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Justices grant four new cases

By on Nov 15, 2019 at 2:48 pm

This afternoon the Supreme Court issued orders from the justices’ private conference earlier in the day. The justices granted four petitions for review, two of which will be consolidated, for a total of three additional hours of argument this term. The cases will likely be argued early next year.

Among the grants today was Google v. Oracle, a copyright case involving computer code. The case arises from Google’s reuse of so-called “declarations” that introduce short-cut programs written for the Java programming language. Google reused the declarations to make it easier for programmers familiar with the Java language to write applications for Google’s Android operating system. In two successive proceedings, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that the declarations are copyrightable and that Google’s conduct was not fair use. The federal government had recommended that the court deny Google’s petition, expressing the government’s support for the Federal Circuit’s rulings. Continue reading »

Oyez has posted the aligned audio and transcripts from this week’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court. The court heard argument this week in:

Posted in Merits Cases
 
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Petitions of the week

By on Nov 15, 2019 at 10:00 am

This week we highlight petitions pending before the Supreme Court that address, among other things, whether the government may commence removal proceedings by serving a noncitizen with a “notice to appear” that fails to specify the hearing’s time and place, whether the Fair Credit Reporting Act authorizes consumers to file civil suits against federal governmental agencies under 15 U.S.C. § 1681n and § 1681o, and whether a domestic corporation is subject to liability in a private action under the Alien Tort Statute.

The petitions of the week are below the jump:

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Late Thursday afternoon, the first case arising out of a subpoena dispute involving President Donald Trump reached the Supreme Court when the president’s personal lawyers filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in Trump v. Vance. But whereas the Vance case raises interesting questions about when the president can be sued in state court, it is likely to be overtaken in importance by other subpoena disputes making their way to the court—including the dispute over the House Oversight Committee’s subpoena to the Mazars accounting firm, in which the D.C. Circuit denied rehearing en banc on Wednesday, and in which a stay application may be filed with Chief Justice John Roberts as early as today. Continue reading »

Friday round-up

By on Nov 15, 2019 at 6:41 am

For USA Today, Richard Wolf reports that “President Trump asked the Supreme Court Thursday to block New York prosecutors from obtaining eight years of his tax returns, setting up a landmark separation of powers battle.” Jess Bravin, Brent Kendall and Corinne Ramey report for The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) that “[t]he filing marks a new phase in Mr. Trump’s battles with the judicial branch, thrusting the Supreme Court into the constitutional struggle between a norm-smashing president and law-enforcement authorities and congressional opponents.” At AP, Mark Sherman reports that “[a] second, similar case is headed to the court over a House committee subpoena demanding Trump’s financial records from the same accounting firm.”

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Posted in Round-up
 
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Relist Watch

By on Nov 14, 2019 at 11:09 am

John Elwood hastily reviews Tuesday’s relists.

It’s a perfect storm: A week already shortened by Veterans Day made shorter still by an unprecedented gathering of highfunctioning introverts. So to make sure we have this out well enough ahead of possible Friday grants while still attending the events, we’ll keep this short too.

Six new relists this week. But I want to flag just two related cases for you: Competitive Enterprise Institute v. Mann, 18-1477, and National Review, Inc. v. Mann, 18-1451. Because there aren’t enough highstakes cases before the Supreme Court this term, the justices are now considering whether to take a case involving climate change — and free speech. As I discovered simply trying to track down replacements for broken hyperlinks in the decision under review, opinions in this area range from a quaintly old-fashioned “delete your account!” to statements so profane I need administrative privileges just to view them on a firm-owned computer. So the odds are against my describing this case without inspiring rage. But here goes. Continue reading »

Thursday round-up

By on Nov 14, 2019 at 6:53 am

Yesterday the court heard argument in Comcast v. National Association of African American-Owned Media, in which the justices considered whether, in a claim under a federal statute that prohibits race discrimination in contracting, a plaintiff is required to show that the defendant’s action would not have been taken but for the alleged discrimination. Amy Howe has this blog’s argument analysis, which first appeared at Howe on the Court. For The New York Times, Adam Liptak reports that “[a] cautious Supreme Court … seemed to be looking for a narrow way to rule in a racial discrimination case against Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company, by a black entrepreneur who contends his race played a role in the company’s decision not to carry programming from his network.” Richard Wolf reports for USA Today that the court “appeared likely … to let [the] claim … go forward, even though it might be difficult to prove,” [b]ut both liberal and conservative justices indicated that while there may be enough evidence of racial bias for now, [the plaintiffs] eventually would have to prove that race was the deciding factor for Comcast.”

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Posted in Round-up
 
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The Supreme Court last night denied both applications (here and here) to block the execution of Ray Jefferson Cromartie, who was sentenced to death for the 1994 murder of Richard Slysz. Georgia was set to execute Cromartie by lethal injection at 7:00 p.m. EST yesterday, but the state was delayed over three hours while his final appeals were before the justices. According to reports, Cromartie was executed at 10:59 p.m.

I suggested in my preview of Ritzen Group v. Jackson Masonry that the argument might tell us a great deal about how the Supreme Court will approach this technical bankruptcy matter. And for once I think I was right, as the argument suggested a considerable consensus on the bench about how to address the issues in this case. Ritzen Group is not one of the most important cases on the court’s docket this fall. Indeed, I doubt informed bankruptcy professionals would even place it anywhere on a list of pressing concerns in bankruptcy practice. Rather, this is a case the justices are hearing solely because they are persuaded that the lower courts are in conflict. Continue reading »

This morning the Supreme Court heard oral argument in a lawsuit filed by Entertainment Studios Network, a media company owned by African American entrepreneur and entertainer Byron Allen, against cable giant Comcast. ESN and the National Association of African American-Owned Media, an organization with which ESN is affiliated, argue that Comcast violated 42 U.S.C. Section 1981, a federal law barring racial discrimination in contracts, when it declined to carry channels that ESN produced. The question before the justices centered on what ESN is required to allege for its lawsuit to go forward: Is it enough, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled, that the complaint contends that race was a “motivating factor” behind the defendant’s decision, or (as Comcast maintains) must the complaint instead assert that the decision would have been different were it not for the plaintiff’s race? After an hour of oral argument, the justices seemed likely to strike down the 9th Circuit’s ruling, but it was less clear what standard they would select to replace it. It also seemed possible that ESN’s case might survive and move forward, at least for now. Continue reading »

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