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Empirical SCOTUS: If Ginsburg leaves, it could be the liberals’ biggest loss yet – A look back at previous justices replaced with more conservative successors

The saga over Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s health seems to ebb and flow from the headlines almost daily. Part of the mystery relates to the amount of information shared with the public. We know that, while treating Ginsburg for rib fractures, doctors found malignant lesions in her lungs that were promptly removed, and that subsequent tests have shown no evidence of any other cancer. Ginsburg has since missed oral arguments and is reportedly recovering at home while keeping current with the cour...
Tags: Health, Supreme Court, Law, Obama, Planned Parenthood, Washington Post, Kentucky, White House, Politico, Barack Obama, Indiana, Austin, United States, Kansas, Donald Trump, Ruth Bader Ginsburg


Reargument analysis: Justices seek a “middle position” in takings litigation case

During yesterday’s argument in Knick v. Township of Scott – the second time the court has heard the case this term – the justices seemed to be looking for a compromise position. The court granted review in the case to decide whether to overrule a 1985 precedent, Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank, which requires local-government takings plaintiffs to follow the state’s compensation procedures before alleging a taking in federal court. Williamson County is controversi...
Tags: Featured, Law, Congress, San Francisco, Pennsylvania, United States, Francisco, Sachs, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Breyer, Elena Kagan


Morning Docket: 01.17.19

* Jay-Z pointed out that it's nearly impossible to find a diverse arbitrator and Blank Rome says the claim that white arbitrators may be biased against minorities, "dubious, indeed offensive" and "contravenes every published authority on the matter." Every published authority? Bold. [American Lawyer] * Law professor notes that legal technology is going to kill off junior lawyers, which is something I've been saying for years now. [Legal Cheek] * Big 4's coming yo! (Hong Kong edition) [Internat...
Tags: Hong Kong, Supreme Court, Law, Jay-z, Epa, Donald Trump, Courthouse News Service, Trump, Ny Times, Kavanaugh, Blank Rome, Morning Docket, Brett Kavanaugh, Big 4


Argument analysis: Justices weigh text and history of 21st Amendment in challenge to state residency requirement for liquor licenses

Ratified in 1933, the 21st Amendment ended Prohibition – which (fun fact!) was established by the 18th Amendment, ratified 100 years ago today. It also gave states broad power to regulate alcoholic beverages. At today’s oral argument in Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Blair, the justices considered exactly how expansive that regulatory power is. In particular, does the 21st Amendment allow Tennessee to impose a two-year residency requirement for anyone who wants a retail lice...
Tags: Amazon, Utah, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Tennessee, Nashville, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Memphis, Wilson, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Phillips, Blair, Howe, Alito


Argument analysis: Justices grapple with notice-and-comment rulemaking for Medicare and beyond

Medicare was before the Supreme Court yesterday in a case that could have significant implications for administrative law. At the granular level, the case, Azar v. Allina Health Services, concerns whether the Department of Health and Human Services was permitted to change, without notice and comment, an important reimbursement formula for hospitals that treat many low-income patients. That question alone determines the fate of $3 to $4 billion. But the stakes are higher because the case requires...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Medicare, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, National Labor Relations Board, Shah, Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, APA, HHS, D C Circuit, Department of Health and Human Services, Sotomayor, Bowen


Opinion analysis: Justices uphold arbitration exemption for transportation workers in rare victory for arbitration opponents

Arbitration month at the Supreme Court continued this morning with the unanimous decision in New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira – following by a single week the unanimous decision in Henry Schein v. Archer & White Sales. New Prime, though, is anything but business as usual: Justice Neil Gorsuch’s opinion for a unanimous court rejects a claim for arbitration for the first time in a string of more than a dozen of the Supreme Court’s cases stretching back more than a decade. Indeed, I doubt the court has r...
Tags: Featured, Supreme `` Court, Law, Congress, United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Thomas, Henry Schein, John Roberts, Ginsburg, Kavanaugh, INS, Oliveira, Gorsuch, Merits Cases, Chadha


Argument analysis: When is the government not really the government for immunity from tort liability?

In Thacker v. Tennessee Valley Authority, the government contends (and the lower courts agreed) that the TVA should be immune from tort liability to shield executive policy-making, even when the TVA is engaged in arguably commercial activity. The petitioner, Gary Thacker, argues that an entirely different analysis applies to the TVA, which Congress has made broadly subject to suit without expressly preserving policy immunity. Ann O’Connell Adams, assistant to the U.S. solicitor general (Art Li...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, United States, Adams, Sonia Sotomayor, TVA, John Roberts, Roberts, Alito, Rouse, Tennessee River, Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Breyer


Via distinctive 5-4 vote, SCOTUS concludes Florida robbery satisfies "physical force" requirement as Armed Career Criminal Act predicate

