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Friday round-up

The Court issued two opinions in argued cases yesterday.  Although neither case was the kind of blockbuster that would cause the networks to interrupt their regularly scheduled programming, both nonetheless garnered coverage and commentary.  In Clark v. Rameker, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for a unanimous Court, which held that inherited individual retirement accounts are not “retirement funds” for purposes of an exemption under the Bankruptcy Code.  I covered the decision for this blog; other coverage comes from Nina Totenberg and Rebecca Buchwalter-Poza of NPR and Jaclyn Belczyk of JURIST.

And in POM Wonderful v. Coca-Cola, a unanimous Court (with Justice Breyer recused) held that competitors may bring Lanham Act claims alleging unfair competition from false or misleading product descriptions on food and beverage labels regulated by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.  NPR’s Nina Totenberg covered Justice Kennedy’s opinion for the Court, with other coverage coming from Jaclyn Belczyk of JURIST.  Marcia Coyle examined the significance of the case for The National Law Journal, observing both that “[l]itigation will increase . . . because companies can no longer claim a safe harbor from those suits simply because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized their labels” and that “the same approach used by the high court to resolve the legal battle between POM Wonderful LLC and The Coca-Cola Co. over Coke’s pomegranate blueberry juice label could apply in other industries in which a federal agency regulates advertising.”  In his column for Bloomberg View, Noah Feldman also discussed the significance of the Court’s opinion, arguing that “[t]he decision matters because it signals that the court is moving away from interpreting the law to give government exclusive control over enforcement — and that may possibly hold a clue for the future of securities regulation.”


  • At ISCOTUSnow, Christopher Schmidt marked the forty-seventh anniversary of the Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia, striking down the state’s ban on interracial marriages; he focuses in particular on what he sees as the link between the Loving decision and “our current debate over the constitutionality of bans on same-sex marriage.”
  •  At the National Review Online’s Bench Memos blog, Jordan Lorence urges the Court to “vacate or reverse” the Seventh Circuit’s decision in Elmbrook School District v. Doe, a challenge to a public school’s practice of holding its graduation ceremony in a church.
  • At DRI Today, Larry Ebner discusses an “interesting side show” to Monday’s decision in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, holding that the federal Superfund law does not preempt North Carolina’s statute of repose.
  • At Oxford Human Rights Hub, Karl Laird discusses recent lower court decisions on same-sex marriage and contends that, “[r]ather than simply alluding to the status of LGBT people as a quasi-suspect class, the uncertainty currently prevailing in the lower courts demonstrates that the Supreme Court must state this explicitly.”
  • In an op-ed for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, David Gans weighs in on the proposed constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court’s recent campaign finance rulings.
  • In the ABA Journal, Debra Cassens Weiss reports on a new study which found that Justice Antonin Scalia “has the most complex vocabulary of any current justice, and even bests Shakespeare” but “can’t compete with that of rapper Aesop Rock.”
  • At Cornerstone, Frederick Mark Gedicks contends that the oral arguments in the challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s birth-control mandate “exposed three serious difficulties in Hobby Lobby’s challenge . . . which the Court will have to address if it decides the case in Hobby Lobby’s favor.”

[Disclosure:  The law firm of Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, was among the counsel to POM Wonderful in its case against Coca-Cola.  However, I am not affiliated with the firm.]

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 13, 2014, 7:16 AM),