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Justices request government’s views on Harvard affirmative-action dispute

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the federal government to weigh in on whether the justices should once again wade into the battle over affirmative action. In an order list issued from last week’s private conference, the court asked Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar to file a brief expressing the government’s views on a challenge to Harvard’s race-conscious admissions policy. Even if the justices ultimately decide to grant review in Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fello...
Tags: Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Harvard, Harvard University, Kennedy, University Of Michigan, University Of North Carolina, Sonia Sotomayor, Antonin Scalia, Lyle Denniston, Scalia, Fisher, University of Texas, Howe


Less travel, plenty of royalties for justices in 2020

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were reflected in an unusual source: the justices’ 2020 financial disclosures, which the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts released (and Fix the Court posted online) on Friday. Unlike in previous years, the justices mostly stayed close to home, with only two justices reporting reimbursements for trips after the pandemic hit in mid-March. The financial disclosures, which are released every year around this time, are relatively opaque. For example, they...
Tags: Florida, New York, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Colorado, Washington, New York City, Court, Indiana, University of Florida, Peter Pan, Princeton University Press, Penguin Random House, Caribbean, George Washington University


Court limits definition of “violent felony” in federal gun-possession penalty

A fractured Supreme Court on Thursday narrowed the scope of a key phrase in the Armed Career Criminal Act, ruling that crimes involving recklessness do not count as “violent felonies” for the purpose of triggering a key sentencing enhancement. Justice Elena Kagan announced the judgment of the court and wrote an opinion that was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch. Justice Clarence Thomas did not join Kagan’s opinion but concurred in the result. That means that fi...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Court, United States, Tennessee, Johnson, Thomas, Borden, U S Court of Appeals, Elena Kagan, Kagan, Clarence Thomas, Kavanaugh, United States the Supreme Court


Some early coverage of big new SCOTUS ruling limiting ACCA in Borden

A busy day on other matters means I have only had a chance to skim Borden v. US, No. 19–5410 (S. Ct. June 10, 2021) (available here), the big win for the defendant today in an ruling limiting the reach of the Armed Career Criminal Act.  I hope in the coming days to have a lot to say about Borden ruling itself and its possible aftermath, but for now I can and will round up some early press and blog coverage: From Bloomberg Law, "Divided High Court Sides With Defense on Repeat-Offender Law" From C...
Tags: Law, US, Bloomberg, Thomas, Borden, Kagan, Kavanaugh, ACCA, Douglas A Berman, Hill Gorsuch Thomas, New York Times Supreme Court Limits Sweep of Law


In 5-4 decision, SCOTUS limits reach of ACCA mandatory minimum "violent felony" predicates by holding a "reckless offense cannot so qualify"

The last big SCOTUS sentencing ruling of this Term that I have been eagerly awaiting was (yet another) one concerning application of the Armed Career Criminal Act.  Today the wait was over, as this morning the Court handed down it opinion in Borden v. US, No. 19–5410 (S. Ct. June 10, 2021) (available here).  And it is a big win for the defendant with Justice Kagan authoring the key opinion for four Justices (with Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Gorsuch joining), which starts this way: The Armed C...
Tags: Law, Congress, Court, US, United States, Arizona, Johnson, Thomas, Scalia, Borden, Kagan, Kavanaugh, ACCA, Gorsuch, Douglas A Berman, Breyer Sotomayor


Justices deny green cards to noncitizens granted Temporary Protected Status

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday that noncitizens who have been granted temporary humanitarian relief from deportation cannot use the process known as “adjustment of status” to obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States without leaving the country. The court ruled in Sanchez v. Mayorkas that adjustment of status is reserved for those who were inspected at the border and admitted to the United States by an immigration officer, thus disqualifying the majority of those gra...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, United States, El Salvador, Sánchez, Gonzalez, Elena Kagan, Kagan, Mayorkas, Jose Sanchez, Merits Cases, Sonia Gonzalez