In this post last year, I asked "At just what level of Dante's Inferno does modern ACCA jurisprudence reside?".  This cheeky question flows from the challenges and frustrations that surround trying to figure out which prior convictions do and do not serve as predicates for application of the federal Armed Career Criminal Act's 15-year mandatory minimum term.  And today the Supreme Court added still more color to its modern ACCA jurisprudence by handing down its decision in Stokeling v. US, No. 1...
Tags: Florida, Supreme Court, Law, Scotus, Court, US, United States, Johnson, Dante, Thomas, Sotomayor, Breyer, Kavanaugh, ACCA, Douglas A Berman, Thomas J


Monday round-up

This morning the justices begin the second week of the January sitting with two oral arguments. First up is Thacker v. Tennessee Valley Authority, in which the court will decide whether an implied discretionary function exception bars a negligence claim against the TVA. Gregory Sisk previewed the case for this blog. Ushin Hong and Russell Mendelson have a preview at Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. This morning’s second argument is in Rimini Street Inc. v. Oracle USA Inc., which...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Congress, White House, Court, United States, Wyoming, New York Times, Fox News, Npr, Oklahoma, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Cornell, Hyatt, Round-up, Reuters


Justice Kavanaugh joins Chief and more liberal Justices in GVR of Kentucky capital case

This morning's Supreme Court order list is fairly short and is mostly denials of certiorari. But the last page of the order list should intrigue capital sentencing fans, and it contains an order in White v. Kentucky, No. 17-9467, in which the Court vacated the decision below "and the case is remanded to the Supreme Court of Kentucky for further consideration in light of Moore v. Texas, 581 U. S. ___ (2017)." This GVR is made extra interesting because Justice Alito issued this short dissent, whic...
Tags: Texas, Supreme Court, Law, Kentucky, Court, Indiana, Kennedy, Cooper, Webster, Scalia, Moore, Alito, Kavanaugh, Kaushal, Gorsuch, Douglas A Berman


WIRTW #537 (the “Roma” edition)

We are contemplating spending Spring Break in Rome. For those who've been, what's you best tip for first-time visitors? Sights not to be missed? Things that are off the beaten path? Where to stay? Best pizza? Best gelato? Drop a note in the comments below and let me know your Rome tips. Here's what I read this week: Discrimination Google sued for allegedly covering up sexual misconduct allegations — via Engadget  Boys and Thrones and Sexual Harassment — via HR Examiner with John Sumser Liti...
Tags: Google, Law, Rome, Ada, Omega, ERC, McConnell, Troutman Sanders, NLRA, Eric Meyer, Kavanaugh, Spring Break, GrubHub, FLSA, Jon Hyman, Suzanne Lucas


Friday round-up

Briefly: Joan Biskupic reports at CNN that “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s cancer surgery and ongoing recuperation have cast an atmosphere of uncertainty over the Supreme Court at a critical time for its future and as the legal fate of several controversial White House policies hang in the balance.” At the Goldwater Institute’s In Defense of Liberty blog, Jacob Huebert urges the justices to hear a challenge to an Illinois campaign-finance law and to “and make clear that governments cannot use co...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, White House, Cnn, Illinois, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Round-up, Adam Feldman, Heritage Foundation, Kavanaugh, Brunetti, Goldwater Institute, Joan Biskupic, Iancu, RBG, Elizabeth Slattery


Empirical SCOTUS: Which Supreme Court cases are generating the most interest?

This Supreme Court term, like the past several before it, has been slow out of the gates. It also marks another term with a new justice – this time Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The justices often find consensus both early on in a term and after a largescale change, defining or redefining their jurisprudential boundaries only later. The justices have released five decisions in argued cases so far, all of them free even from concurrences. This is a new high count for unanimous decisions without a conc...
Tags: Google, Supreme Court, Law, Alabama, Indiana, Pepper, United States, New York Times, Madison, Apple Inc, Hyatt, American Legion, Frank, John Roberts, Murphy, Weyerhaeuser


Thursday round-up

Richard Re has this blog’s analysis of yesterday’s argument in Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, in which the justices considered whether to overrule a precedent that allows a state to be sued in the courts of another state without its consent. Mark Walsh provides a first-hand view of the argument for this blog. For The Washington Post, Robert Barnes reports that during the argument, “two of the court’s most experienced practitioners recounted the founding of the union and the framing ...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Indiana, Wyoming, Tennessee, The Washington Post, Hyatt, Round-up, Robert Barnes, Blair, Adam Liptak, Jess Bravin, Brent Kendall, Henry Schein Inc, Mark Walsh, Jessica Mason Pieklo


Argument analysis: The familiar yet fresh debate in Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt

