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Monday round-up

The Court will hear oral argument this morning in two cases. First up is the interstate water dispute, Montana v. Wyoming. At issue in the case is Montana’s contention that Wyoming’s upstream use of increasingly efficient irrigation techniques in two tributaries of the Yellowstone River violates Montana’s rights under the Yellowstone River Compact of 1950. Lawrence Hurley (for Greenwire, via the New York Times) previews the case and notes that “[w]hatever ruling the Supreme Court issues is unlikely to end the dispute, as there remain other issues to be argued before the special master.”  Lyle also previewed the case for the blog; his preview is here.

Ken Alltucker of the Arizona Republic (hat-tip, How Appealing) previews the second case, Matrixx Initiatives v. Siracusano. The question before the Court is whether the Arizona drug manufacturer Matrixx ran afoul of federal securities law by failing to disclose reports of patients losing their sense of smell when using the company’s nasal spray drug Zicam, even though the number of incidents was not statistically significant. The blog’s preview is here.

Court coverage over the weekend centered on Friday’s grants of certiorari in seven cases. Lyle’s coverage is here, and the blog compiled the cert. papers and opinions in the granted cases here.  In the Los Angeles Times, David G. Savage summarized the New England prescription data-mining case Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc., which he described as “present[ing] the justices with a novel and potentially far-reaching question on whether non-public data can be protected by the government and shielded from release.”  Peter Landers at the WSJ Law Blog and Brent Kendall at the Wall Street Journal also covered Sorrell.  [Disclosure:  Goldstein, Howe & Russell represents respondent IMS Health in the case.]

In the New York Times, Adam Liptak also discusses Sorrell but focuses on Nevada Commission on Ethics v. Carrigan, in which the Court will consider whether states may prohibit a government official from voting on an issue in which he may have a personal conflict. The AP (via the Los Angeles Times) covers the plea bargaining cases Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye, and while James Vicini of Reuters covers the securities fraud case Erica P. John Fund, Inc. v. Halliburton Co. The BLT provides a more general summary of Friday’s grants.

In the wake of Saturday’s shootings in Tucson, the WSJ’s Washington Wire Blog covers the response by Chief Justice Roberts to the death of Judge John Roll, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District for Arizona. The BLT reports that the Court will open this morning’s session ten minutes early to accommodate President Obama’s call for a national moment of silence at eleven o’clock honoring victims of the shooting.


  • Justice Scalia’s interview with the California Lawyer continues to garner discussion, as Jeffrey Rosen levels a critique against constitutional originalism in the New York Times.
  • In the Los Angeles Times, David Savage discusses what he characterizes as the Court’s “dim view” of lawsuits against prosecutors, citing this Term’s Connick v. Thompson as an example.
  • Chris Quay of the Louisville Courier-Journal (via How Appealing) reports that some twenty-five adult establishments in Louisville plan to file a petition for certiorari, seeking to prevent the enforcement of a city ordinance that they claim would effectively drive them out of business.
  • Robert Pear reports in the New York Times on the Obama administration’s unexpected support for drug maker Astra Zeneca in Astra USA, Inc. v. Santa Clara County, in which the company seeks review of a Ninth Circuit decision holding that health care providers can sue for Astra’s violation of contractual price limitations.

Recommended Citation: Kiran Bhat, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 10, 2011, 9:35 AM),