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Monday round-up

Commentary on last week’s decision in Universal Health Services v. United States ex rel. Escobar, in which the Court ruled on the circumstances in which the implied false certification theory can be a basis for liability under the False Claims Act, comes from Joan Krause, who at Hamilton and Griffin on Rights suggests that, although “both parties quickly claimed victory, in reality the decision is likely to satisfy no one and to raise as many questions as it answers”; Richard Samp, who at the Washington Legal Foundation’s Legal Pulse concludes that, although the ruling “leaves many important FCA questions unanswered and will undoubtedly provide fodder for court battles for years to come, it can fairly be classified as a victory for the wider government contracts defense community”; David Freeman Engstrom, who has a Q&A on the case at Legal Aggregate; Nicholas Bagley, who at The Incidental Economist notes that the decision “has enormous implications for Medicare and Medicaid fraud”; Marcia Madsen (and others), who at Meaningful Discussions observes that the Court’s ruling “clarifies the applicable standards but, arguably, does not dramatically alter the status quo”; and Greg Klass, who at New Private Law concludes that “the Court’s reliance on the half-truth doctrine might end up doing more harm than good.”

William Mears of Fox News looks ahead to the end of the Court’s Term and some of the major cases remaining, while in anticipation of the Court’s ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt Oyez has launched Body Politic, a new resource on abortion and the Supreme Court.  And at Issue One, Daniel Hensel has “everything you need to know about” Virginia governor Bob McDonnell’s challenge to his fraud convictions.

Coverage relating to the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and the nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland to succeed him comes from Carl Hulse of The New York Times, who reports on comments by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, while at Vox Libby Nelson suggests that “the real future of gun control in America likely rests not with Congress but with the Supreme Court.”

Commentary relating to the Court’s denial of review in a case brought by residents of American Samoa seeking birthright citizenship, as well as the Court’s decisions in two cases involving Puerto Rico, comes from Lyle Denniston for Constitution Daily; Garrett Epps for The Atlantic; and Dennis Lennox in The Detroit News.


  • In Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), Tony Mauro looks at Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion in United States v. Bryant, in which the Court ruled that tribal-court convictions can be used as the predicate offenses for a habitual-offender statute, even if the defendant did not have an attorney in the tribal-court proceedings; he notes that, in “a four-page concurrence, Thomas cast doubt on not one, but three sets of court precedents involving the Sixth Amendment and tribal sovereignty.”
  • Julian Hattem of The Hill reports that, in the wake of the Court’s recent decision against it, “Iran is suing the United States in international court to reclaim roughly $2 billion frozen in a Citibank account in New York.”
  • At his eponymous blog, Kenneth Jost criticizes the dissenting opinion of Chief Justice John Roberts in Williams v. Pennsylvania; Jost argues that, although Roberts “appears to recognize his need to serve as institutional spokesperson-in-chief for judicial independence and integrity,” “he disserves that role by resisting any constitutional standards for judges to recuse themselves when their impartiality is rightly called into question.”
  • In another post at Legal Aggregate, Lisa Ouellette weighs in on the Court’s recent ruling in Halo Electronics v. Pulse Electronics; she concludes that it “remains to be seen how much Halo v. Pulse will lower the bar for receiving enhanced damages. There are good policy justifications for much more frequent treble-damage awards.”
  • At ACSblog, Joshua Hammack and Meghan Greenfield urge the Court to grant review in a case involving whether due process applies to immigration proceedings in which discretionary relief from removal is at issue.
  • In The Washington Post, Justin Driver reviews the new book on the Burger Court by Michael Graetz and Linda Greenhouse.
  • At Casetext, Terry Hart analyzes last week’s ruling in in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, in which the Court weighed in on the standard for fee-shifting under the Copyright Act, and concludes that the decision “does not break much new ground.”
  • At the Knowledge Network, Lisa Soronen looks ahead to next Term’s Murr v. Wisconsin, in which the Court will consider “whether merger provisions in state law and local ordinances, where nonconforming, adjacent lots under common ownership are combined for zoning purposes, may result in the unconstitutional taking of property.”

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Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 20, 2016, 6:12 AM),