Lengthy lament in SCOTUS cert dissent about execution method litigation

The Supreme Court’s order list this morning has no cert grants and lots and lots of cert denials.  And, at the end, Justice Sotomator penned a lengthy dissent to one such denial concerning a Missouri inmate’s effort to contest the state’s execution methods.  This dissent, in Johnson v. Precythe, No. 20-287, is joined by Justices Breyer and Kagan. Because I am caught up with some pomp and circumstance today, I will not have a chance to review this opinion closely anytime soon.  (But I do have tim...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Missouri, Johnson, Kagan, Douglas A Berman, Precythe, Justices Breyer, Sotomator


On Tax Day, unanimous court green-lights company’s lawsuit against IRS

The Supreme Court on Monday issued its opinion in CIC Services v. Internal Revenue Service. The case involved whether the Anti-Injunction Act, which generally prohibits lawsuits “for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of any tax,” bars pre-enforcement review of an IRS administrative notice aimed at gathering information regarding certain suspected tax shelter transactions. In an opinion released on the 2021 deadline for Americans to file their federal income taxes, the cour...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Tennessee, AIA, Irs, Cic, Sonia Sotomayor, Internal Revenue Service, U S Court of Appeals, Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Kagan, Kavanaugh, Merits Cases, Brett Kavanaugh


Justices divided on retroactive application of jury-unanimity rule

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a vote of 6-3 that inmates whose convictions became final before last year’s decision in Ramos v. Louisiana, holding that the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment establishes a right to a unanimous jury that applies in both federal and state courts, cannot take advantage of it on federal collateral review. The geographical impact of Monday’s decision is limited to Louisiana and Oregon – the only two states that have allowed non-unanimous jury verdicts in recent ye...
Tags: Featured, Mississippi, Supreme Court, Law, Oregon, Louisiana, Roe V Wade, Edwards, Howe, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Kagan, Ramos, Kavanaugh, Apodaca, Vannoy


By 6-3 vote, SCOTUS in Edwards v. Vannoy rewrites Teague to say all new procedural rules not retroactive in federal habeas

The Supreme Court this morning handed down an opinion in Edwards v. Vannoy, No. 19–5807 (S. Ct. May 17, 2021) (available here), which holds that the "Ramos jury-unanimity rule ... does not apply retroactively on federal collateral review." Justice Kavanaugh wrote the opinion for the Court, and it starts this way: Last Term in Ramos v. Louisiana, 590 U. S. ___ (2020), this Court held that a state jury must be unanimous to convict a criminal defendant of a serious offense.  Ramos repudiated this ...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Scotus, Washington, Oregon, Court, Wyoming, Louisiana, Duncan, Edwards, Lane, Crawford, Sotomayor, Breyer, Kagan, Ramos


On a new, conservative court, Kavanaugh sits at the center

This article is the first in a series on interim statistics from the 2020-21 Supreme Court term. The Supreme Court has issued opinions in roughly half of the cases it will decide this term, and so far Justice Brett Kavanaugh has emerged as the new “median justice” on a solidly conservative court. If the trend holds, Kavanaugh will supplant Chief Justice John Roberts, who occupied the court’s ideological center before the rightward shift caused by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Republican, Donald Trump, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Trump, Thomas, Democratic, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, The Supreme Court, Roberts, Ginsburg, Barrett, Sotomayor


Justices and litigants spar over whether renewable-fuel law creates a “funnel” or a “safety valve”

The Supreme Court heard oral argument Tuesday in HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining, LLC v. Renewable Fuels Association, which considers whether small refiners can take advantage of a compliance exemption in the Renewable Fuel Standard program if they have not received that exemption continuously. (The full statutory scheme is elaborated here.) The petitioners are three small refineries who argue that the word “extension” in the statute’s exemption language provides a metaphorical safety valve for...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Senate, Epa, Environmental Protection Agency, Chevron, Thomas, Morrison, John Roberts, Roberts, Alito, Renewable Fuels Association, Stephen Breyer, Breyer


