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Ask the authors: The Supreme Court and the law of and for elites

The following is a series of questions posed by Ronald Collins to Neal Devins and Lawrence Baum on the occasion of the publication of their book “The Company They Keep: How Partisan Divisions Came to the Supreme Court” (Oxford University Press, 2019, 272 pp., cloth: $29.95). Neal Devins is the Sandra Day O’Connor Professor of Law at the College of William and Mary. Lawrence Baum is an emeritus professor of political science at Ohio State University. Welcome, Neal and Lawrence, and thank you fo...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Obama, Congress, White House, Book Reviews, Ronald Reagan, Arizona, William, Republican, Kerry, Donald Trump, Miranda, Fdr, East Bay


Opinion analysis: Justices affirm ruling that secret sales of invention bar later patent

This morning’s decision in Helsinn Healthcare v. Teva Pharmaceuticals, the Supreme Court’s first patent case of the year, breaks no new ground. Justice Clarence Thomas’ opinion for a unanimous court holds that Congress’ 2011 revisions to the Patent Act, however important they might be in some areas, did not displace the long-standing rule that commercial exploitation of a patentable invention “bars” a later patent – even if the inventor manages to sell the patentable item without disclosing the ...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, United States, AIA, Thomas, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Teva, Federal Circuit, U S Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Merits Cases, Leahy Smith America, Helsinn, Art Lien


Justices to review New York gun rights case

In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to have a handgun at home for self-defense. Two years later, the justices made clear that this right also applies against state and local governments. Since then the Supreme Court has repeatedly declined to say anything more about how far states and cities can go in restricting gun rights, but today it granted a plea to weigh in, this time in a case from New York City. The request for review came from the N...
Tags: New York, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Obama, California, Washington, New York City, Defense, United States, Donald Trump, Ash Carter, Kennedy, Trump, Carter, 9th Circuit


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


Argument analysis: Justices have strong views about removal of class actions

Yesterday morning’s argument in Home Depot U.S.A. v. Jackson was a notable one, as Justice Elena Kagan brought a strong view of the case to the bench and proceeded to dominate the argument. The case involves the removal of litigation from state court to federal court. Under Section 1441 (and predecessor provisions dating back to the 18th century), “the defendant or the defendants” generally has a right to remove “any civil action brought in a State court of which the [federal] district courts ha...
Tags: Home Depot, Featured, Law, Congress, Citibank, Jackson, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Breyer, Elena Kagan, Kagan, Samuel Alito, Goldstein Russell


Opinion analysis: Interesting 5-4 coalition holds that the ACCA reaches robberies that require force sufficient to overcome resistance

In the first 5-4 decision of this term (Stokeling v. United States), the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that state robbery statutes that require “resistance … overcome by physical force,” even if the force used is “minimal,” are sufficient to satisfy the prior-conviction requirement of the federal Armed Career Criminal Act. This result was not as surprising as the grouping of the justices. Justice Clarence Thomas’ majority opinion was joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, while Justice Sonia Sotomayo...
Tags: Florida, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, United States, Davis, Johnson, Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Scalia, U S Court of Appeals, Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer


Opinion analysis: Interesting 5-4 coalition holds that the ACCA reaches robberies that require force sufficient to overcome resistance (Corrected)

In the first 5-4 decision of this term (Stokeling v. United States), the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that state robbery statutes that require “resistance … overcome by physical force,” even if the force used is “minimal,” are sufficient to satisfy the prior-conviction requirement of the federal Armed Career Criminal Act. This result was not as surprising as the grouping of the justices. Justice Clarence Thomas’ majority opinion was joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, while Justice Sonia Sotomayo...
Tags: Florida, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, United States, Davis, Johnson, Corrections, United, Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Scalia, U S Court of Appeals


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


Comedy tonight: Jurists play for laughs at Shakespeare Theatre mock trial

Justice Samuel Alito struggled to suppress a smile. Justice Stephen Breyer buried his head in his hands. Chief Judge Merrick Garland succumbed to a giggle fit. The esteemed panel knew it was in for an unconventional night of jurisprudence when, just a few sentences into her spiel, counsel representing the estate of the Duke of Buckingham referred to King Richard III as “Individual Number One.” The audience at the Sidney Harman Hall burst into applause – a raucous show of enthusiasm from a crowd ...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Richard III, Duke, Trump, Buckingham, Lancaster, Alito, Stephen Breyer, Garland, Samuel Alito, Henry VII, 5th Circuit, Sidney Harman Hall, Shakespeare Theatre Company, United States Court of Appeals


