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Wednesday round-up

Today the court hears oral argument in Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp., a case involving a challenge to the use of structured dismissals to resolve Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases. Daniel Bussel previewed the case for this blog. Michele Korkhov and Anna Marienko provide a preview for Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute.

The court also issued three unanimous opinions yesterday. In Samsung Electronics v. Apple, the court held that for purposes of a patent-damage award, an “article of manufacture” can be a component of a product, reversing the lower court’s decision and remanding the case for a recalculation of damages. Ronald Mann analyzes the opinion for this blog. [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioners in this case.] Additional coverage of the decision in Samsung comes from Lyle Denniston at Constitution Daily, Joe Mullin at Ars Technica and William Theisen in Jurist. Commentary comes from Mike Masnick at Techdirt, who remarks that “in unfortunately typical fashion, the Supreme Court punts on some of the bigger questions — including what is the proper “article of manufacture” here in this case,” and Noah Feldman at Bloomberg, who maintains that the court’s “approach garnered unanimity at the expense of logical clarity.”

In Salman v. United States, the court upheld an insider trading conviction, ruling that the jury could reasonably have inferred that a tipper received a personal benefit from disclosing confidential information to a relative. Amy Howe has this blog’s analysis. More coverage comes from Michael Bobelian in Forbes, Lyle Denniston at his eponymous blog, and Daniel Fisher in Forbes. Commentary comes from Matt Levine at Bloomberg, who notes that the decision leaves it unclear when “talking to a shareholder as part of your job at a public company” becomes “tipping a ‘trading relative or friend.’”

And in State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. v. United States ex rel. Rigsby, the court affirmed an appeals court’s ruling that a violation of the seal requirement does not mandate dismissal of a suit brought under the False Claims Act. Ronald Mann analyzes the opinion for this blog. [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the respondents in this case.] Additional coverage comes from Nina Totenberg at NPR, who reports that the court “upheld a jury verdict finding that State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. defrauded the federal government after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005,” rejecting “State Farm’s argument that federal law required the case to be thrown out.”

On Monday, the court heard arguments in two redistricting cases from Virginia and North Carolina, Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections and McCrory v. Harris. Coverage of the arguments comes from Steven Mazie in The Economist, who notes that “the justices seemed exasperated by their perennial role as overseers of” efforts by state legislatures to “pay attention to race when drafting electoral maps—but not too much attention.” In Rewire, Jessica Pieklo observes that the two racial gerrymandering cases, like last term’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, require the Supreme Court to consider “the role courts have in weighing evidence and second-guessing lawmakers.” And at Modern Democracy, Michael Parsons argues that a “full-out victory for either side should concern all of us—including the plaintiffs,” “because counsel for the voter-plaintiffs may have just purchased a few state house seats at the cost of the Voting Rights Act itself.”

On Monday, the court also released its argument calendar for the January sitting. Amy Howe summarizes the scheduled cases for this blog. At Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), Tony Mauro points to three cases the court agreed to review last January that have still not been scheduled for argument, observing that Justice Antonin Scalia “was alive when the cases were discussed, and he may have been the necessary fourth vote to grant cert,” and that with “Scalia gone and not yet replaced, the court may have decided that these three cases, unlike others, might result in a 4-4 tie.”


  • In National Review, Hannah Smith argues by nominating Utah Supreme Court Justice Thomas Lee to the Supreme Court, Donald Trump could “accomplish the trifecta of resoundingly fulfilling a campaign promise, mending political wounds, and making history.”
  • At In a Crowded Theater, Erica Goldberg continues her series of posts exploring the issues in Lee v. Tam, a First Amendment challenge to the government’s refusal to trademark a disparaging name.
  • At Reuters, Lawrence Hurley reports that the possibility of reversals of current executive branch policies and regulations in a Trump administration has left several recent, current and potential Supreme Court cases, including last term’s cases involving “efforts by Christian groups to obtain an exemption to a provision of the Obamacare law requiring employers to provide health insurance coverage for contraceptives,” “in a holding pattern,” and that the change in administrations “could undo important elements of Obama’s presidential legacy if Trump, as expected, opts not to defend the Obama policies in court or simply ditches the initiatives that are under attack.” 

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 7, 2016, 7:09 AM),