Justices ponder narrow ruling in student speech case

The Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared conflicted over a school district’s plea to be allowed to discipline students for their speech outside of school. Some justices expressed concern about whether allowing schools to regulate off-campus speech could sweep in too much speech by young people, while others worried that – particularly in the internet era – a contrary rule would give too little weight to the harmful effects that some speech, such as cyberbullying, can have at school even when it ...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Pennsylvania, Levy, Michael Jordan, Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Stewart, John Roberts, American Civil Liberties Union, Blatt, Roberts, David Cole, Howe, Alito


Justices doubtful on California donor-disclosure requirement

The Supreme Court on Monday seemed poised to side with two conservative groups challenging the constitutionality of California’s requirement that charities and nonprofits operating in the state provide the state attorney general’s office with the names and addresses of their largest donors. The requirement, the state insists, helps it to police charitable fraud. But two nonprofits argue that the rule violates the First Amendment by discouraging their donors from making contributions. After near...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, California, Alabama, Irs, Charles Koch, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, American Civil Liberties Union, Feinberg, Roberts, Howe, Alito, Shaffer, Barrett


Meandering argument sheds little light on mandatory awards of costs of appellate litigation

Wednesday’s argument in City of San Antonio v. Hotels.com considered what would seem to be a basic procedural question: how courts should decide the “costs” that the prevailing party on appeal can recover from the losing party. It turns out, at least as far as the argument suggests, that nothing about that question is simple or obvious. The case involves two subsections of Rule 39 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. The first question is which party should pay costs. All agree that s...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Circuit, San Antonio, Thomas, John Roberts, Barrett, Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Kagan, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, 5th Circuit, Gorsuch, Merits Cases


Is there an "adultification bias" that "uniquely plagues Black girls"?

I'm reading "The Columbus mayor called Ma’Khia Bryant a ‘young woman.’ Here’s why people are angry. Some said it exemplified ‘adultification bias’ against the Black 16-year-old girl who was fatally shot by police" (The Lily/WaPo): Earlier that night, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther (D) took to Twitter to share news of the killing, calling Ma’Khia a “young woman.” Replies quickly poured in, noting that Ma’Khia was a child — not an adult. At the news conference a few hours later, Ginther acknowledge...
Tags: Crime, Mississippi, Supreme Court, Law, Police, Court, Journalism, Teenagers, Abortion, Ohio, Bill, Columbus, Jim Crow, Black, Jones, Montgomery


SCOTUS affirms juve LWOP sentence, 6-3, in Jones v Mississippi

I am on the road today, and so I am not that surprised the Supreme Court has handed down the big sentencing opinion I have been awaiting all Term.  I hope to comment later today. UPDATE :  Thanks to airport wifi, I can now provide this link to the full opinion in Jones v. Mississippi, No. 18-1259 (S. Ct. April 22, 2021).  Here is how Justice Kavanaugh's opinion for the Court begins Under Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), an individual who commits a homicide when he or she is under 18 may...
Tags: Mississippi, Supreme Court, Law, Court, Alabama, Louisiana, Jones, Montgomery, Miller, Breyer, Kagan, Ramos, Kavanaugh, Brett Jones, Miller Jones, Douglas A Berman


Tandon steals Fulton’s thunder: The most important free exercise decision since 1990

On Feb. 24, 2020, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, a case in which the petitioners and several amici are asking the Court to either (1) overrule Employment Division v. Smith, a 1990 decision holding that the free exercise clause does not provide a right to religious exemptions from general laws, or (2) sharply limit the impact of Smith by interpreting it as guaranteeing a “most favored nation” status for religious exemption claims. Under the latter theory,...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, California, Philadelphia, Smith, Flores, State, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Fulton, Hialeah, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Kagan


Divided court blocks California’s COVID-related restrictions on in-home religious gatherings

