The Court issued two opinions yesterday and heard arguments in two cases.

In its first opinion, Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center, the Court held by a vote of seven to one that the Clean Water Act does not require permits for stormwater runoff from logging roads. Coverage of the opinion comes from Adam Liptak of The New York Times, Jeremy P. Jacobs of E&E, Lawrence Hurley of Reuters, and The Associated Press, while Scott Learn of The Oregonian covers the response of the environmental activists who brought the original case. Warren Richey of The Christian Science Monitor reports on Justice Scalia’s solo dissent, while at the Volokh Conspiracy, Jonathan H. Adler argues that the dissent, and the Chief Justice’s concurring opinion, might signal that the Court is willing to reconsider the level of deference owed to agency interpretations of their own regulations.

In its second opinion, Wos v. E.M.A., the Court held that the anti-lien provision of the federal Medicaid statute pre-empts North Carolina’s irrebuttable statutory presumption that one-third of any tort recovery by a Medicaid beneficiary is attributable to medical expenses. Coverage comes from Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers, Steven D. Schwinn of Constitutional Law Prof Blog, Terry Baynes of Reuters, and The Associated Press.

The Court also heard oral arguments yesterday in two cases. In the first, Horne v. Department of Agriculture, the Court is considering which federal appellate court – the Federal Circuit or a nonspecialized regional one – should hear a Takings Clause challenge to a federal raisin price stabilization scheme. Lyle reports on the argument for this blog, while Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers and Adam Liptak of The New York Times have further coverage. In yesterday’s second case, Dan’s City Used Cars v. Pelkey, the Court is considering whether federal law preempts state statutory, common law negligence, and consumer protection act enforcement actions against a tow-motor carrier based on state law regulating the sale and disposal of a towed vehicle. Kali has posted transcripts of both arguments for this blog.

Next week, the Court will hear oral argument in the two same-sex marriage cases:  Hollingsworth v. Perry, the challenge to California’s Proposition 8, and United States v. Windsor, the challenge to the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. For this blog, Lyle Denniston covers the final round of reply briefs in the Windsor case, while at Constitution Daily, he discusses the possible impact of opinion polls on the Court’s decisions in the two cases.  And in her Opinionator column for The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse looks at how the challenge to Prop 8 has changed public opinion on marriage equality.  Richard Wolff of USA Today profiles the two couples at the heart of the Prop 8 litigation, while the ACLU’s Blog of Rights has a post from the teenage son of a same-sex couple discussing the potential effect of the Windsor case on his family. At Constitutional Law Prof Blog, Versely Rosales discusses the amicus brief in support of DOMA filed by the National Association of Evangelicals, while Damon Root of Reason comments on the federalist case against DOMA. California Lawyer has posted essays from Erwin Chemerinsky, Douglas W. Kmiec, and Rory K. Little on the marriage cases. (Thanks to Howard Bashman for the link.)

Other coverage focuses on Tuesday’s decisions. At this blog, Debra Lyn Bassett analyzes the Court’s unanimous opinion in The Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles, in which it held that a stipulation by a class-action plaintiff that he and the class that he purports to represent will seek damages that are less than the threshold for jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 does not defeat federal jurisdiction under the Act. Michael Bobelian of Forbes describes the ruling as “clos[ing] a class action loophole,” while Paul J. Larkin Jr. and Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation’s The Foundry blog call the opinion “a blow to state court bias.” And in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., the Court held that the “first sale” doctrine allows the owner of a copyrighted work legally made abroad to import it without permission of the copyright holder; at Forbes, Gary Shapiro calls the ruling a victory for consumers, while Eric Goldman argues that the victory is “likely short-lived at best.”


  • Deborah J. Vagins of the ACLU’s Blog of Rights discusses two voting rights cases before the Court, Shelby County v. Holder, a challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona Inc., a challenge to an Arizona law requiring voters to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote, and concludes that “[t]he role of the federal government in protecting our voting rights cannot be overstated.”
  • Walter Pavlo of Forbes discusses Kaley v. United States, in which the Court will consider whether, when a post-indictment, ex parte restraining order freezes assets needed by a criminal defendant to retain her counsel of choice, the Fifth and Sixth Amendments require a pre-trial, adversarial hearing at which the defendant may challenge the evidentiary support and legal theory of the underlying charges.
  • Damon W. Root of Reason asks “why . . . liberals keep bugging Ruth Bader Ginsburg about retirement.”
  • Jessica Gresko of The Associated Press (via The Miami Herald) reports on the “vanity trip” taken by thousands of lawyers each year to be sworn in to the Supreme Court bar.

Posted in Round-up

Recommended Citation: Cormac Early, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 21, 2013, 9:35 AM),