Breaking News

Special-edition round-up: today’s opinions

Earlier today, on what was likely to be its next-to-last day for opinions this Term, the Court handed down rulings in a whopping seven cases, several of them blockbusters.  A number of reporters and commentators have early coverage of the barrage of decisions:  ACSblog reports on two of the most closely watched cases decided this morning, Doe v. Reed and Skilling v. United States, while Nina Totenberg reports on those cases for NPR as well.  The National Review Online’s Ed Whelan also comments on the morning’s developments.

Perhaps the highest-profile rulings of the day came in Skilling and the two related “honest services” cases, Weyhrauch v. United States and Black v. United States.  In Skilling, the Court ruled that the law in question, which makes it a crime for an employee to deprive his employer of his “honest services,” applies only to bribery and kickback schemes; in Black, the Court concluded that its decision in Skilling rendered the jury instructions in that case incorrect, and issued a per curiam opinion in Weyhrauch vacating and remanding under Skilling.  David Savage of the Los Angeles Times, Bill Mears of CNN, Greg Stohr of Bloomberg, Adam Liptak of the New York Times, the Washington Post’s Robert Barnes, Jess Bravin and Brent Kendall of the Wall Street Journal, the WSJ Law Blog’s Nathan Koppel, and the AmLaw Daily’s Zach Lowe all report on the “honest services” rulings, as do the Associated Press, the Dallas Morning News, JURIST, Crime and Consequences, and Courthouse News Service (in two posts).  In a second piece at the WSJ Law Blog, Nathan Koppel interviews a defense lawyer regarding the impact of the rulings, while Doug Berman speculates on the case’s background and implications at Sentencing Law and Policy.  Meanwhile, Josh Blackman’s Blog offers an instant analysis of Skilling, and the National Review Online’s Ed Whelan also has commentary on the case.

In another closely followed case, Doe v. Reed, the Court ruled today that disclosure of the information on petitions for ballot referenda does not violate the First Amendment, although compelled disclosure of this information is subject to First Amendment review.  Politico’s Josh Gerstein and Bloomberg’s Greg Stohr both have early coverage of the decision, which affirms a lower court ruling rejecting a challenge brought by opponents of same-sex marriage who objected to the disclosure of their names on a petition they had signed.  The Associated Press, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, JURIST, the Seattle Times, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, Reuters, and Courthouse News Service also report on the ruling in Doe. At Balkinization, Rick Pildes praises the ruling as a positive outcome from the Court’s “first foray into the way changing technologies, the internet in particular, should affect the potential conflicts between democracy, the First Amendment, political participation, and privacy,” while Ruthann Robson offers an interpretation of the ruling’s implications at Constitutional Law Prof Blog, and Josh Blackman notes that the opinion reaffirms the importance of the type of disclosure requirements left intact by Citizens United.

Today in Morrison v. National Australia Bank, the Court held that Section 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934  does not provide a cause of action for foreigners who sue foreign and American defendants for misconduct regarding securities trading on a foreign exchange.  Daniel Fisher of Forbes summarizes Justice Scalia’s opinion for the Court, while Bloomberg’s Greg Stohr offers some background on the case and PrawfsBlawg’s Howard Wasserman praises the ruling’s clarification of “the jurisdiction/merits divide as to federal statutes.”  Meanwhile, the WSJ Law Blog’s Nathan Koppel reports on the ruling, while the Associated Press, Courthouse News Service, and Reuters also have coverage.

Courthouse News Service offers a summary of Magwood v. Patterson, in which the Court held that when a defendant succeeds in having his original sentence overturned, a subsequent habeas petition challenging the new sentence is not a prohibited “second or successive” petition even if it raises grounds that could have been raised to challenge the original sentence.  JURIST also has coverage, while at Crime and Consequences, Kent Scheidegger noted that the case clarifies the Court’s 2007 ruling in Burton v. Stewart and – like the Volokh Conspiracy’s Jonathan Adler – remarks on the “interesting line-up” of Justices in the case:  Justice Thomas’s opinion was joined by Justices Scalia, Stevens, Breyer, and Sotomayor, while Justices Kennedy and Ginsburg (along with the Chief Justice and Justice Alito) would have denied relief.  [Disclosure:  Akin Gump and Howe & Russell represent the petitioner in the case.]

Finally, JURIST reports on a seventh opinion, Granite Rock v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, in which the Court held that federal courts (rather than an arbitrator) have the authority to decide when a collective bargaining agreement was formed between parties.