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Details on today’s orders and opinions

This morning, the Court granted four new cases:

1. Hall v. United States (No. 10-875) (case page forthcoming) (whether Section 1399 of the Internal Revenue Code , which provides that a bankruptcy filing other than an individual Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 does not give rise to a “separate taxable entity,” means that the capital gains income tax incurred due to the sale of the petitioners’ family farm is not a Bankruptcy Code administrative expense owed by the bankruptcy estate and payable under a bankruptcy reorganization plan);

2. Gonzalez v. Thaler (No. 10-895), limited to two questions: (a) Whether there was jurisdiction to issue a certificate of appealability under 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c) and to adjudicate petitioner’s appeal; and (b) whether the application for a writ of habeas corpus was out of time under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1) due to “the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review.

3. Setser v. United States (No. 10-7387) (whether district court has authority to order a federal sentence be served consecutive to an as-yet-unimposed state sentence); and

4. Smith v. Louisiana (No. 10-8145).

The Court called for the views of the Solicitor General in one case, Bank Melli Iran NY Rep. Office v. Weinstein (No. 10-947) (case page forthcoming) (interpretation of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002).

The full order list is here.

The Court decided four cases today. In Flores-Villar v. United States, the case involving gender discrimination in the award of U.S. citizenship to children born overseas, an equally divided Court (with Justice Kagan recused) affirmed the decision of the Ninth Circuit without an opinion.

The first opinion of the day came in United States v. Jicarilla Apache Nation. At issue in the case was whether the attorney-client privilege allows the United States to withhold from a Native American tribe confidential communications between the government and government attorneys implicating the administration of statutes pertaining to property held in trust for the tribe. In an opinion by Justice Alito, by a vote of seven to one (with Justice Kagan recused), the Court reversed the decision of the Federal Circuit and remanded the case.  It held that the fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege does not apply to the general trust relationship between the United States and the Native American tribes. Justice Ginsburg filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, which Justice Breyer joined. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion.

In Janus Capital Group v. First Derivative Traders, the Court was considering whether and to what extent a mutual fund investment adviser can can be held primarily liable in a private securities-fraud action for “help[ing]” or “participating in” misstatements included in the prospectuses of its clients.  In an opinion by Justice Thomas, by a vote of five to four, the Court reversed the decision of the Fourth Circuit.  It held that because the mutual fund investment adviser did not make the false statements included in the mutual fund prospectuses, it cannot be held liable in a private action under Rule 10b–5. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, which Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined.

In Nevada Commission on Ethics v. Carrigan, in an opinion by Justice Scalia, the Court unanimously reversed the decision of the Nevada Supreme Court.  It held that the Nevada Ethics in Government Law, which prohibits a legislator who has a conflict of interest from both voting on a proposal and from advocating its passage or failure, is not unconstitutionally overbroad.  Justice Kennedy filed a concurring opinion. Justice Alito filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. Lyle’s analysis post is here. [Disclaimer: John Elwood, a regular contributor to the blog, serves as counsel to the petitioner.  Although Amy Howe, the editor of the blog, served as a judge on one of John’s moots before the argument, Goldstein, Howe, & Russell was not otherwise involved in the case.]


Recommended Citation: Kali Borkoski, Details on today’s orders and opinions, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 13, 2011, 12:07 PM),