A divided Supreme Court on Friday night granted a request by a California pastor to put COVID-related restrictions on in-home Bible study and prayer meetings on hold. The ruling, issued just before midnight, was the most recent in a series of challenges, dating back almost to the start of the pandemic, to restrictions on in-person gatherings. Chief Justice John Roberts indicated that he would have denied the request; Justice Elena Kagan filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices S...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, California, State, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, 9th Circuit, Howe, U S Court of Appeals, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Kagan, Jeremy Wong, Emergency appeals and applications


Ford v. Montana: Supreme Court on the Scope of Personal Jurisdiction

Note – this is a civil procedure case that I’ve been following. Many lawyers will be interested, even if not directly related to intellectual property. Dennis Crouch Ford Motor Co. v. Montana 8th Judicial District (Supreme Court 2021) Markkaya Gullett was killed in a Ford Explorer crash near her home in Montana.  Gullett’s estate sued Ford on a product liability type claims.  Ford argued that the state lacks personal jurisdiction over the global auto company.  The Supreme Court has sided with Gu...
Tags: Minnesota, Supreme Court, Law, California, Montana, Ford, Patent, Bms, Thomas, Ford Motor Co, The Supreme Court, Roberts, Bristol Myers Squibb Co, Alito, Daimler AG, Kagan


Lots of statements about cert denials in criminal cases on latest SCOTUS order list

The big news this morning from the new Supreme Court order list was the Justices' decision to grant cert to reconsider the reversal of the death sentence for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.  But also of interest to criminal justice fans are three additional cases in which SCOTUS denied cert, but a few justices issues a statement about the issues in the case.  One of these cases Longoria v. United States, No. 20-5715, involves a guideline issue that I am eager to discuss in a separate f...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Scotus, Court, Georgia, United States, Boston Marathon, Smith, Presley, Minnesota Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, Sotomayor, Kagan, Lumpkin, Byron Smith


Litigation over clergy halts Alabama execution (and divides Justices in notable ways)

Though the federal government carried out the first three execution of 2021 last month, the first state execution in the US was scheduled to take place last night in Alabama.  But, as this local article explains, today "Willie B. Smith III remains alive on death row in Alabama, after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a ruling that required Smith’s spiritual advisor to be in the execution chamber with Smith when he was given the lethal injection."  Here is more: The ruling came down around 11:08 p.m...
Tags: Texas, Supreme Court, Law, US, Alabama, Npr, Christian, Birmingham, Smith, Sonia Sotomayor, Buddhist, U S Supreme Court, John Roberts, Alabama Department of Corrections, Alito, Barrett


"A splintered Supreme Court on late Friday night partly lifted restrictions on religious services in California that had been prompted by the coronavirus pandemic...."

"With the pandemic raging, in-person worship services were entirely barred in Tier 1, which covers almost all of the state. In a brief, unsigned opinion, the court blocked that total ban but left in place a 25 percent capacity restriction and a prohibition on singing and chanting. Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch said they would have blocked all of the restrictions. Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented, saying they would have left all of the restrict...
Tags: Hollywood, Supreme Court, Law, California, Nevada, State, Elena Kagan, Kagan, Clarence Thomas, Neil M Gorsuch, Samuel A Alito Jr, John G Roberts Jr, Gorsuch, Religion And Government, Ann Althouse, Brett M Kavanaugh


Supreme Court lifts California's ban on indoor worship services but keeps restrictions on limited occupancy

A visitor walks through the Serra Chapel during the reopening of Mission San Juan Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano, CA on Thursday, February 4, 2021. Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images The Supreme Court ruled that California cannot ban indoor worship service.  They can, however, limit capacity to 25% and ban singing and chanting. There were four different opinions given by the Justices on this case.  Visit the Business section of Insider for more storie...
Tags: Politics, New York, Science, Justice, Supreme Court, Law, California, Court, Trends, Cnn, Associated Press, Donald Trump, Chamath Palihapitiya, Trump, Sonia Sotomayor, Barrett


