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Wednesday round-up

The Court heard oral arguments in three cases yesterday:  Pacific Operators Offshore, LLP v. Valladolid, Greene v. Fisher, and CompuCredit Corp. v. Greenwood.  Coverage of the arguments was fairly limited.  At the Huffington Post, Mike Sacks describes the Justices as “relatively muted” during the argument in CompuCredit, in which the Court is considering whether claims under the Credit Repair Organizations Act are subject to arbitration, while Robert Barnes of the Washington Post reports that the argument “launched the justices into round after round of questioning on essentially the same point.”  At the blog Crime and Consequences, Kent Scheidegger describes the argument in Greene – involving a question of timing under the federal habeas statute – as “[going] well for the State.”  [Disclosure:  Goldstein & Russell, whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, served as co-counsel to the petitioner in Greene, but the author of this post was not involved in the case.]

The Court also granted cert. in two cases yesterday.  In Freeman v. Quicken Loans, the Court will clarify the scope of a federal homebuyer law that prohibits mortgage lenders from collecting money for services that they did not provide.   Bloomberg’s Greg Stohr has coverage, as does Brent Kendall for the Wall Street Journal’s Developments Blog.  [Disclosure:  Goldstein & Russell represents the petitioners in Freeman.]  In Blueford v. Arkansas, the Court will decide whether the Double Jeopardy Clause bars a defendant from being retried for a greater offense after a jury announces that it has voted against his guilt on the greater offense but then deadlocks on the lesser offense.  Providing coverage of the cert. grant in this case are Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal, the Associated Press (via the New York Times), Sarah Posner of JURIST, and Bill Mears at CNN.  Kali’s details on the day’s grants (with links to the full order list) can be found here, and Crime and Consequences also provides coverage of the order list.

Yesterday’s cert. denials also generated a substantial amount of coverage, the majority of which centered on Adar v. Smith, in which two same-sex parents had asked the Court to review the Fifth Circuit’s holding that Louisiana’s refusal to list both of them as parents on their child’s birth certificate did not violate either the Full Faith and Credit or Equal Protection Clause.  At this blog, Lyle Denniston covers the denial, as do the Associated Press (via the New York Times), James Vicini of Reuters (via the Los Angeles Times), Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal, Chad Bray for the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, and Warren Richey of the Christian Science Monitor.  The Court also denied cert. yesterday in Wetzel v. Abu-Jamal, a capital case involving a former Black Panther convicted of murdering a police officer in 1981.  David G. Savage at the Sacramento Bee, James Vicini of Reuters (via the Los Angeles Times), the Associated Press (via the New York Times), and Joseph A. Slobodzian of the Philadelphia Inquirer provide coverage.  The Court also declined to review a case involving followers of an evangelist whose children were taken away by social services when their parents refused to agree not to expose them to the ministry; the Associated Press (via the Huffington Post) has coverage.  The AP (via the New York Times) also covers the Court’s denial of a petition asking the Court to decide whether New Hampshire officials should have let 2008 Libertarian party candidate Bob Barr be the party’s sole candidate on the presidential ballot.  Finally, at the “School Law” blog of Education Week, Mark Walsh covers the denial of two petitions asking the Court to weigh in on the First Amendment rights of students.

This morning the Court heard oral arguments in two cases:  Judulang v. Holder and Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington.  Ariane de Vogue of ABCNews covers the latter case, in which the Court is considering whether the Fourth Amendment permits jails to conduct suspicionless strip searches whenever an individual is arrested; Nina Totenberg also previewed the case for NPR, while Jeremy Leaming of ACSblog summarizes comments made on the case by Sherrilyn Ifill of the University of Maryland School of Law. (Disclaimer: Goldstein & Russell, P.C. serves as co-counsel to Florence.)

Last week’s argument in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, in which the Court is considering the scope of the “ministerial exception” to federal antidiscrimination laws, continues to generate commentary.  The Los Angeles Times editorial board weighed in on the case, arguing that although it is a close call, “religious freedom should prevail” over “freedom from discrimination, while Paul Horwitz at PrawfsBlawg also has commentary.



  • Nina Totenberg of NPR has an audio segment about Justice Thomas’s influence on the Court.
  • Reviews of the new memoir by retired Justice John Paul Stevens continue to pour in.  At his blog Jost on Justice, Ken Jost describes the book as an “affectionate, discursive memoir.”  And at Prawfs Blawg, Steve Vladeck discusses the book’s “near-obsession with the topic of state sovereign immunity.”
  • The Times of Trenton reports on a recent appearance by Justice Stevens at Princeton University. (Thanks to Howard Bashman at How Appealing for the link.)
  • At this blog, Lyle reports on the Court’s “truly rare order” yesterday denying the Solicitor General’s motion for divided argument in Rehberg v. Paulk.
  • Also at this blog, Rebecca Tushnet discusses the oral argument in Golan v. Holder.
  • At radio station WYPR, Dan Rodricks interviews Justice Breyer.  (Thanks again to Howard Bashman for the link.)
  • JURIST reports on last week’s filing of a cert. petition by Liberty University, which asks the Court to review the Fourth Circuit’s decision holding that it cannot now challenge the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

Recommended Citation: Conor McEvily, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 12, 2011, 1:52 PM),