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Argument analysis: Spinning heads and swimming constitutional rights in debates over an accrual rule

McDonough v. Smith, argued Wednesday, saw justices and attorneys repeating metaphors about heads spinning and constitutional rights swimming. The justices seemed inclined to rule for the petitioner (supported by the United States) that his claim was timely and that the limitations period on a civil action should not begin until favorable termination of criminal proceedings. But the likely scope of the ruling remains uncertain. Respondent Youel Smith prosecuted petitioner Edward McDonough, a form...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, United States, Smith, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Wall, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Roberts, Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Kagan, McDonough, Samuel Alito, Kavanaugh


Argument analysis: “The last Johnson domino to fall”?

Today the Supreme Court considered “the last Johnson domino to fall” (at least potentially). The case, United States v. Davis, involves the possible implications of the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Johnson v. United States. Johnson invalidated the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act, a statute that imposes additional punishment on persons with multiple prior convictions for “violent felonies.” Johnson held that the now-defunct residual clause of the ACCA, which defined a viol...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Beck, United States, Davis, Johnson, Blackstone, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, Breyer, Elena Kagan


Lawyers, guns and vagueness: how will SCOTUS look to get out of this Johnson mess?

With apologies to the late great Warren Zevon, I cannot help but riff on the all-time greatest song with lawyers as the first word of its title as I think about the Supreme Court's scheduled oral argument this morning in United States v. Davis.  Over at SCOTUSblog, Leah Litman has this extended preview of the argument under the title "Who’s afraid of the categorical approach?," and it provides some context for my pop-culture reference:  Davis is the latest in a string of cases stemming from Joh...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, United States, Davis, Johnson, Roberts, Alito, Warren Zevon, Anthony Kennedy, Kavanaugh, Davis Davis, ACCA, Gorsuch, Douglas A Berman, Dimaya, Bloomberg Law


Argument analysis: Justices grapple with immoral and scandalous trademarks

On Monday, the Supreme Court considered the intersection of free speech and trademark law when it addressed the constitutionality of prohibiting trademark registration for offensive trademarks. This case arose in the aftermath of Matal v. Tam. In Tam, the court struck down the Lanham Act’s prohibition on registration of disparaging trademarks, holding that the ban constituted viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment. The question before the court on Monday was whether the pro...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, California, George Carlin, Miller, Times Square, Tam, Sonia Sotomayor, Stewart, John Roberts, Roberts, Alito, PTO, U S Patent and Trademark Office


Fooey on the Draft

Iancu v. Brunetti (Supreme Court 2019) [Oral Arg Transcript] In this case, the Federal Circuit held that the prohibition on registering “immoral” or “scandalous” marks is a facial violation of a registrant’s First Amendment free speech rights.  Here, Brunetti is seeking to register the mark “FUCT,” which the solicitor identified as a close homonym of “the paradigmatic word of profanity in our language.” Oral arguments were held on April 15 before the nine Supreme Court justices. In the case bef...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, California, Uspto, Patent, Tam, Cohen, Coast Guard, Roberts, Ginsburg, Alito, PTO, Sotomayor, Breyer, Sommer, Kavanaugh


Ask the author: “Mr. Everything” – Joan Biskupic on Chief Justice John Roberts

The following is a series of questions posed by Ronald Collins to Joan Biskupic about Biskupic’s book “The Chief: The Life and Turbulent Times of Chief Justice John Roberts” (Basic Books, 2019, 432 pp., cloth: $32.00). Joan Biskupic is a legal analyst at CNN and the author of three previous biographies of Supreme Court justices. She has also served as the Supreme Court correspondent for The Washington Post and USA Today. Welcome Joan, and thank you for taking the time to participate in this qu...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Washington Post, Boston, Court, Book Reviews, America, Barack Obama, Reagan, Cnn, Harvard, Citizens United, Arizona, Republican, Usa Today


Justice Kavanaugh Strangely Hostile To Disenfranchisement … Of Republicans

Is it actually possible that Kavanaugh would vote to overturn partisan gerrymandering? Nah.
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Courts, Gerrymandering, Kavanaugh, Elizabeth Dye, Lamone v. Benisek


Empirical SCOTUS: Is Kavanaugh as conservative as expected?

