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Wednesday round-up

Today the Court issued its decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, holding that the Alien Tort Statute does not apply to conduct that occurs overseas.  The Court also issued a decision in Missouri v. McNeely, holding that police officers cannot generally conduct blood-alcohol tests without a warrant, and it heard oral arguments in two other cases.  Kali collected early coverage of Kiobel this afternoon; we will cover today’s other developments in tomorrow’s round-up. 

Yesterday in U.S. Airways v. McCutchen, a divided Court held that in an action brought under a provision under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), authorizing a civil action “to obtain . . . appropriate equitable relief . . . to enforce . . . the terms of the” ERISA plan, based on an equitable lien by agreement, the terms of the ERISA plan govern.  However, when there are gaps in the plan, equitable doctrines may be used to properly construe it.  The Associated Press has coverage of the case, as does Katherine Thompson Lange of the National Law Review.  In yesterday’s other opinion, Genesis HealthCare Corp. v. Symczyk, the Court held that, because the respondent had no personal interest in representing putative, unnamed claimants, nor any other continuing interest that would preserve her suit from mootness, her suit was appropriately dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.  Lyle Denniston covered that opinion for this blog; other coverage comes from Adam Liptak of The New York Times (who also provides coverage of McCutchen) and Amanda Becker of Thomson Reuters.  At the Volokh Conspiracy, Eugene Volokh highlights Justice Kagan’s dissent in the case.

Yesterday the Court heard oral arguments in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, in which it is considering whether a non-custodial parent can invoke the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 to block an adoption initiated by a non-Indian parent.  Amy Howe covered the argument for this blog; other coverage comes from Nina Totenberg of NPR, Adam Liptak of The New York Times, Robert Barnes of The Washington Post, Lawrence Hurley of Reuters, Richard Wolf of USA Today, Bill Mears of CNN, Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal, and Mark Walsh at Education Week all cover the case, as does Carmen Russell-Sluchansky at the Voice of Russia’s “Due Diligence” segment.

The Court also heard oral argument yesterday in American Trucking Associations, Inc. v City of Los Angeles, in which it is considering the scope of a federal law that prohibits states from “enact[ing] or enforc[ing] a law, regulation or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier . . . with respect to the transportation of property.” Jeremy P. Jacobs covers the case for Greenwire.

Kali provides links to both the transcripts in yesterday’s argued cases at this blog.


Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports on recent remarks made by Justice Scalia at a recent appearance in which the Justice told university students that “key provisions of the Voting Rights Act had evolved from an emergency response to racial discrimination in 1965 to an ‘embedded’ form of ‘racial preferment.’”  Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog also reports on the Justice’s remarks.

  • Also in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) Jess Bravin notes that the Justices appeared skeptical on during Monday’s oral argument of Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, that “human DNA extracted from the body could be patented like a mechanical invention.”
  • At this blog’s “Relist watch” feature, John Elwood reviews Monday’s relisted cases.

Recommended Citation: Conor McEvily, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 17, 2013, 7:09 PM),