The Court will hear oral arguments in two cases today.  In Torres v. Lynch, it will consider whether a state-law crime can be “described in” a federal statute with a unique jurisdictional element.  Steve Vladeck previewed the case for this blog, with other coverage coming from Kelsey MacElroy and Katie Marren for Cornell’s Legal Information Institute and commentary from Justin Sadowsky at Dubitante.  And in Lockhart v. United States, the Justices will consider the scope of a federal ten-year mandatory minimum sentence enhancement for a man who pleaded guilty to the possession of child pornography.  Evan Lee previewed the case for this blog, with other coverage coming from Ben Einhouse and Victor Pinedo of Cornell’s Legal Information Institute and commentary from Justin Sadowsky at Dubitante.

Yesterday the Justices heard oral arguments in two cases.  In Foster v. Chatman, the issue before the Court arose from the trial of a Georgia death-row inmate, who argues that prosecutors’ exclusion of all of the African Americans in the jury pool from his trial ran afoul of the Court’s 1986 decision in Batson v. Kentucky.  As Lyle Denniston reports for this blog, the Court “spent much of its time in hearing a new case on Monday trying to sort out two procedural obstacles that apparently arose at the last minute.”  Other coverage of the argument comes from NPR’s Nina Totenberg, Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal, Chris Geidner of BuzzFeed, Tony Mauro of The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), and Ariane de Vogue of CNN, while Tony Mauro’s reporting for the Supreme Court Brief (subscription required) focused on the “rare recalibration” of the case “at the eleventh hour”; Nina Totenberg also previewed the case for NPR.  Commentary comes from Leslie Griffin of Hamilton and Griffin on Rights and Ruthann Robson at the Constitutional Law Prof Blog.

In yesterday’s second case, Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, the issue before the Justices was whether a lawsuit against an Internet “people search engine” can go forward when the plaintiff’s claim is that the company violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by publishing erroneous information about him, without any assertion of “real world” harm.  I covered the oral argument for this blog, while in an op-ed for The Christian Science Monitor James Cooper cautions the Court that, if it “sides with the alleged victim, any tech company that collects and aggregates personal data could be subjected to devastating lawsuits.”


  • In the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Anthony Troy and William Hurd urge the Court to review the case of former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell, arguing that “Americans concerned about the political process — and basic fairness — should hope that the convictions are reversed.”
  • Adele M. Stan of The American Prospect looks at the people and funding behind Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, in which the Court will consider the constitutionality of “fair share” fees for public employees who decline to join a union.

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Posted in Round-up

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Nov. 3, 2015, 5:33 AM),