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Tuesday round-up

Yesterday the Court released orders from its May 16 Conference, granting cert. in five new cases; it also issued four opinions in argued cases.

In Metrish v. Lancaster, the Court unanimously held that a state prisoner who was convicted of first-degree murder was not entitled to federal habeas relief when state courts precluded him from relying on a “diminished capacity” defense that had been available at the time of the murder.  At this blog, Lyle Denniston notes that “[t]he decision, while interpreting generously the power of a state supreme court to cast aside a string of lower state court rulings allowing a legal defense, did not appear to make much new law on retroactivity doctrine.” Other reports come from Kent Scheidegger at C&C Blog and Jaclyn Belczyk at JURIST.

In City of Arlington v. FCC, the Court held by a vote of six to three that courts must apply Chevron deference to an agency’s interpretation of a statutory ambiguity concerning the scope of the agency’s statutory authority. Reports come from Leland E. Beck at Federal Regulations Advisor, The BLT’s Tony Mauro, Paul Daly at Administrative Law Matters, and Jaclyn Belczyk at JURIST.

In PPL Corp. v. Commissioner, the Court unanimously held that the United Kingdom’s “windfall tax” is creditable against a company’s U.S. income tax liability. Finally, in another unanimous opinion, the Court held in Sebelius v. Cloer that an untimely National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act petition may qualify for an award of attorney’s fees if it is filed in good faith and there is a reasonable basis for its claim. Jaclyn Belczyk at JURIST reports on both cases here and here.

The Court also agreed to hear five new cases, which it will hear in its next Term beginning in October. In Town of Greece v. Galloway, the Court will consider whether a city’s practice of reciting prayers to start its public board meetings violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. At this blog, Lyle Denniston notes that the Court’s decision to review the case “might be interpreted as an indication that the Justices could be preparing to make a major pronouncement on religion in the public sphere, but it also might be understood as an intent to focus solely on the specific facts of the practice as it unfolded in this one community.” Other coverage of the case comes from Richard Wolf at USA Today, Mark Walsh at Education Week, Jeremy Leaming at ACSblog, and Paul Horowitz and Rick Garnett at PrawfsBlawg.

In Fernandez v. California, the Court will consider whether a co-tenant can consent to a search of a suspect’s home after the suspect, who previously objected when present at the home, has been taken into custody. Coverage comes from Michael Doyle at McClatchy Newspapers and Kent Scheidegger at C&C Blog. Lyle Denniston summarizes the other cases the Court has agreed to hear for this blog. Jaclyn Belczyk at JURIST also reports on the five new cases.


  • Tom Goldstein will be appearing on this Sunday’s edition of C-SPAN’s Q&A to talk about SCOTUSblog.
  • Bloomberg Law (video) reports on the lack of diversity among the lawyers arguing before the Supreme Court.
  • At Greenwire, Jeremy Jacobs discusses the possible impact that Clapper v. Amnesty International, in which the Court held that plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge an international wiretapping statute, could have “on efforts by advocacy groups to file lawsuits under environmental laws.”
  • In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Andrew Kohut discusses the findings of Pew Research Center surveys showing that few Americans of any race report having problems or difficulty voting. The report comes as the Court is considering Shelby County v. Holder, a challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
  • At The Originalism Blog, Michael Rappaport analyzes the government’s cert. petition in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, in which it is seeking review of the D.C. Circuit’s decision that the President’s recess appointments to the NLRB are unconstitutional.

Disclosures: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, served as co-counsel to the petitioners in City of Arlington v. FCC, and it is among the counsel to Representative F. James Sensenbrenner et al., who filed an amicus brief in support of the respondent in Shelby County v. Holder.

If you have (or know of) a recent article or post that you would like to have included in the round-up, please send a link to roundup [at] so that we can consider it.

Recommended Citation: Sarah Erickson-Muschko, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (May. 21, 2013, 10:49 AM),