Breaking News

Friday round-up

Yesterday the Court issued three opinions in argued cases.  In United States v. Clarke, a unanimous Court – in an opinion by Justice Elena Kagan – held that a taxpayer who wants to question IRS agents about their motives for issuing a summons can do so if he can point to “specific facts or circumstances plausibly raising an inference of bad faith.”  I provided early coverage of the brief opinion for this blog, while Noah Feldman discusses the decision in his column for Bloomberg View.

In Lane v. Franks, a unanimous Court – in an opinion by Justice Sonia Sotomayor – held that the First Amendment protects a state employee who was fired in retaliation for his testimony in a federal criminal trial about fraud in a community college program, but it also held that the community college president who fired him is entitled to qualified immunity for his conduct.  Ruthann Robson covered the decision for this blog; other coverage comes from Nina Totenberg of NPR and Mark Walsh of Education Week.  Commentary comes from Noah Feldman for Bloomberg View, Leslie Griffin at Hamilton and Griffin on Rights, Sheldon Nahmod at Nahmod Law, Hera Arsen at the Ogletree Deakins blog, and Scott Oswald at Law360 (registration required).

In Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, the Court (in an opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas) held that Alice Corporation’s patent claims are drawn to a patent-ineligible abstract idea and therefore not patent eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101.  Coverage comes from Bill Mears of CNN and Daniel Fisher of Forbes, with commentary from Kristen Osenga at PrawfsBlawg.


  • In The Daily Beast, Andrew Cohen urges the Court to grant review in the case of Billy Wayne Cope, a South Carolina man convicted of murder in connection with the death of his daughter although DNA from the crime scene matched that of another man.
  • In the Los Angeles Times, Jim Newton reviews both Uncertain Justice, a new book on the Roberts Court by Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz, and the new biography of Justice Antonin Scalia, by Bruce Murphy.
  • At the Brennan Center for Justice, Ciara Torres-Spelliscy discusses the testimony of two state legislators – Jamie Raskin and Floyd McKissick – at a hearing on a proposed amendment to overturn the Court’s recent campaign finance rulings, characterizing them as “clarions warning the nation about money in politics after Citizens United.”
  • At PrawfsBlawg, Howard Wasserman discusses standing and a question left open by Monday’s decision in Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, arguing that “[t]here should be no question that genuinely threatened administrative enforcement proceedings should be sufficient for preenforcement standing.”

[Disclosure:  The law firm of Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to petitioner Edward Lane in Lane v. Franks. However, I am not affiliated with the firm.]

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 20, 2014, 7:58 AM),