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Tuesday round-up

Yesterday, the court declined to review a court of appeals decision holding that North Carolina’s 2013 voting law, which included a voter ID requirement and other restrictions on voting, was passed with racially discriminatory intent. Amy Howe covers yesterday’s orders list for this blog. In The Washington Post, Robert Barnes reports that in a statement accompanying the order in the North Carolina voter ID case, “Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. noted the particular circumstances of the appeal, in which the Republican legislative leadership attempted to continue the appeal and the Democratic governor and attorney general sought to abandon it,” and invoked the court’s “frequent admonition that ‘[t]he denial of a writ of certiorari imports no expression of opinion upon the merits of the case.’” Additional coverage comes from Pete Williams at NBC News, the Associated Press, Adam Liptak and Michael Wines in The New York Times, Greg Stohr at Bloomberg, Lyle Denniston at his eponymous blog, Lydia Wheeler at The Hill, Lawrence Hurley at Reuters, Ariane de Vogue and Daniella Diaz at CNN, Vann R. Newkirk II in The Atlantic, Gary Gately at Talk Media News, and Josh Gerstein at Politico. Commentary comes from Rick Hasen in the Election Law Blog, who notes that “[t]hese days at the Supreme Court, getting the Court not to hear a voting case is a significant victory,” Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress, who cautions that “Monday’s victory for voting rights is likely to prove temporary,” Ari Berman in The Nation, Paul Waldman in The Washington Post, and German Lopez at Vox.

The court also issued opinions in three cases yesterday. In Kindred Nursing Centers Limited Partnership v. Clark, the court ruled 7-1 that a power of attorney does not need to address arbitration specifically before an agent can bind her principal to an arbitration agreement. Ronald Mann has this blog’s opinion analysis. Tony Mauro reports on the decision in The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), noting that the court “continued its streak of pro-arbitration rulings,” and that the “seemingly narrow case” “could have broader ramifications for the nursing home industry in particular and businesses in general that look to the Federal Arbitration Act to protect arbitration agreements from invalidation under state laws.” At his eponymous blog, Ross Runkel looks at the opinion, describing its “significant teaching” as “a strong re-statement that the FAA requires courts to place arbitration agreements on equal footing with all other contracts at the contract-formation stage as well as the contract-enforcement stage.” At Stinson Leonard Street’s Arbitration Nation, Liz Kramer observes that the “interesting piece” of the opinion “is that the seven member majority went out of its way to cut off some of the ‘on trend’ methods that state courts have been using to avoid arbitration clauses.”

In Howell v. Howell, the court held 8-0 that a veteran is not required to indemnify a divorced spouse for retirement pay waived in favor of service-related disability benefits. Amy Howe analyzes the opinion for this blog. And in Midland Funding, LLC v. Johnson, the justices ruled 5-3 that filing a time-barred claim in bankruptcy does not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Ronald Mann has this blog’s opinion analysis. In The Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin reports that “[e]xpired debts—those so old that a statute of limitations prohibits courts from enforcing them—are big business, potentially comprising roughly 30% of more than $100 billion in debt that collection agencies have purchased from credit-card issuers and other businesses that have given up trying to collect,” and that in ruling that “it isn’t the creditor’s job to tell the debtor there is no obligation to pay up,” Justice Stephen Breyer joined “the company of the conservatives.”


  • At the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Liberty Blog, Jonathan Wood maintains that Rinehart v. California, “PLF’s challenge to California’s suction dredge mining ban,” in which the court issued an order yesterday calling for the views of the solicitor general, “raises significant questions about federalism, preemption, and state regulation of federal lands.”
  • At his eponymous blog, Sheldon Nahmod discusses Manuel v. City of Joliet, in which the court held earlier this term that an arrestee can challenge his pretrial detention under the Fourth Amendment when the criminal charges are based on false information, noting that “the Court punted on the broader question whether common law malicious prosecution elements, including favorable termination, should play any role in section 1983 jurisprudence outside of situations … where plaintiffs effectively challenge existing convictions.”
  • Logikcull features an interview with retired Judge Shira Sheindlin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in which the judge talks about “how the Supreme Court’s recent Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Haeger decision might impact discovery in the future.”
  • At the ImmigrationProf Blog, Kevin Johnson lists six immigration cases the court has yet to decide this term that “could affect the direction of judicial review of the constitutionality of immigration laws and policies”; he notes that the court “will consider the six immigration cases against a backdrop of considerable public discussion — and many legal challenges — to President Trump’s executive orders on immigration enforcement.”
  • In Education Week, Mark Walsh reports that the court “on Monday refused to take up an appeal in a case in which Neil M. Gorsuch, as an appeals court judge writing in dissent, had been sharply critical of involving the police in the matter of a student who disrupted a class with ‘fake burps.’”
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman uses a “readability” index to evaluate “120 parties’ initial merits briefs for this term” and to identify “the top ten most readable briefs.”
  • At Crime and Consequences, Kent Scheidegger surveys the criminal cases awaiting decision at the court.
  • At Understanding the ADA, William Goren looks at how the court’s decision in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, in which the court ruled that a student who alleges that a school has discriminated against her because of her disability is not necessarily required to exhaust her remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act before suing in federal court, is playing out in the lower courts.

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (May. 16, 2017, 6:45 AM),