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Tuesday round-up

Yesterday the Court released its decision in Montana v. Wyoming and issued orders from its April 29 Conference.

By a vote of seven to one, the Court rejected Montana’s contention that Wyoming’s more efficient use of the water that it takes from the Yellowstone River system (which in turn resulted in less water returning to the river to flow to Montana) violated the Yellowstone River Compact.  In doing so, the Court found no basis for the “law of return flows,” as Lyle Denniston of this blog observes; Courthouse News Service has coverage of the case, including Justice Scalia’s dissent— in which he describes the majority’s opinion as “incomprehensible.”   As the Associated Press notes, because it does not resolve some of the non-agricultural issues in the case, the ruling leaves open the broader question of Wyoming’s overall water use; the Billings Gazette has more on the future of the dispute.

The Court also granted certiorari yesterday in two cases, M.B.Z. v. Clinton and CompuCredit Corp. v. Greenwood; JURIST provides brief overviews of each petition. At issue in M.B.Z. v. Clinton is an effort by a U.S. citizen born in Jerusalem to have “Israel” listed as his birthplace on his passport; the State Department’s long-standing policy is to maintain neutrality with regard to the status of Jerusalem, but in 2002 Congress passed a law instructing the State Department to list Israel as the place of birth for Americans born in Jerusalem.  As Constitutional Law Prof Blog reports, the case provides a “rare opportunity to explore the contours of separation-of-powers in foreign affairs and the President’s foreign affairs power.” The Christian Science Monitor suggests that the case “could greatly complicate the delicate Middle East peace process,” while the Associated Press (via the Washington Post) similarly describes the case as “mix[ing] the thorny politics of the Middle East and a fight between Congress and the president over primacy in foreign policy.”  Courthouse News Service and Reuters also have coverage.

CompuCredit Corp. v. Greenwood also touches on a timely topic, addressing whether claims arising under the Credit Repair Organizations Act are subject to arbitration pursuant to a valid arbitration agreement. As the Associated Press observes, the grant comes only days after another major arbitration decision by the Court, AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion (which James covered yesterday). Lyle Denniston of this blog discusses the issues in the case.

Coverage and commentary also focused on the cases in which the Court denied cert. yesterday. At his Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen discusses the Court’s decision not to hear Siefert v. Alexander and Bauer v. Shepard, both of which involved challenges to restrictions on candidates for judicial office; he writes that “the Court’s decision to decline to hear them, especially given the strong First Amendment jurisprudence of this Court, will no doubt lead those supporting special judicial campaign rules in judicial elections a reason to breathe a sigh of relief.”  Mark Walsh of Education Weekly’s School Law Blog and Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle discuss the denial in Doe v. Silsbee Independent School District, a petition filed by a Texas high school cheerleader who was dismissed from the squad after refusing to cheer for a basketball player accused of sexually assaulting her.

Recommended Citation: Nabiha Syed, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (May. 3, 2011, 8:45 AM),