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Wednesday round-up


  • At Dorf on Law, Michael Dorf encourages the Court to “resolve as a matter of formal policy some of the questions that are now governed either by individual discretion or some loose sense of custom” – for example, the practice of providing a “courtesy” vote needed to stay an execution (which requires five votes) even if there are only four votes to grant review in the inmate’s case.  He also urges the Court to grant cert. in the case of a Texas death row inmate to review a decision by the Fifth Circuit “that appears to be endorsing the view that whether someone counts as intellectually disabled–and thus death penalty-ineligible–can depend on his national origin.”
  • At the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Liberty Blog, Brian T. Hodges discusses Monday’s decision in Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States, in which the Court held that land exchanged with or transferred to the owners of private property under an 1875 law once again became their property when the railroad that ran across the property has been abandoned.   (Lyle Denniston covered the decision for this blog.)  Hodges praises the decision as “upholding one of the most important and fundamental policies of our property law system: certainty and predictability in land titles.”
  • At Letters Blogatory, Charles Kotuby compares the Court’s recent decisions in Lozano v. Alvarez and BG Group PLC v. Argentina, both of which involved “UK parties with rights under an international treaty,” and explains why the two decisions give him “intellectual whiplash.”
  • At Mayer Brown’s Class Defense blog, Joshua Yount discusses the Court’s recent cert. grant in Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi v. IndyMac MBS, Inc., in which the Court will consider whether, under American Pipe & Construction Co. v. Utah, the filing of a putative class action satisfies the three-year time limitation in Section 13 of the Securities Act with respect to the claims of putative class members.  In his post,  Yount argues that “[w]ould-be plaintiffs should not be able to use American Pipe to bring such claims after Section 13 has cut off liability for a challenged securities offering.”
  • With Mississippi legislators considering a state version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Sarah Posner discusses, in a post at USC Annenberg’s Religion Dispatches, whether the Court’s jurisprudence is “making state religious freedom bills more dangerous.”

[Disclosure:  Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, was among the counsel to the petitioner in BG Group; however, I am not affiliated with the firm.]

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 12, 2014, 10:25 AM),