On Monday, April 1, 2019, the Supreme Court decided the case Bucklew v. Precythe, with the five conservative justices in the majority and the four liberals in dissent. To some, including legal scholar and CNN analyst Steve Vladeck, this ruling ushered in a new conservative court without the moderating anchor of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Going even further, Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern referred to the decision as “beyond appalling,” while Think Progress’ Ian Millhiser described it as “the most bloodt...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Cnn, United States, Davis, Nielsen, Smith, Donald Trump, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Delaware, Kennedy, Sanders, Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts


Following SCOTUS ruling requiring equal access, Texas bans all religious officials from execution chamber

As reported in this local article, "Texas has banned all prison chaplains from its execution chamber, days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state was violating an inmate's rights by not allowing a Buddhist chaplain into the death chamber with him."  Here is more: The high court last week halted the execution of Patrick Murphy, a member of the infamous "Texas Seven," because the department did not allow him to have a Buddhist chaplain in the room with him at the time of his scheduled ...
Tags: Texas, Law, Alabama, Buddhist, U S Supreme Court, Murphy, Patrick Murphy, Kavanaugh, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, TDCJ, Douglas A Berman, Brett Kavanaugh, Jeremy Desel


News From A Country Puerto Rico Is A Part Of — See Also

MENTAL HEALTH AT HLS: Flyers are popping up about the issue around campus. TED CRUZ HAS A POINT: Now I need to go shower. MORE TRUMP INDICTMENTS? Some think they are still coming. STUDENTS AGAINST KAVANAUGH: Not everybody wants him teaching at their school. OUR TRUE CRIME ELITE EIGHT: My pick is still alive.
Tags: Law, Ted Cruz, Puerto Rico, Kavanaugh, See Also


Opinion analysis: Divided court rejects lethal-injection challenge by inmate with rare medical condition

Today the Supreme Court rejected a claim by a death-row inmate that executing him by lethal injection would violate the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment because of the likelihood that he could wind up choking on his own blood. By a vote of 5-4, the court cleared the way for Russell Bucklew’s execution, in an opinion that at times revealed bitter divides among the justices. The case was not a broad challenge to the use of lethal injection as a method of execution for all prisone...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Alabama, Missouri, Muslim, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kennedy, Sonia Sotomayor, Howe, Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy


Splitting 5-4 along traditional ideological lines, SCOTUS rejects Missouri inmate's challenge to lethal injection protocol

The Supreme Court this morning handed down its opinion in an execution protocol case, Bucklew v. Precythe, No. 17-8151 (S. Ct. April 1, 2019) (available here).  The Court split 5-4 in favor of the state of Missouri, and here is how Justice Gorsuch's opinion for the Court gets started: Russell Bucklew concedes that the State of Missouri lawfully convicted him of murder and a variety of other crimes.  He acknowledges that the U.S. Constitution permits a sentence of execution for his crimes.  He a...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Court, Missouri, Thomas, State, Sotomayor, Breyer, Kavanaugh, Bucklew, Eighth Circuit, Gorsuch, Douglas A Berman, State of Missouri, Russell Bucklew


Student SCOTUS preview part three: mapping out likely votes after oral argument in US v. Haymond

I noted here back in 2017 an interesting opinion in US v. Haymond where a Tenth Circuit panel declared unconstitutional the procedures used for revocation of a sex offender's supervised release.  The Supreme Court also found the case interesting because, as reported here, the Justices in 2018 accepted the petition for certiorari filed by the federal government.  The SCOTUSblog page on Haymond has links to all the briefing. As reported in this prior post, I have a great student, Jim McGibbon, who...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Washington, Oregon, Court, US, United States, New Jersey, Thomas, Jim, Ginsburg, Blakely, Sotomayor, Kagan, Kavanaugh, Amy Howe


Supreme Court intervenes in execution of Buddhist prisoner

Last month the Supreme Court cleared the way for Alabama to execute a Muslim inmate after denying the inmate’s request to have an imam at his side in the execution chamber, even though the prison would have allowed a Christian chaplain to be present in the chamber. But tonight the justices blocked the state of Texas from executing a Buddhist prisoner, Patrick Murphy, while Murphy files a petition for review of his case on the merits, unless the state allows either Murphy’s spiritual advisor or a...
Tags: Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Alabama, Christian, Buddhist, Murphy, Clarence Thomas, Patrick Murphy, Kavanaugh, What's Happening Now, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch


SCOTUS stays Texas execution because condemned was denied Buddhist spiritual advisor in execution chamber

As reported in this local article, "hours after he was to be executed for his role in a notorious 19-year-old crime, Texas death row prisoner Patrick Murphy won a rare stay from the U.S. Supreme Court based on his request to have a Buddhist spiritual adviser next to him in the death chamber."  Here is more: The condemned man, one of the last surviving members of the so-called 'Texas 7' crew of prison escapees, lobbed a long-shot bid for reprieve earlier this week when his attorneys raised relig...
Tags: Texas, Supreme Court, Law, Christian, Houston, State, Buddhist, U S Supreme Court, Murphy, Alito, Clarence Thomas, Patrick Murphy, Kavanaugh, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Douglas A Berman, David Dow


