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Wednesday round-up

Yesterday the Court issued its first two signed opinions of the Term, both unanimous.  In Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, it held that workers at a warehouse are not entitled to compensation for the time that they spent waiting to undergo, and then to undergo, anti-theft screenings.  In Warger v. Shauers, it held that an accident victim seeking a new trial after a verdict against him could not rely on a juror’s affidavit of what another juror said in deliberations to demonstrate the other juror’s dishonesty during voir dire.  Lyle Denniston covered the decision in Integrity Staffing for the blog; other coverage of that opinion comes from Nina Totenberg of NPR, Jaclyn Belczyk of JURIST, and Hera Arsen at the Ogletree Deakins blog.  Commentary on the decision comes from Noah Feldman at Bloomberg View, who argues that the Court “interpreted the 1947 Portal to Portal Act essentially as a pro-employer law” and suggests that the Court’s “liberal justices were supremely uninterested in the moral logic of employee compensation.”  At Forbes, Dan Fisher observes that “[e]mployers have been hit with rising numbers of FLSA suits by lawyers seeking to assemble large classes of workers who can claim back pay and overtime for activities they consider to be intrinsic to the job. But this decision, coming after a similar decision last year in Sandifur vs. U.S. Steel, will help employers fight back.”  Coverage of the decision in Warger comes from Jaclyn Belczyk of JURIST.

The Court also heard oral arguments in two cases yesterday.  In Gelboim v. Bank of America, it was considering whether and when the dismissal of an action that has been consolidated with other suits can be appealed immediately.  And in Alabama Department of Revenue v. CSX Transportation, the Court is interpreting the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976.  Mark Walsh covered the argument in CSX for Education Week’s The School Law Blog.  Coverage of both of yesterday’s arguments came from Jaclyn Belczyk of JURIST, while at ISCOTUSnow Edward Lee predicts the winners in both oral arguments based on the number of questions for each side.

On Monday the Court heard oral argument in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl, a case involving the federal Tax Injunction Act and Colorado’s scheme for collecting use taxes.  Ronald Mann covered the oral argument for this blog; other coverage of the oral argument comes from Dan Fisher of Forbes.

Two people involved in landmark Supreme Court decisions died recently.  Ken Armstrong of the Marshall Project reports on the passing of Dollree Mapp, the petitioner in Mapp v. Ohio, “the 1961 Supreme Court decision some legal scholars credit with launching a ‘due process revolution’ in American law.” And in his column for The Atlantic, Garrett Epps eulogizes Al Smith, the respondent in Employment Division v. Smith, describing him as a man whose “life powerfully shaped the American law of religious freedom.”


  • In The Wall Street Journal, Brent Kendall and Colleen Wilson report that neither the Court nor lawyers who would like to assist him can locate Bobby Chen, the pro se petitioner in a lawsuit against the city and mayor of Baltimore; his brief on the merits is currently due on December 22.
  • At JURIST, William Helbing reported on the denial of review in BP’s challenge to a settlement in the Deepwater Horizon case.
  • At the Constitutional Accountability Center’s Text and History Blog, Joey Meyer looks at the impact of recent comments by Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act, on King v. Burwell, in which the Court will consider whether tax subsidies are available to individuals who purchase health insurance on an exchange operated by the federal government.
  • Tony Mauro of the Legal Times (subscription or registration required) reports on Monday’s order requiring a partner in a Washington law firm to “show cause why he should not be sanctioned for ‘his conduct as a member of the bar of this court’ in connection with a pending petition in a patent case.”
  • At Truthdig, Bill Blum predicts that litigation arising from yesterday’s Senate report on torture “will land in the lap of the nine justices who sit on the Supreme Court, as issues of critical national importance invariably do. How the high court will rule, however, remains a disturbingly open question.”
  • At Crime and Consequences, Kent Scheidegger notes that on Monday the Court asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to file a response to a petition filed by Charles Ryan, the head of Arizona’s prison system, seeking action by the Ninth Circuit.

[Disclosure:  Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioners in Gelboim.  However, I am not affiliated with the firm.]

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Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 10, 2014, 10:56 AM),