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Tuesday round-up

Yesterday the Court heard oral argument in two cases, First American Financial Corp. v. Edwards and Mims v. Arrow Financial Services. In First American Financial, the Court is considering whether a homebuyer has standing to sue banks and title companies that pay kickbacks for closing services associated with a mortgage loan, even if the kickbacks did not affect the price or quality of the mortgage services.  Greg Stohr of Bloomberg has coverage of the oral argument and reports that the Justices seemed skeptical that the homebuyer would have standing to sue; Reuters, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Mike Sacks of the Huffington Post also have coverage. In Mims, the Court is considering whether federal courts, or instead only state courts, have jurisdiction to hear private lawsuits brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.  Adam Liptak of the New York Times reports on the oral argument.

The Court also granted certiorari in five cases yesterday, consolidating two of them for oral argument; Kali Borkoski of this blog and JURIST provide brief summaries of the granted cases. Greg Stohr of Bloomberg reports on the grant in Southern Union Company v. United States, in which the company is challenging a six-million-dollar criminal fine for its illegal storage of mercury; he describes the case as one that “will test the reach of recent Supreme Court rulings bolstering the constitutional right to a jury trial.” Barbara Leonard of Courthouse News Service and Lawrence Hurley of Greenwire (via E&E Publishing) provide more background on the case.

Bloomberg’s Greg Stohr also provides coverage of the grant in Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., in which the Court will consider whether the “outside sales exemption” of the Fair Labor Standards Act applies to pharmaceutical sales representatives; Jonathan Adler of the Volokh Conspiracy calls it “a case worth watching” for those interested in administrative law.

And in the two consolidated cases, Dorsey v. United States and Hill v. United States, the Court will consider whether the Fair Sentencing Act applies to proceedings that take place after the statute became effective, but relate to offenses that occurred before the effective date. Adam Liptak of the New York Times, Michelle Olsen of Appellate Daily, and Barbara Leonard of Courthouse News Service have details on the grant.

Other coverage of yesterday’s order list focused on cases in which certiorari was denied, including those involving prescription prices (Bloomberg), computer chip packaging (Bloomberg), child pornography (the Christian Science Monitor), gun rights (the Christian Science Monitor), and airline baggage fees (Associated Press, via the Washington Post).

As Lyle Denniston reported in his post for this blog, yesterday Texas officials filed an emergency application asking the Court to temporarily block the implementation of interim maps for state legislative districts.    Late last night, Justice Antonin Scalia ordered the groups involved in the dispute to respond to the state’s request by Thursday.  The Austin American-Statesman, CNN, the Houston Chronicle, Texas Tribune, and the Associated Press (via the Washington Post) all have coverage.

And finally, today the Court will hear oral argument in Hall v. United States and Credit Suisse Securities v. Simmonds; Kali links to previews of each case here.


  • Michael F. Smith previews Messerschmidt v. Millender, in which the Court will examine the qualified immunity standard for search warrants.
  • In his Sidebar column for the New York Times, Adam Liptak discusses recent calls for the Court to televise oral argument in the health care cases and concludes that it is “not likely” that the Justices will heed those calls.
  • At Slate, Emily Bazelon criticizes the Court’s recent decision in Cavazos v. Smith as “easily the most vindictive of the term. And no one noticed.”
  • At the Washington Legal Foundation’s Legal Pulse blog, Richard Samp discusses the prospect that the Court could limit lawsuits under the Alien Tort Statute through its decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum (in which it will consider whether corporations can be sued under the ATS), as well as through a possible cert. grant in Rio Tinto PLC v. Sarei, another case involving the scope of the ATS.
  • Russell Wheeler of the Brookings Institute examines judicial ethics and the Supreme Court, arguing that “the problem – unsolved so far – is creating mechanisms to regulate the Justices’ behavior that don’t create more problems than they might solve.”


Recommended Citation: Nabiha Syed, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Nov. 29, 2011, 9:51 AM),