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Tuesday round-up

Yesterday was a busy day for Court-watchers: the Justices issued three opinions, invited the Acting Solicitor General to file briefs in three cases, granted certiorari in one case, and denied certiorari in a high-profile state secrets case.

The lion’s share of coverage went to yesterday’s decisions in Kentucky v. King, Schindler Elevator Corp. v. United States ex rel. Kirk, and CIGNA Corp. v. Amara. In Kentucky v. King, the Court held that police may enter a dwelling without a warrant when they hear evidence being destroyed.  Virtually all of the news outlets that cover the Court, including the Associated Press (via TIME), Reuters, the Christian Science Monitor, ABA Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and JURIST have coverage of the case.  In what Courthouse News Service describes as a “stinging dissent,” Justice Ginsburg argued that the Court’s decision provided the police with “a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement in drug cases.”  Nina Totenberg of NPR interviews criminal law experts on the effect of the Court’s decision, while at the Volokh Conspiracy Orin Kerr discusses how the ruling might affect computer searches.  And Tim Lynch of CATO@Liberty responds to Justice Ginsburg’s question regarding “how ‘secure’ do our homes remain if police, armed with no warrant, can pound on doors at will and, on hearing sounds indicative of things moving, forcibly enter and search for evidence of unlawful activity” with this answer:  “a lot less secure.”   

In Schindler, the Court held that an agency’s written response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request is a “report” for purposes of the public disclosure bar of the False Claims Act; the ABA Journal, UPI, Associated Press (via Forbes), Reuters, Courthouse News Service, and JURIST all have brief overviews of the decision, which affects the type of information may be used in a qui tam suit. Justice Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Sotomayor and Breyer, in which she asked why “a whistleblower attentive to the heightened pleading standards of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure [should] be barred from court if he seeks corroboration for his allegations, as Kirk did, through a FOIA request.” In a guest post for ACSblog, Reuben Guttman links yesterday’s decision to the Court’s recent cases establishing a heightened pleading standard; he argues that Kirk was “doing exactly what the Court in Iqbal and Twombly required of him: he was mustering very precise facts in order to plead a case.” Eric Fraser also discusses the decision in a guest post on this blog.

And in the third opinion yesterday, CIGNA Corp. v. Amara, the Court sent a challenge to a company’s change in its pension plan back to the lower court, explaining that although the ERISA provision on which the district court had relied did not authorize relief for the employees, another provision of ERISA did.  Bloomberg and JURIST have coverage of the decision.

The Court granted certiorari in Minneci v. Pollard, in which the Justices will consider whether prisoners have a cause of action against employees of a private company under contract to run a federal prison.  In his post for  this blog, Lyle Denniston suggests that the grant may represent an attempt by the Court to “giv[e] itself another chance to curb lawsuits claiming direct violations of the Constitution.”

The Court’s denial of certiorari in Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc., also known as the “extraordinary rendition” case, garnered significant coverage. The Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, ABCNews, Bloomberg, and the Wall Street Journal all have overviews of the case, while Warren Richey of the Christian Science Monitor has an extensive discussion of the case.

The Court also declined to review a challenge to the use of the phrase “So help me God” at the presidential inauguration; the Ninth Circuit had dismissed the case on the ground that the challengers lacked standing.  CNN and the Christian Science Monitor have coverage.

Finally, the Court called for the views of the Acting Solicitor General in three cases yesterday.  Amanda Rice of Just Enrichment (who also does the Thursday round-up for this blog) discusses one of those cases, The Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela et al. v. DRFP L.L.C.; Kali Borkoski of this blog provides an overview of the other two cases in which the Court sought the Administration’s views, Freeman v. Quicken Loans and Faculty Senate v. Florida.   [Disclosure:  Goldstein, Howe & Russell represents the petitioners in Freeman.]


  • The Associated Press (via Washington Post) reports on Justice Alito’s “top ten” list of things people don’t know about the Supreme Court.
  • The Winklevoss twins want to take Facebook to the Supreme Court, according to Bloomberg.
  • Justice Kagan will judge a moot court contest at George Washington University’s law school, reports that school’s newspaper, the George Washington University Hatchet.


Recommended Citation: Nabiha Syed, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (May. 17, 2011, 9:20 AM),