Breaking News

Friday round-up

Yesterday the Court released two opinions, in Freeman v. Quicken Loans and Blueford v. Arkansas.

In Blueford, the Court held that the Double Jeopardy Clause does not protect a defendant from retrial when the jury has not returned an official final verdict of acquittal. At issue was the murder trial of Alex Blueford, in which a jury reported that it had voted unanimously against capital and first-degree murder charges but eventually deadlocked on the lesser charge of manslaughter, leading the court to declare a mistrial. The Court’s ruling allows prosecutors to retry Blueford on all three charges. Adam Liptak of the New York Times has coverage of the opinion, as do Mike Sacks of the Huffington Post, David Savage of the Los Angeles Times, Peter Urban of Arkansas News, Robert Barnes of the Washington Post, and Reuters.  Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices Ginsburg and Kagan, in which she argued that the Court’s opinion will give prosecutors a “second bite at the apple.” At Balkinization, Mark Tushnet notes that this may be “the first case in which the Court has divided along gender lines,” but he also concludes that “neither the issue (a double jeopardy problem) nor the underlying facts implicate gender in any direct way.”

The Court also released a unanimous decision in Freeman v. Quicken Loans, holding that the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act applies only when a mortgage fee is shared between two or more parties, and thus does not apply to a fee charged by the originator of the loan.  [Disclosure:  Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, represented the petitioners in Freeman, but the author of this post was not involved in the case.]  Greg Stohr of Bloomberg has coverage of the opinion, which he describes as a “victory for the real-estate and banking industries” that “limit[s] the ability of home buyers to sue mortgage lenders for overcharges at settlement.”  Jesse Holland of the Associated Press, Barbara Leonard of Courthouse News Service, and Reuters all have more coverage.

On Thursday, Justice Breyer denied a petition from Rhode Island’s governor seeking to bar the transfer of a state prison inmate to the federal government for prosecution on charges that may result in a death sentence; Lyle Denniston of this blog discusses the petition in more detail.

Yesterday the federal government also recommended that the Court deny certiorari in a dispute over whether stormwater runoff from logging and forest roads is subject to permitting under the Clean Water Act. Lawrence Hurley of Greenwire reports on the two cases on this issue, Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center and Georgia-Pacific West Inc. v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center and the government’s brief, which “told the Supreme Court there’s no need to take the case because EPA and Congress are both working on the matter.”    


  • At the National Journal, Margot Sanger-Katz and Meghan McCarthy discuss the implausibility of rumors that the Court was expected to issue its opinions in the Affordable Care Act litigation yesterday.
  • Jill Family of this blog analyzes the Court’s opinion in Holder v. Gutierrez and Holder v. Sawyers.
  • Writing for the DealBook blog of the New York Times, Andrew Pincus revisits the Court’s decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion one year later and argues that “[w]e need the actual increase in access to justice that arbitration provides.”
  • Lyle Denniston of this blog reports on a new mobile device-friendly version of the Supreme Court’s website.
  • And at the Volokh Conspiracy, Ilya Somin discusses whether and when the Court should consider how a decision might affect its perceived legitimacy.

Recommended Citation: Nabiha Syed, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (May. 25, 2012, 9:39 AM),