Morning Docket: 03.28.19

* Judge rules that groping is not sexual harassment because twerking exists. This is going to shock you, but the opinion wasn't written by either Kavanaugh or Thomas. [Legal Cheek] * Where will the Mueller team go now that their work is done? I just want Mueller to stare directly into a camera and say, "I'm going to Disneyworld." [National Law Journal] * More Biglaw firms joining the Varsity Blues case. [American Lawyer] * Jimmy Kimmel doesn't believe Gonzaga exists outside of a basketball te...
Tags: Jimmy Kimmel, Law, Vanity Fair, Biglaw, Disneyworld, Gonzaga, Thomas, Cohen, Ivanka, Mueller, Kavanaugh, Robert Mueller, Morning Docket, Bob Kraft, Abbe Lowell, Gonzaga University School of Law


Argument analysis: Justices divided on agency deference doctrine

The Supreme Court heard oral argument this morning in a dispute over veterans’ benefits that could become one of the most significant cases of the term. Although the case arose when the Department of Veterans Affairs refused to give James Kisor, who served as a Marine during the Vietnam War, benefits for his post-traumatic-stress disorder dating back to 1983, it has morphed into something much bigger. Kisor and his lawyers have asked the justices to overrule a doctrine that Chief Justice John Ro...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Court, Marine, Va, Fda, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Francisco, Chamber of Commerce, Robbins, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Hughes, Howe


Argument analysis: Justices navigating between different precedential paths on punitive damages for maritime personal injury

The Supreme Court heard oral argument yesterday in The Dutra Group v. Batterton, a maritime case that asks whether a Jones Act seaman can recover punitive damages in a personal-injury suit based on the unseaworthiness of a vessel on which he was working. Seven of the justices questioned one or both attorneys but, with a few exceptions, did not clearly signal a likely inclination. The argument did suggest that some division is likely. Not only does the issue involve a split among various circuit ...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Oregon, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Miles, Sonia Sotomayor, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Roberts, Townsend, Ginsburg, Waxman, Alito, Sotomayor


Argument analysis: Justices divided and hard to read on partisan gerrymandering

Today the Supreme Court heard oral argument in a pair of cases that could prove to be among the most consequential of the term. The cases involve allegations that state officials engaged in unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering – that is, they went too far in taking politics into account – when they drew election maps in North Carolina and Maryland. After over two hours of debate this morning, there were clear divides among some of the justices, but it was much less clear how the court is lik...
Tags: Featured, Maryland, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Court, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Republican, North Carolina, Paul Clement, Steven, John Roberts, Roberts, Howe, Sullivan


Argument analysis: Justices seem receptive to inmate’s juror-discrimination claims

The Supreme Court heard oral argument yesterday in the case of an African-American death-row inmate in Mississippi who was convicted by a jury that included just one African-American juror. The inmate, Curtis Flowers, argues that the jury selection in his case violates the Constitution – especially because the lead prosecutor had a long history of eliminating potential African-American jurors from the jury pool. After nearly an hour of oral argument that included the first questions by Justice C...
Tags: Featured, Mississippi, Supreme Court, Law, Kentucky, Davis, Evans, Johnson, Flowers, John Roberts, Roberts, Howe, Alito, Mississippi Supreme Court, Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer


Opinion analysis: Washington state motor-fuel tax violates Yakama Treaty

With a three-justice plurality opinion, a two-justice concurrence in the judgment and two dissents, Washington State Department of Licensing v. Cougar Den appears unusually fractured at first glance. But the disagreements among seven of the justices are relatively small, turning largely on whether and why Washington’s motor-fuel tax really burdens the Yakama treaty right to travel. Only the dissent by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, indicates a fundamental disagreemen...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Washington, United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Thomas, State, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Roberts, Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Breyer, Elena Kagan, Clarence Thomas


Opinion analysis: Justices uphold broad interpretation of immigration detention provision

In Nielsen v. Preap, four justices joined Justice Samuel Alito yesterday to adopt an expansive interpretation of a mandatory-immigration-detention statute. In Demore v. Kim, in 2003, the Supreme Court interpreted 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c) to require detention (without bond hearings) for the broad class of potentially removable immigrants identified in the statute. With their decision in Nielsen v. Preap, the Supreme Court further broadened this mandatory-detention provision to cover immigrants who, res...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Dhs, Kim, Nielsen, Department Of Homeland Security, Thomas, John Roberts, Roberts, Alito, Stephen Breyer, Breyer, Elena Kagan, Samuel Alito


Argument analysis: Justices grapple with meaning of final decision made after a hearing

In Monday’s oral argument in Smith v. Berryhill, the justices confronted a split among the courts of appeals as to whether an SSI disability claimant can obtain judicial review of the Social Security Appeals Council’s dismissal of his appeal as untimely under 42 U.S.C. sec. 405(g). Section 405(g) provides that “[a]ny individual, after any final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security made after a hearing to which he was a party, … may obtain review of such decision by a civil action.” ...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Social Security, Commission, Smith, Social Security Administration, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Roberts, Ginsburg, U S Court of Appeals, Sotomayor, Kimberly


