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Tuesday round-up

Today the Court will hear oral arguments in two cases. Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl presents the question of when a non-custodial Indian parent or Tribe can invoke the Indian Child Welfare Act to block an adoption. Coverage of the case comes from NPR’s Nina Totenberg and Warren Richey of The Christian Science Monitor. The editorial board of The New York Times urges the Court to conclude that the Act does not preclude adoption by the non-Indian couple in this case, arguing that “it makes little sense to allow a biological father who was not in the picture from surfacing belatedly and vetoing an adoption that would be in the best interests of the child.”

The Court will also hear oral arguments in American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles, in which it considers the extent to which a state’s status as a “market participant” permits it to adopt standards that would otherwise be preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act. Miriam Seifter previewed the case for this blog.

Yesterday the Court heard oral arguments in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., in which it is considering whether human genes are patentable. At this blog, Amy Howe described the arguments in “Plain English,” while Lyle Denniston provided an argument recap and observed that the analogies the Justices resorted to in order to simplify the complex scientific and legal issues presented in the case “strongly suggested that an inventor probably cannot get a patent for taking something out of the human body, and manipulating it without changing its nature.” Tom Goldstein noted that “[i]t seems clear that the Court has grave doubts about holding that isolated DNA segments are themselves patentable,” but that it also “does not want to inhibit patents that truly add something new or identify a valuable use.” Greg Stohr and Susan Decker of Bloomberg report that several of the Justices appeared to be seeking a middle ground in the case that would avoid “deter[ring] innovation by stripping companies of legal protection for their research.” Additional coverage of the oral arguments comes from Nina Totenberg at NPR, Adam Liptak of The New York Times, Pete Williams of NBC News, Mike Dorf at Dorf on Law, Brett Norman of Politico, Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers, Jesse J. Holland of the Associated Press,  Fox News (video), David G. Savage of the Los Angeles Times, and Robert Barnes of The Washington Post.

The Court also heard oral arguments yesterday in United States v. Davila, in which it is considering whether any degree of judicial participation in plea negotiations, in violation of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1), automatically requires reversal of a conviction or plea agreement. Rory Little previewed the case for this blog last Friday.

Yesterday the Court also released orders from its April 12 conference, which Lyle Denniston summarized at this blog. The Court granted review in two cases to be argued next Term. In Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., the Court will resolve a circuit split over the deadline for filing a case challenging the denial of disability benefits under an ERISA employee plan. Sprint Communications Co. v. Jacobs involves the question of whether Younger abstention – which requires a federal court to delay its proceedings when the same issue is pending in state court – is warranted in a case involving a dispute over a state regulation of rates for telephone-to-Internet calls.

The Court denied certiorari in a few notable cases. Kachalsky v. Cacace involved the latest attempt to get the Court to explore whether its 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized a Second Amendment right to have a gun for personal self-defense, extends beyond the home. Ilya Shapiro at Cato at Liberty summarizes what he regards as a current split among the federal circuits over the issue and explores potential reasons for the Court’s decision to deny cert. Other coverage comes from Adam Liptak of The New York Times, Fox News (video), Jacob Gershman at The Wall Street Journal Law Blog (subscription required), Warren Richey of The Christian Science Monitor, Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal, and Lawrence Hurley of Reuters.

The Court also declined to review Jennings v. Broome, a case that asked the Court to decide on the level of privacy protection afforded to personal e-mails under the Stored Communications Act. Warren Richey of The Christian Science Monitor reports on the case.

The Court asked for the views of the U.S. Solicitor General on whether to grant a petition filed by Argentina in Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital, which involves a long-running dispute between the country and hedge funds seeking to collect $2.5 billion that Argentina owes on defaulted bonds. At issue is whether a country enjoys sovereign immunity against post-judgment discovery of assets held outside the United States. Reports of the petition come from Greg Stohr at Bloomberg and Brent Kendall at the Wall Street Journal Law Blog (subscription required). Lyle reports that the Court has also asked for the views of the Solicitor General regarding a complaint filed directly with the Court by the state of Texas against the state of New Mexico under the Court’s original jurisdiction; the complaint involves a dispute over the states’ competing rights to the waters of the Rio Grande River.

Tomorrow the Court will hear oral arguments in Salinas v. Texas, a case in which the Court will consider whether the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination protects a defendant’s right to remain silent before he has been arrested or read his Miranda rights. Lyle Denniston previews the case for this blog. The Brennan Center for Justice’s Sidney Rosdeitcher and Katriana Roh preview the arguments presented in the case. [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the co-counsel to the petitioner in this case.]

In his Sidebar column for The New York Times, Adam Liptak writes about the phenomenon of paid line standers at Supreme Court oral arguments.

Recommended Citation: Sarah Erickson-Muschko, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 16, 2013, 9:05 AM),