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Tuesday round-up

The justices will hear oral argument this morning in two cases. The first is Parker Drilling Management Services. Ltd. v. Newton, in which they will consider whether California’s overtime and wage laws apply to drilling rigs on the Outer Continental Shelf. Andrew Siegel previewed the case for this blog. Lauren Devendorf and Tyler Schmitt have a preview at Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute.

This morning’s second argument is in North Carolina Dept of Revenue v. Kimberley Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust, which asks whether a trust beneficiary’s residence is sufficient under the due process clause for a state to assert tax jurisdiction over trust income. This blog’s preview came from Erin Scharff. Cecilia Bruni and Brady Plastaras preview the case for Cornell. At the UCLA Law Review, Bridget Crawford and Michelle Simon explain that “Kaestner Trust is the most important due process case involving trusts that the Court has decided in over sixty years; it bears directly on the fundamental meaning of due process.”

For this blog. Mark Walsh has a first-hand account of yesterday’s oral argument in Iancu v. Brunetti, in which the court considered a First Amendment challenge to the federal prohibition on “immoral” or “scandalous” trademarks by a designer who wanted to register the trademark for his FUCT clothing brand. Nina Totenberg reports at NPR that “for the justices, the immediate problem was how to discuss the F-word without actually saying it.” For the Los Angeles Times, David Savage reports that “[t]hroughout the argument, the justices sounded unsure as to what words, if any, could be rejected as trademarks if the law were struck down.” Additional coverage comes from Robert Barnes for The Washington Post and Jess Bravin for The Wall Street Journal, who reports that “[t]he justices showed little sympathy for the expressive content of Mr. Brunetti’s brand name, but their record on free speech points in his favor.” At the Constitutional Law Prof Blog, Ruthann Robson observes that “[t]he Justices seemed troubled by any argument that the Patent and Trademark Office … could reject a trademark on the basis that a majority or ‘substantial segment’ of people might find it objectionable, especially given changing morals and issues about which segments of the population” might differ.

Yesterday the justices issued orders from last Friday’s conference, granting no additional cases and asking for the views of the solicitor general in a case involving federal pre-emption of drug-reimbursement rates. Amy Howe covered the order list for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. At CNN, Ariane de Vogue reports that the justices “declined Monday to take up the case of a death row inmate, Charles Rhines, who sought to challenge his sentence based on juror statements that indicated discrimination based on Rhines’ homosexuality.” At the Pacific Legal Foundation blog, Tony Francois writes that the justices also vacated a conviction under the Clean Water Act and sent the case back for the court of appeals to determine whether the case is moot, giving “Carrie Robertson the chance to pursue justice for the federal government’s terrible wrong against her late husband, Joe.”

At Constitution Daily, Lyle Denniston reports that recent rulings indicate that “[t]he constitutional narrative that has guided the Supreme Court’s thinking on the death penalty for most of the past four decades is beginning to change[;] [d]eveloping in its place is a new approach that puts less emphasis on the rights of inmates on death-row and more on the power of the states to carry out executions.” At Take Care, Leah Litman weighs in on the rulings, suggesting that although “[t]he Court has made it a habit of penalizing and calling out prisoners for their death penalty litigation tactics,” “[i]n fact, it is the states’ sloppiness and secrecy that is creating many of the problems.”


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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 16, 2019, 6:42 AM),