oral argument. After this Friday, the court’s next scheduled conference isn’t until February 15 – almost a month from now. And any cases granted at that conference will definitely be considered next fall.

Continue reading »

 
Share:

Justice Samuel Alito struggled to suppress a smile. Justice Stephen Breyer buried his head in his hands. Chief Judge Merrick Garland succumbed to a giggle fit. The esteemed panel knew it was in for an unconventional night of jurisprudence when, just a few sentences into her spiel, counsel representing the estate of the Duke of Buckingham referred to King Richard III as “Individual Number One.” The audience at the Sidney Harman Hall burst into applause – a raucous show of enthusiasm from a crowd made up mostly of seasoned appellate lawyers and bespectacled Supreme Court nerds.

Continue reading »

 
Share:

Wednesday round-up

By on Jan 16, 2019 at 6:43 am

This morning the Supreme Court wraps up its January session with oral arguments in two cases. First on the agenda is a reargument in Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania, which asks whether the court should reconsider a precedent that requires property owners to exhaust state remedies before bringing federal takings claims under the Constitution. Miriam Seifter had this blog’s preview. Isaac Syed and Yuexin Angela Zhu preview the case for Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. The second case today is Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Blair, a challenge to Tennessee’s durational residency requirements for liquor licensing. Amy Howe had this blog’s preview, which first appeared at Howe on the Court. Cornell’s preview comes from Matt Farnum and Brady Plastaras.

Continue reading »

Posted in Round-up
 
Share:

Arbitration month at the Supreme Court continued this morning with the unanimous decision in New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira – following by a single week the unanimous decision in Henry Schein v. Archer & White Sales. New Prime, though, is anything but business as usual: Justice Neil Gorsuch’s opinion for a unanimous court rejects a claim for arbitration for the first time in a string of more than a dozen of the Supreme Court’s cases stretching back more than a decade. Indeed, I doubt the court has rejected such a claim in any previous decision since the turn of the millennium.

Justice Gorsuch with opinion in New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira, and Justice Thomas with opinion in Stokeling v. U.S. (Art Lien)

Continue reading »

Argument transcripts

By on Jan 15, 2019 at 2:17 pm

The transcript of oral argument in Home Depot U.S.A. Inc. v. Jackson is available on the Supreme Court’s website; the transcript in Azar v. Allina Health Services is also available.

 

Posted in Merits Cases
 
Share:
More Posts: Older Posts
Term Snapshot
Awards