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Thursday round-up

Yesterday the Court heard oral arguments in two cases. In Federal Aviation Administration v. Cooper, the Court considered whether mental or emotional injuries count as “actual damages” for purposes of the Privacy Act.  In his coverage of the oral argument, Mike Sacks of the Huffington Post reports that “only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor unequivocally championed Cooper’s cause,” while the “remainder of the Court seemed poised” to hold that mental or emotional injuries are not “actual injuries” for purposes of the Privacy Act. Joan Biskupic of USA Today, Bill Mears of CNN, Robert Barnes of the Washington Post, and David G. Savage of the Los Angeles Times also report on the arguments in the case, which Nina Totenberg of NPR previewed yesterday morning. In Setser v. United States, the Court is considering whether a federal court can order that a federal criminal sentence start to run only after the defendant has finished serving a state sentence, when the state sentence has not yet been imposed. Based on the argument transcripts, Douglas A. Berman of Sentencing Law and Policy sees Setser as a likely “sentencing snoozer.” Kiera links to transcripts in both cases here.

Following up on its application earlier this week seeking to postpone the implementation of a redistricting plan for the state legislature (which Lyle covered for this blog), yesterday the Texas Attorney General also asked the Court to block implementation of a congressional redistricting plan. James Vicini of Reuters has coverage, as does the Associated Press (via the Washington Post).

Coverage of issues related to the health care litigation continues.  Discussing the calls for Justices Thomas and Kagan to recuse themselves, the editorial board of the New York Times urges the Court to adopt “a transparent process for reviewing and deciding recusal requests,” while Joanne Kenen of Politico reports on concerns that the recusal “skirmishes may set up the losing side to try to undermine and discredit the high court’s decision, particularly if it’s a 5-4 ruling.” At the Huffington Post, Douglas L. McSwain outlines the reasons why, in his view, the Court will reject the challenges to the Affordable Care Act. Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog continues his series on the health care challenges with a discussion of the individual mandate.

Finally, at this blog, Ronald Mann recaps Tuesday’s arguments in Hall v. United States, while Steve Kaufhold recaps the arguments on the same day in Credit Suisse Securities v. Simmonds. Julia Zebley of JURIST also reports on Tuesday’s arguments.


  • Howard Wasserman of PrawfsBlawg contends that “[t]his term alone could see the Court make significant strides in recognizing the many areas in which jurisdiction and merits are often allowed to overlap and trying to clear that out.”
  • In his column for the Washington Post, George Will urges the Court to grant cert. in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the challenge to the university’s affirmative action policies, and use the case as an opportunity to “acknowledge the intersection of constitutional law and social science regarding racial preferences, and to revisit the crumbling legal rationale for them.”
  • Also at PrawfsBlawg, Jay Wexler compiles the merits records of states that have litigated original jurisdiction claims before the Court.
  • At SCOTUSblog, Ronald Mann previews next Monday’s arguments in Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories, Ltd. v. Novo Nordisk A/S.
  • Writing at the ABA Journal, Mark Walsh previews next Wednesday’s arguments in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories Inc.
  • Mike Sacks of the Huffington Post and Stacey Samuel of CNN report that an organization called the Nativity Project brought a nativity scene to the steps of the Court yesterday.
  • NPR’s Fresh Air discusses United States v. Jones and constitutional interpretation in the digital age with Professor Jeffrey Rosen. (Thanks to Howard Bashman for the link.)
  • Julie Taboh of Voice of America reports on the fortieth anniversary of the Court’s decision in Reed v. Reed, in which the Court held that it was “unconstitutional to discriminate against a woman solely because of her gender.”
  • Judy Greenwald of Business Insurance provides continuing coverage of Monday’s order granting cert. in Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp.

Recommended Citation: Kiran Bhat, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 1, 2011, 9:25 AM),