Federal courts aficionados have been looking forward to the oral argument in Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, and the event did not disappoint. The question was whether to overrule the decades-old precedent Nevada v. Hall, which held that states lack sovereign immunity in one another’s courts. The argument largely broke down according to familiar ideological lines, but the discussion still had verve and creativity, in part thanks to the performances of veteran advocates Seth Waxman an...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, California, Nevada, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Hall, Hyatt, Sachs, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Waxman, Alito, William Rehnquist, Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer


A “view” from the courtroom: Comity Central

This term of the court has had plenty of arguably boring cases on statutory interpretation, pre-emption and procedure. But every now and then a low-key case comes along that results in an argument amounting to a heady constitutional seminar. Today’s lone case for argument, Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, will be one of those. Seth P. Waxman for petitioner (Art Lien) When the court takes the bench, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is again absent as she recuperates from her recent lu...
Tags: New York, Featured, Maryland, Supreme Court, Law, California, Georgia, United States, Hawaii, Social Security, Broadway, Nevada, University Of California Berkeley, Social Security Administration, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Hall


Argument analysis: Searching for the least unnatural reading

The second argument on Monday was in Obduskey v. McCarthy Holthus LLP, a case about whether law firms that handle nonjudicial foreclosures are “debt collectors” within the meaning of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If the argument clarified anything, it’s that the FDCPA is a messy statute. This case arises from a crowded corner of consumer law involving significant state and federal regulations that do not always play well together. Colorado foreclosure law requires a firm initiating a n...
Tags: Featured, Law, Congress, Colorado, United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Bond, Mccarthy, Wells Fargo, Fdcpa, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Breyer, Elena Kagan


Argument analysis: Justices wade deep into the copyright weeds

Tuesday’s argument in Fourth Estate v. Wall-Street.com featured competing interpretations of the phrase “registration of the copyright claim has been made” in 17 U.S.C.§ 411(a), which requires copyright registration as a prerequisite for filing an infringement suit. Because much of the argument focused on niceties of textual interpretation, I’ll quote the language of the relevant subsection: [N]o civil action for infringement of the copyright in any United States work shall be instituted until p...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Copyright Office, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Ellis, U S Court of Appeals, Elena Kagan, Kagan, Kavanaugh, 11th Circuit, Fourth Estate


Opinion analysis: Kavanaugh’s first opinion rejects vague exception limiting enforcement of arbitration agreements

The justices’ first opinion day of 2019 brought the first opinion from Justice Brett Kavanaugh, writing for a unanimous court in Henry Schein Inc. v. Archer & White Sales Inc. The case is the most recent in a decade-long string of opinions under the Federal Arbitration Act, in which the Supreme Court consistently has reversed lower-court decisions refusing to enforce arbitration agreements. Many of those cases have been decided by narrow 5-4 majorities, which has raised the possibility that the ...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Henry Schein, The Supreme Court, Henry Schein Inc, Anthony Kennedy, Kavanaugh, Varela, Oliveira, Merits Cases, Lamps Plus, Brett Kavanaugh, New Prime Inc, Archer White Sales Inc, Kennedy Supreme Court


Morning Docket: 01.09.19

* In case you missed President Trump's wall speech, he stopped short of declaring a national emergency at the border (lost that bet), instead referring to the situation as a "growing humanitarian crisis" -- a "manufactured" one, per Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. [USA Today] * Remember the contempt order against a state-owned foreign corporation that Chief Justice Roberts stayed in the Mueller probe? The Supreme Court restored it, and that company filed for cert under seal. Suspense! [Na...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Government, Senate, Marijuana, Usa Today, Donald Trump, Abc News, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Government Shutdown, Law Schools, Biglaw, Health & Wellness, Trump, Hill, Roberts


Wednesday round-up

The justices wrap up the first week of the January session today with one oral argument, in Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, in which the court will consider whether to overrule a precedent that allows a state to be sued in the courts of another state without its consent. Richard Re previewed the case for this blog. Clotilde Le Roy and Jarrett Field have a preview at Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. In his first Supreme Court opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote for...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Washington Post, Washington, Court, America, Bloomberg, Cnn, New York Times, New Orleans, Fox News, Republican, Economist, Hyatt, Trump, Round-up


Argument preview: Requiring notice and comment under the Medicare statute

The intricacies of the Medicare program will be on display at the Supreme Court next week, in a case challenging a major Department of Health and Human Services payment determination issued without notice-and-comment procedures. The case has administrative law mavens tuned in as well, as it may have broader implications for the still unresolved but critical question of when agencies in general may act without such procedures. Medicare, the massive federal health insurance program for the elder...
Tags: Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Barack Obama, Cms, United States, Medicare, Department Of Homeland Security, APA, HHS, D C Circuit, Department of Health and Human Services, Kavanaugh, Sebelius


Purported SCOTUS originalists and liberals, showing yet again that they are faint-hearted, refuse to consider extending jury trial rights to restitution punishments

