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Monday round-up

The weekend’s clippings highlight this week’s oral arguments and last week’s decisions.

Today, the Court will hear arguments in both Hillman v. Maretta and U.S. Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society, InternationalThis blog’s Tejinder Singh previews the argument in Hillman, in which the Justices will consider whether federal law preempts state laws permitting the widow or widower of a deceased federal employee to sue that employee’s former spouse to recover life insurance proceeds.  This blog’s Lyle Denniston  previews the arguments in Alliance for Open Society, in which the Court will consider whether a law that requires an organization to have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking to receive federal funding to provide HIV and AIDS programs overseas violates the First Amendment; USA Today’s Richard Wolf also has coverage. On Tuesday, the Justices will hear oral arguments in Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann, in which the Court will consider whether residents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas can tap into water resources located in Oklahoma to meet their water needs.  Thomas Merrill previews the case for this blog, with other coverage coming from NPR’s Joe Wertz. [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C. represents the City of Dallas as amicus curiae in this case.]

Last week, the Court issued decisions in Missouri v. McNeely and Kiobel v. Royal Dutch PetroleumIn McNeely, the Justices held that in drunk-driving investigations, the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not constitute an exigency in every case sufficient to justify conducting a blood test without a warrant. At the Los Angeles Times, the newspaper’s editorial board applauds the decision, opining that “[t]he warrant requirement is a valuable safeguard even though most applications will be approved.” Writing for this blog, Meir Feder discusses Kiobel – in which the Court held that the Alien Tort Statute does not generally apply to conduct that occurs in another country – and argues that the decision is not as surprising as it may seem. In an op-ed for Forbes, Julian Ku and John Yoo praise the decision, arguing that it is not “a big victory for big corporations over human rights victims,” but “a wise example of judicial restraint and deference to the role of Congress and the President to set American foreign policy.” [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C. represents Achmed et al. and the Center for Justice and Accountability as amici curiae in support of the petitioners.]

Additional coverage also focused on last week’s oral argument in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., in which the Court is considering whether human genes are patentable. UPI’s Michael Kirkland provides an overview of the dispute underlying the case, while at, Daniela Hernandez examines the scientific community’s perspective on the question and observes that a decision upholding patents would thwart the ability of scientists, doctors, and companies to tell us how our own genes might affect our health. Finally, in an op-ed for The Recorder, Edward Reines suggests that “the Myriad oral argument confirmed that the court is almost certainly going to deem isolated DNA to be patent ineligible,” and that, for the first time, “the court seems to have adopted a new voice on the importance of intellectual property.”


  • At this blog, Kevin Amer summarizes Tuesday’s decision in U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen, in which the Court held that in an action brought under Section 502(a)(3) of ERISA, the employee cannot assert equitable defenses based on principles of unjust enrichment, and is instead bound by the plan’s express reimbursement terms.
  • David Crary of the Associated Press (via The Washington Post) examines how the Term’s same-sex marriage cases have called attention to the children raised by gay couples.
  •  Valerie Volcovici of Reuters and Greenwire’s Jeremy Jacobs discuss a new cert. petition that asks the Court to review the EPA’s decision to regulate greenhouse gases from stationary sources using the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration, or PSD, program.


Recommended Citation: Marissa Miller, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 22, 2013, 8:43 AM),