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Thursday Round-up

The Court heard argument yesterday in Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. AnimalFeeds International Corp., a class action arbitration dispute previewed by Vivian Wang on Tuesday. Courthouse News Service provides a recap of the argument.

Events from earlier in the week continue to garner attention.  Concurring Opinions has a post from Adam Steinman on Tuesday’s opinion in Mohawk Industries v. Carpenter, an attorney-client privilege dispute.  He raises the question whether “Justice Thomas’s opinion contravenes the Supreme Court’s ‘tradition’ that a new Justice’s first opinion be a unanimous one.” Ashby Jones at the WSJ Law Blog follows up on Tuesday’s argument in the honest services fraud cases, Weyhrauch v. United States and Black v. United States, predicting that if the fraud statute is struck down in full, “[e]xpect defendants convicted under the law to rush the courthouse door.”

Monday’s argument in the Sarbanes-Oxley case, Free Enterprise Fund v. PCAOB, also continues to generate commentary.  Rick Pildes, the author of an amicus brief in the case, has a twopart analysis of the argument at Balkinization.  Pildes writes that he was surprised by “views from the Court about big issues in administrative agency design that have never been expressed before, [and] uncertainty even about what an independent agency is.” Donna Nagy offers her own two-part analysis at The Conglomerate, and Bob Thompson weighs in, too, also at The Conglomerate. 

At the BLT, Tony Mauro reports on a panel discussion on the role of the Solicitor General, hosted by Justice Kennedy at the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Former solicitors general Paul Clement, Drew Days, and Kenneth Starr discussed a “less visible, but enormous part of the SG’s responsibility[:] serving as gatekeeper or traffic cop for the large body of litigation involving the United States as it goes through the appeals process.”

The Associated Press (via the Washington Post) reports that fourteen of the victorious plaintiff firefighters in last Term’s Ricci v. DeStefano will be promoted today to either lieutenant or captain.

Looking to the lower courts, How Appealing and Sentencing Law and Policy both take note of a recent en banc ruling of the Ninth Circuit which overturned a death sentence for ineffective assistance of counsel. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, in a lengthy dissent, predicts that the Supreme Court will reverse the ruling, writing “Pinholster’s death sentence must be reinstated. If we do not do it ourselves, it will surely be done for us.”