I noted in this post the array of per curiam rulings and statements that the Supreme Court released today to get 2019 off to an interesting criminal justice start.  Regular readers will not be surprised to learn that one particular decision, namely the decision to deny certiorari in Hester v. US, has me revved up.  Hester involves a claim that the Sixth Amendment jury trial right recognized in Apprendi, Blakely, Booker and Southern Union is applicable to cases in which findings are essential for...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Washington, US, America, United States, Smith, Kennedy, Jones, Commonwealth, Thomas, Henry Viii, State, Somerville, Roberts, Ginsburg


What the Fu** — Supreme Court agrees to hear Brunetti Trademark Dispute

by Dennis Crouch Erik Brunetti’s “FUCT” line of apparel doesn’t have much appeal to my sense of style, but the clothing certainly seem to make a statement.  The USPTO refused to grant Brunetti’s application to register the mark — finding that the mark “comprises immoral * * * or scandalous matter” and thus cannot be registered under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act. On appeal, the Federal Circuit sided with Brunetti — holding the statute unconstitutional as contrary to the Free Speech provision ...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Uspto, Patent, Kennedy, Tam, Kavanaugh, Federal Circuit, Brunetti, Fu, Gorsuch, Matal, Dennis Crouch Erik Brunetti, Government Since Tam the Supreme Court


Supreme Court to tackle partisan gerrymandering again

Less than six months after sidestepping a ruling on partisan gerrymandering, the justices announced this afternoon that they will once again wade into the thorny issue of when (if ever) state officials violate the Constitution by drawing district lines to favor one political party at another’s expense, this time in cases from North Carolina and Maryland. With the retirement last summer of Justice Anthony Kennedy and his replacement by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the more conservative court could be...
Tags: Featured, Maryland, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Pennsylvania, United States, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Antonin Scalia, Howe, William Rehnquist, Stephen Breyer, Gill, Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy


Argument preview: Immunity, precedent and federalism in Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt

Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt is the federal courts case that keeps on giving. It is a SCOTUS “threepeater,” having now reached the justices on three separate occasions. It raises a rich sovereign immunity issue — namely, whether states should enjoy immunity in one another’s courts. And it also asks the Supreme Court to overrule a precedent, Nevada v. Hall, that at least four justices were recently prepared to throw overboard. Whether new Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh f...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, California, United States, Maine, Nevada, Hall, Kennedy, Hyatt, Sachs, Antonin Scalia, U S Supreme Court, Alden, William Rehnquist


Empirical SCOTUS: 365 days of Trump and the Supreme Court

How better to wrap up the calendar year than by examining the president’s take on his relationship with the Supreme Court – especially because the court was one of President Donald Trump’s favorite topics of discussion this past year? These references ranged from the specific to the general and from praise to criticism. Many of the tropes are likely familiar. There was commentary on the Supreme Court vacancy after Justice Anthony Kennedy retired, more about Justice Brett Kavanaugh during the con...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Washington, America, Fox, South Dakota, Hawaii, Manhattan, Donald Trump, Chattanooga, Trump, Arlington National Cemetery, Brett, Houston Texas, United States Supreme Court, Anthony Kennedy


Constitutional law roundup

Kansas Supreme Court rules 4-3 that cops can conduct warrantless search of private homes if they say they smell marijuana. Practical difference between this and “…whenever they please” is not clear [Tim Carpenter, Topeka Capital-Journal] At Timbs v. Indiana oral argument, Court seems sympathetic to idea of applying Excessive Fines clause to the states [Robby Soave, Jacob Sullum, Ilya Somin, earlier here, here, and here] Notwithstanding Justice Gorsuch and Kavanaugh’s interjections, there is...
Tags: New York, Guns, Supreme Court, Law, Uncategorized, America, Indiana, New Hampshire, Kansas, Constitutional Law, Fourth Amendment, Kansas Supreme Court, Whitaker, Cato, Cato Institute, Arizona Supreme Court


Justices rebuff government on asylum ban

Last week the federal government went to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to block a ruling by a federal judge that bars the Trump administration from denying asylum to immigrants who enter the United States illegally from Mexico. Today the justices turned down the government’s request, which means that the government will not be able to enforce its new policy on asylum while the government appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and, if it comes to that, the Supreme Court...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Obama, Congress, Mexico, White House, Reagan, United States, Department Of Justice, Donald Trump, Clinton, Trump, Bush, John Roberts, 9th Circuit


Are We Feeling Festive Yet? — See Also

THE KAVANAUGH MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE CONTINUES: All 83 ethics complaints against him have been dismissed. THIS PODCAST IS HOT: Just trust us. HOLIDAY PARTY STRESS: Office politics makes the eggnog spicy. YOU MUST RESPECT CARLTON: If you are going to use the Carlton Dance. VOTE IN OUR HOLIDAY CARD CONTEST: There are some great entries this year.
Tags: Law, Kavanaugh, See Also



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