Opinion analysis: Justices affirm maritime liability for manufacturers of asbestos-dependent equipment

This morning’s 6-3 opinion in Air and Liquid Systems Corp. v. DeVries affirms the decision of the lower court holding that the manufacturers of asbestos-dependent equipment used on Navy ships can be held liable to sailors who became ill because of their contact with the asbestos. Because the case involves liability for conduct at sea, the dispute arises under the “maritime law,” a type of federal common law for which the U.S. Supreme Court is the final authority. In the same way that the New Yor...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Navy, U S Supreme Court, U S Navy, Samuel Alito, Kavanaugh, New York Court of Appeals, Goldstein Russell, Merits Cases, Devries, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Air and Liquid Systems Corp, Justices Clarence Thomas


Argument analysis: Justices divided in Virginia racial-gerrymandering case

The Supreme Court heard oral argument today in a challenge to the map drawn in 2011 for Virginia’s House of Delegates. A group of African-American voters allege that the state legislature engaged in racial gerrymandering – that is, it relied too much on race when it drew 11 of the state’s districts, which would violate the Constitution. But the state legislators defending the map argue that, although race was one of the factors that the legislature considered, it wasn’t the only one. After rough...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Virginia, House, Norfolk, Republican, Paul Clement, Democratic, Sonia Sotomayor, House of Delegates, Roberts, Howe, Alito, Virginia Supreme Court, Sotomayor


SCOTUS Map: February and March 2019

At a February 1 Hastings Law Journal symposium honoring retired Justice Anthony Kennedy’s 43 years as a federal judge, Kennedy bemoaned what he sees as the lack of “rational, enlightening dialogue” and the dissipation of the “social framework of decency.” Of the Supreme Court’s two newest justices (and former Kennedy clerks), Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, Kennedy had only ringing endorsements: “[Gorsuch is] going to be a wonderful judge, just like Brett.” The San Francisco Chronic...
Tags: New York, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, California, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Kennedy, Sonia Sotomayor, Brown, John Roberts, Board of Education, Brett, Roberts, San Francisco Chronicle, Ginsburg


Symposium: The “intensely factual” question of physicians’ admitting privileges

Robin Fretwell Wilson is the Roger & Stephany Joslin Professor of Law and Director of the Epstein Health Law & Policy Program at the University of Illinois College of Law. Last month I lost someone close to me after an infection that began as double pneumonia ravaged her body. In the space of a day, a mother of nine in the prime of her life slipped away. It was so improbable. So permanent. And if that loss was not tragedy enough, the husband she left behind contracted MRSA, an antibiotic-resista...
Tags: Health, Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Cdc, America, Catholic, Louisiana, DOE, Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, U S Court of Appeals, Kavanaugh, Hellerstedt, 5th Circuit, Louisiana Texas


Symposium: June Medical should be summarily reversed

Jonathan B. Miller is Chief of the Public Protection & Advocacy Bureau in the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the Massachusetts Attorney General or the Office. June Medical Services, LLC v. Gee potentially presents an opportunity for the newest lineup of the Supreme Court, including Justice Brett Kavanaugh, to revisit constitutional protection of abortion. In a move that surprised many, the justices stayed the U.S. ...
Tags: Health, Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Massachusetts, Citizens United, Medicare, Louisiana, Trump, John Roberts, Centers for Medicare, Medicaid Services, U S Court of Appeals, Federal Election Commission, Bullock


Symposium: In the Louisiana abortion case, maybe the best defense is a good offense

Michael C. Dorf is the Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law at Cornell University. He blogs at  dorfonlaw.org . Chief Justice John Roberts surprised some observers when he joined his four more liberal colleagues to grant a stay of the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in . The stay blocked Louisiana’s law requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. The petitioners argued that the Louisiana law was substantially similar to the Tex...
Tags: Health, Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Senate, Court, Mitch McConnell, Nebraska, Knox, Louisiana, SEIU, Cornell University, Trump, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts


Wednesday round-up

At The Daily Caller, Kevin Daley reports that “Christian baker Jack Phillips and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission … have resolved a legal dispute that set Phillips’ religious beliefs against the state’s public accommodations law”; the settlement “provides that the Commission will close an ongoing anti-discrimination probe of Phillips’s Masterpiece Cakeshop,” the subject of a high-profile Supreme Court case last term, “if Phillips withdraws a federal lawsuit alleging state officials were subj...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Court, America, United States, New Jersey, Commission, North Carolina, Chevron, Economist, American Legion, Round-up, Copyright Office, Mark Joseph Stern, Phillips, International Finance Corporation



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