Wednesday round-up

This morning the Supreme Court wraps up its January session with oral arguments in two cases. First on the agenda is a reargument in Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania, which asks whether the court should reconsider a precedent that requires property owners to exhaust state remedies before bringing federal takings claims under the Constitution. Miriam Seifter had this blog’s preview. Isaac Syed and Yuexin Angela Zhu preview the case for Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. The...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Kentucky, Court, United States, Tennessee, Faa, Round-up, TVA, U S Supreme Court, John Roberts, Mark Joseph Stern, Blair, Howe, Ian Millhiser, Samuel Alito


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


No action on blockbuster cases

This morning the Supreme Court released another set of orders from the justices’ private conference last week. On Friday, the justices announced that they would add eight cases from that conference to their docket. Today’s list did not grant review in any new cases, but it was perhaps most significant for what it did not do: The justices did not act on a long list of high-profile cases that they considered last week, involving everything from abortion to the Trump administration’s ban on service...
Tags: Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Kentucky, New York City, Indiana, United States, Lgbtq, White, Trump, U S Supreme Court, Toshiba Corp, Moore, Michaels, Howe


Election integrity in California still under siege

A lawsuit against the state of California and the county of Los Angeles over the accuracy of voter rolls has been settled, and it is a stunning victory for two nonprofit organizations, Election Integrity Project California and the government watchdog group, Judicial Watch. Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan has agreed to remove 1.5 million “inactive” registrations from the voter rolls. Secretary of State Alex Padilla has agreed to inform all county election officials in California that curr...
Tags: California, Opinion, Los Angeles, Sport, Soccer, DMV, Davis, Ohio, Arnold Schwarzenegger, States, Jerry Brown, Trump, Tucker Carlson, Logan, Schwarzenegger, U S Navy


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


Reargument preview: A new theory of when local-government takings occur

Photo credit to Pacific Legal Foundation On Wednesday, for the second time this term, the court will hear argument in Knick v. Township of Scott. The case addresses when property owners who allege that a local government has taken their property can bring a lawsuit in federal court. A 1985 precedent, Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank, requires such plaintiffs to first make use of the state’s compensation procedures; only then can they say whether their property h...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, United States, Pacific Legal Foundation, Samuel Alito, Knick, Williamson County, Gorsuch, Merits Cases, Noel Francisco, Brett Kavanaugh, Williamson County Regional Planning Commission, Hamilton Bank, Neil Gorsuch


Argument analysis: Justices grapple with preclusion and “occupation” in Crow Tribe treaty case

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard argument in its latest foray into Indian treaty interpretation, Herrera v. Wyoming. The case concerns the persistence of the Crow Tribe’s hunting right in the 1868 Second Treaty of Fort Laramie. In an occasionally meandering argument, the Supreme Court repeatedly circled the three issues at the core of the case: issue preclusion, the implications of the court’s holding in its 1999 decision in Minnesota v. Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians, and the meaning of...
Tags: Featured, Minnesota, Supreme Court, Law, Wyoming, Sonia Sotomayor, Ward, John Roberts, Roberts, Liu, Randy, U S Court of Appeals, Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Breyer, Mille Lacs


Argument analysis: Gleaning the FDA’s meaning for impossibility pre-emption

Much of the federal government may be in shutdown mode, but the Supreme Court is still open for business. The Supreme Court opened its January session Monday morning with argument in Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. v. Albrecht, a case about the workings of the Food & Drug Administration (still partially open) and when the agency’s actions may insulate drug manufacturers from state tort suits through “impossibility pre-emption.” An important and often-used litigation defense for manufacturers, impossib...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Merck, United States, Fda, Sonia Sotomayor, Stewart, John Roberts, Albrecht, Roberts, Ginsburg, Levine, Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Breyer


The justices return, without Ginsburg or any new grants (Updated)

[Editor’s Note: This post was updated to cover the four cases in which the Supreme Court asked the U.S. solicitor general to file briefs.] The justices returned to the bench today for the first arguments of the new year. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had surgery on December 21 to remove two cancerous growths from her lungs, was not on the bench this morning; a court spokeswoman indicated that she would still participate in today’s cases based on the briefs and transcripts. The justices issued...
Tags: Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Virginia, New York City, Court, Georgia, Indiana, United States, Citigroup, Argentina, Ohio, Atkins, Lgbtq, Ruth Bader Ginsburg


SCOTUS Map: December 2018

Civility and collegiality continued to be a theme in the Supreme Court justices’ appearances this month. On a December 7 visit to Duquesne University, Justice Sonia Sotomayor recounted a conversation about civility with the other justices. Previous justices were at times openly hostile to one another, and the court’s current era of collegiality is perhaps more of an exception than the rule. According to Sotomayor, retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was in large part responsible for this chang...
Tags: Hollywood, Featured, Nbc, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Washington, America, Cnn, United States, Netherlands, Npr, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Variety


