Breaking News

Monday round-up

On Friday, the court added one case to its merits docket, granting cert in Honeycutt v. United States, which involves the scope of liability for a forfeiture in a drug conspiracy case. Amy Howe covers the grant for this blog.

Last Thursday, the court denied a stay in a death penalty case from Alabama, after a flurry of last-minute motions, and Ronald Smith was executed late that night; four justices voted to grant the stay, but five votes are required. Amy Howe has this blog’s coverage. At Crime and Consequences, Kent Scheidegger argues that Smith’s case “was not a clean” one in which to decide whether “the jury and not the judge” must “make the additional findings that state law requires before a ‘death-eligible’ defendant is actually sentenced to death,” “although the U.S. Supreme Court needs to take this issue up.”

At Jost on Justice, Ken Jost looks at last week’s decision in Salman v. United States, an insider-trading case, observing that for “insider trading hawks,” “the story has a happy ending,” and that “the court deserves credit for reaffirming a sensible rule, albeit difficult to enforce, to limit insiders’ ability to rig the market for the benefit of friends and family.” Stephen Bainbridge also discusses Salman in the Washington Legal Foundation’s Legal Pulse blog, noting that the court’s “very brief opinion” upholding Salman’s conviction “reaffirmed a rule from prior insider-trade caselaw that a gift of information between friends and family constitutes the requisite benefit” but “left any number of more difficult questions to be resolved in the future.”

In The National Law Review, Blake Fulton notes that several state attorneys general have filed amicus briefs supporting New Jersey’s petition for certiorari in Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, a case involving whether a federal statute can prevent New Jersey from repealing a ban on sports betting, observing that “although the arguments in this case are focused primarily on States’ rights in relation to the federal government, the outcome could have interesting consequences in gaming jurisdictions around the nation.” Jonathan Wood and Michelle Minton in The Daily Caller, who argue that if “the federal government gets away with what it has done in this case, the consequences could extend far beyond sports gambling,” weigh in on Christie as well.

Also in The National Law Review, Mark Salzberg discusses last week’s oral argument in Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp., a case involving a challenge to the use of a structured dismissal to resolve a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, noting that “the Court seemed to struggle with how far its ruling should go, asking the parties what was the scope of the holding they wanted the Court to enter,” and observing that depending “upon the scope of the Court’s opinion, regular and customary Chapter 11 practices, such as critical vendor motions and pre-petition wage motions, may no longer be permitted.” Another look at the argument in Czyzewski comes from Donna Higgins in Westlaw Journal Bankruptcy.


  • In Mayer Brown’s Meaningful Discussions blog, Roger Abbott looks at the court’s opinion last week in State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. v. United States ex rel. Rigsby, in which the court ruled that a violation of the seal requirement does not mandate dismissal of a suit brought under the False Claims Act, maintaining that although the “Court, in its concluding remarks, sought to address the concerns … that failure to require mandatory dismissal for violation of the seal would encourage relators to harass defendants into settling claims by leaking embarrassing stories to the news media,” “given the extreme set of facts and strong evidence of bad faith in this case, this reassurance is unlikely to provide much comfort for government contractors.”
  • At, Howard Fischer discusses Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Haeger, an upcoming case in which the court “is using an Arizona couple’s product liability lawsuit to determine how far federal judges can go when punishing attorneys who hide information.”
  • At Coverage Opinions, Randy Maniloff interviews Philip Hirschkop, the lawyer who argued Loving v. Virginia, the landmark 1967 civil rights case striking down a Virginia law that banned interracial marriage that is the subject of a recently released movie; Maniloff notes that “Hirschkop’s breathtaking five decade career” includes protecting “the rights of women, minorities and teachers,” and that although Hirschkop “could have been a household name like some other lawyers who have handled high-profile cases and had famous clients,” “he chose not to do the things that can make lawyers into celebrities.”

Remember, we rely exclusively on our readers to send us links for our round-up.  If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at]

Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 12, 2016, 7:14 AM),