Latest Election Lawsuit Seems Headed Toward The Fires Of Mount Doom — See Also

Even A Trump Judge Thinks This Election Lawsuit Is 'Without Merit': Actually, 'without merit' is pretty much the nicest thing you can say about the lawsuit. Not Used To Reading Indictments: Don't get fooled by the hype. Robinhood Class Action Filed: Only took a matter of hours. DLA Piper Bonuses Are Out: But a disappointment to many. Justice Kagan's Poker Prowess: Revealed on Jeopardy.
Tags: Law, Dla Piper, Don, Kagan, See Also


Argument analysis: Justices sympathetic to FCC in media ownership dispute

The Supreme Court heard oral argument on Tuesday morning in a dispute arising from the Federal Communications Commission’s attempts to deregulate local media ownership. After nearly an hour and a half of debate, the justices seemed inclined to uphold the FCC’s efforts – even if not on the ground that big broadcasters would prefer. FCC v. Prometheus Radio Project and National Association of Broadcasters v. Prometheus Radio Project, which the court consolidated for oral argument, center on the FCC...
Tags: Featured, Fcc, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Federal Communications Commission, Sonia Sotomayor, Stewart, John Roberts, Roberts, Walker, Howe, Deutsch, Barrett, U S Court of Appeals, Sotomayor


Court allows execution of Corey Johnson to proceed after COVID-19 diagnosis

The justices on Thursday night denied two last-minute appeals by Corey Johnson, who sought to postpone his execution so that he could recover from COVID-19, which he contracted in prison after spending most of his life on death row. Johnson also argued that he was ineligible for the death penalty on the basis of intellectual disability and that he should have been allowed to seek a sentencing reduction under a 2018 prison-reform law. In rejecting his appeals, the court cleared the final obstacle...
Tags: Featured, Maryland, Supreme Court, Law, Virginia, Indiana, Department Of Justice, Johnson, Donald Trump, Richmond, Trump, Higgs, D C Circuit, Sotomayor, Breyer, Elena Kagan


Reversing several lower courts, justices allow execution of Lisa Montgomery

The Supreme Court on Tuesday night cleared the way for the execution of Lisa Montgomery, the first woman to be executed by the federal government in 68 years. Montgomery was convicted in 2008 of strangling Bobbie Jo Stinnett, a Missouri woman who was eight months pregnant, and extracting the premature baby to pass off as her own child. In a series of brief, unsigned orders, the Supreme Court reversed a pair of rulings from federal appeals courts that had put Montgomery’s execution on hold, and i...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Joe Biden, Indiana, Missouri, Department Of Justice, Justice Department, Montgomery, Trump, Federal Bureau of Prisons, D C Circuit, U S Court of Appeals, Elena Kagan, Kagan, 7th Circuit


Argument analysis: Justices weigh mootness after change in government policy in cases seeking nominal damages

The Supreme Court heard oral argument on Tuesday in the case of a Georgia student who was stopped from handing out religious literature and speaking about his faith on the campus of his public college. The student, Chike Uzuegbunam, argued that the college’s policies violated the First Amendment, but shortly after the lawsuit was filed the college changed its policies to allow students to generally speak anywhere on campus without a permit. The question before the court on Tuesday in Uzuegbunam ...
Tags: New York, Featured, Taylor Swift, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, New York City, Atlanta, Georgia, Bradford, Swift, Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Roberts, Howe


Argument analysis: A complex question of immigration bond

The Supreme Court heard argument on Monday by telephone in Pham v. Guzman Chavez, which raises a complex question about bond for migrants in removal proceedings. The justices asked hard questions of both sides. Paul Hughes, counsel for respondents, phones in to argue with a view of Union Station in the background (Art Lien) The case involves migrants with “reinstated” removal orders, meaning they were previously deported, subsequently returned to the U.S., and now have pending claims for the “...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, United States, Davis, Department Of Homeland Security, John Roberts, Hughes, Alito, Barrett, Stephen Breyer, Breyer, Elena Kagan, Kagan, Samuel Alito



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