Symposium: The establishment clause strictly prohibits government preference for one faith — that could change with the Bladensburg Cross case

Heather L. Weaver is a senior staff attorney for the Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief at the American Civil Liberties Union. A 40-foot-tall Latin cross made of marble and cement stands on public property at one of the busiest intersections in Bladensburg, Maryland. The Bladensburg Cross is impossible to miss and overshadows everything nearby. Erected as a memorial to soldiers who died in World War I, it is now owned and maintained by a state entity, the Maryland-National Capital Parks a...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, California, Court, David, United States, Aclu, Jesus, Kennedy, Trump, Antonin Scalia, Buddhist, American Civil Liberties Union, Scalia, 9th Circuit


Tuesday round-up

Yesterday the Supreme Court issued additional orders from its conference last Friday, adding one case to its merits docket. Amy Howe covers the order list for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. At Education Week’s School Law Blog, Mark Walsh reports that the court agreed to review Kisor v. Wilkie, which raises “an important question about when courts should defer to a federal agency’s interpretation of its own ambiguous regulations.” Additional coverage comes from Ton...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Bloomberg, Ap, United States, New York Times, Kansas, Louisiana, Usa Today, The Washington Post, Chevron, Medicaid, Courthouse News Service, Round-up, Mark Sherman


One new grant, one dissent from the denial of review

Last week the justices added one new case to their merits docket for the term – a relatively obscure maritime-law case. Somewhat unexpectedly, they added another new case today that will almost certainly have a much higher profile, at least in the legal world: Kisor v. Wilkie, in which the Supreme Court will consider whether to overrule a line of cases instructing courts to defer to an agency’s interpretation of its own regulation. The court’s ruling could have significant implications for admin...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Planned Parenthood, Va, Medicaid, Robbins, Thomas, The Supreme Court, Howe, Andersen, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Department of Veterans Affairs, U S Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Wilkie


SCOTUS Rejects Efforts To Cut Planned Parenthood Medicaid Funding

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday avoided a high-profile case by rejecting appeals from Kansas and Louisiana in their effort to strip Medicaid money from Planned Parenthood, over the dissenting votes of three justices. The court’s order reflected a split among its conservative justices and an accusation from Justice Clarence Thomas that his colleagues seemed to be ducking the case for political reasons. The two states were appealing lower court rulings that had blocked them from wi...
Tags: News, Supreme Court, Planned Parenthood, Washington, Court, Ap, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, St Louis, Medicaid, Thomas, Health And Human Services, Center For Medical Progress, John Roberts, The Supreme Court


Argument analysis: Majority appears ready to uphold “separate sovereigns” doctrine

When Terance Gamble was pulled over by police in Alabama three years ago for having a faulty headlight, he probably didn’t think that prosecutors would make a federal case out of it. And he certainly wouldn’t have imagined that his case would make national headlines – not so much for its own sake, but because of what a win for Gamble might mean for prosecutions arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. Both of these thing...
Tags: England, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Alabama, United States, Donald Trump, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Roberts, Louis, Roberts, Gamble, Howe, Ginsburg, Alito, Stephen Breyer


Argument analysis: Justices wrestle with scope of cross-examination of social security experts

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard argument in an important Social Security Disability Insurance case, Biestek v. Berryhill. At issue was whether the Social Security Administration may ground a decision to deny benefits on the opinion of a vocational expert who refuses to disclose the data on which that opinion relies. Under the regulations, once a claimant has demonstrated that a severe impairment prevents her or him from returning to past relevant work, the agency must show that jobs exist in...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Social Security, Social Security Administration, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, SSA, Yang, Roberts, Ginsburg, Alito, Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan


A Brief History of the NRA Executive Vice President Position

Editors Note: This is AmmoLand News' first article in a series examining the role, challenges, and future of the NRA Executive Vice President position. A Brief History of the NRA Executive Vice President Position: Current CEO Wayne LaPierre. Fairfax, VA – -(AmmoLand.com)- For nearly three decades, Wayne LaPierre has been the face of the National Rifle Association. While he has been out there, fighting to preserve our Second Amendment rights, many who oppose our Second Amendment rights call hi...
Tags: New York, Guns, Supreme Court, West Virginia, Reagan, Tennessee, Bill Clinton, Gun Control, Andrew Cuomo, District Of Columbia, Dianne Feinstein, George W Bush, Border Patrol, Gun Rights, Rich, Cincinnati