Summary: What's New at the United States Supreme Court? Each week we bring you up to date coverage of the most recent cases and decisions before SCOTUS, discussing the Supreme Court's most recent grants and denials of certiorari, orders, opinions, oral arguments and constitutional jurisprudence. We also present in-depth special reports on the justices, important constitutional rights and the most controversial legal issues of our time (e.g. Abortion, Affirmative Action, Gay Rights, Women's Rights, Privacy, Campaign Finance, Same-Sex Marriage, Patent Law, Criminal Law and First Amendment Law). An essential podcast for any law school student or layperson interested in learning more about the Supreme Court and the United States Constitution.
A review of the media coverage and expert analysis from the first day of oral arguments concerning the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (the Healthcare Law).
This week the Court granted certiorari to two new cases, heard six cases in oral arguments and issued seven opinions. We review the following cases: Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye - wherein the court answers the open question of whether criminal defendants have a constitutional right to effective counsel during the plea bargaining stage of the criminal process, particularly where a defendant ultimately rejects a favorable plea deal based on the erroneous advice of counsel and where counsel fails to communicate a plea offer to his or her client causing the deal to expire. Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs, wherein the Supreme Court must decide whether the eighth amendment guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment applies in two separate cases where 14 year old boys were sentenced to life in prison without a chance for parole after being convicted of murder. Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. wherein the Supreme Court considers whether a patent for diagnostic tests used in the treatment of auto immune diseases is patentable or not patentable because it involves no more than the laws of nature. Ryan v. Gonzales and Tibbals v. Carter - wherein the court returns to the question of the mental health of defendants in capital cases - this time the Court considers whether death row inmates’ federal habeas proceedings may be stayed if they are not competent to assist appointed counsel. Reichle v. Howards, which considers whether secret service agents should be entitled to qualified or absolute immunity from a First Amendment retaliatory arrest claim where probable cause existed for the arrest but the plaintiff citizen claims that he was arrested only because he made a negative comment to Vice President Cheney about the war in Iraq which two secret service agents took offense to. Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Md., wherein the Supreme Court examined whether an employee of a state can bring a lawsuit against the state under the Family Medical Leave Act allowing an individual to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to tend to one’s own serious health condition or whether the doctrine of sovereign immunity would prohibit the lawsuit for monetary damages against the state. Sackett v. EPA, wherein property owners who began building a house on their property were ordered to stop by the EPA because their property consisted of wetlands - the order threatened the couple with enormous fines if they failed to comply but did not provide them with a direct means of challenging the order. Martinez v. Ryan, which consider whether a defendant has a constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel in his first collateral post-conviction relief proceeding to pursue a claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel in a state which bars him from pursuing an ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim during direct appeal. OPINIONS (click to download) Lafler v. Cooper (10-209) Missouri v. Frye (10-444) Sackett v. EPA (10-1062) Roberts v. Sea-Land Services, Inc. (10-1399) Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. (10-1150) Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Md. (10-1016) Martinez v. Ryan (10-1001) GRANTS OF CERTIORARI (click on case name to download lower court decision) Ryan v. Gonzales (Ninth Circuit) Tibbals v. Carter (Sixth Circuit) ORAL ARGUMENT TRANSCRIPTS AND AUDIO (click to download) Astrue v. Capato (11-159) Audio Transcript Southern Union Co. v. United States (11-94) Audio Transcript Miller v. Alabama (10-9646) Audio Transcript Jackson v. Hobbs (10-9647) Audio Transcript Vasquez v. United States (11-199) Audio Transcript Reichle v. Howards (11-262) Audio Transcript
This week the Court heard oral arguments in five cases. There were no new grants of certiorari and no opinions. We discuss the following cases: Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. wherein the Supreme Court looks at claims by Nigerian citizens of tort and human rights violations by international oil companies in the Niger Delta. Under the U.S. Alien Tort Statute, foreign nationals can bring tort claims in U.S. courts-- but until now, those claims have always been against other individuals. The court must determine whether a corporation can be held liable for torts and human rights violations under the Alien Tort Statute. Armour v. Indianapolis, which concerns whether the city of Indianapolis could properly choose to reimburse some taxpayers, mostly low and middle income taxpayers, and not others, mostly wealthier taxpayers, for payments into a fund that was ultimately canceled - or whether such discriminatory treatment violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Mohamad v. Palestinian Authority, concerning a case brought by the family of an American citizen seeking to hold the Palestinian Authority liable for the wrongful death of their family member under the Torture Victim Protection Act. The act creatives civil liability for individuals and the lower courts held that organizations were not included within the scope of the act. The Petitioner claims that Individual was used to differentiate governments from non-state actors, rather than to allow organizations to go free where individuals would be held responsible. Wood v. Milyard, wherein the Court considers when a state in habeas corpus case fails to argue that a petition is untimely, whether an appellate court may raise and decide the issue on its own. ORAL ARGUMENT TRANSCRIPTS AND AUDIO (click to download) Elgin v. Department of Treasury (11-45) Audio Transcript Wood v. Milyard (10-9995) Audio Transcript Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. (10-1491) Audio Transcript Mohamad v. Palestinian Authority (11-88) Audio Transcrit Armour v. Indianapolis (11-161) Audio Transcrit
This week the Court issued seven opinions, heard four cases in oral arguments and granted certiorari to two new cases. We begin this week with a review of the Court’s grant of certiorari in Fisher v. University of Texas, which marks that first time in nearly a decade that the Court is returning to the topic of affirmative action in higher education. Fisher considers the admission practices of the University of Texas at Austin and reconsiders whether race may be used as a factor in public school admissions. We next consider the oral arguments this week in United States v. Alvarez which considers the first amendment value of lying and in particular the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a crime to to falsely represent that you have been awarded any military decoration or medal authorized by Congress. Next, we consider the Court’s opinion this week in Howes v. Fields, wherein the court had to determine whether a prisoner is always in custody for Miranda purposes any time that prisoner is isolated from the general prison population and questioned about conduct occurring outside the prison. We then turn to the Court’s decision this week in PPL Montana LLC v. Montana, a case which considers who owns the riverbeds in Montana and whether Montana may charge rent to hydroelectric facilities built on the riverbeds. Finally, we review the Court’s opinion in Messerschmidt v. Millender, wherein the court determined whether police officers could be held liable for causing a search warrant to issue that lacked probable cause when it was approved by supervisors, including an attorney, and granted by a magistrate judge. OPINIONS (click to download) Kawashima v. Holder (10-577) Howes v. Fields (10-680) Wetzel v. Lambert (11-38) Marmet Health Care Center, Inc. v. Brown (11-391) Messerschmidt v. Millender (10-704) PPL Montana, LLC v. Montana (10-218) Douglas v. Independent Living Center of Southern Cal., Inc. (09-958) GRANTS OF CERTIORARI (click on case name to download lower court decision) Fisher v. University of Texas (Fifth Circuit) Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Florida (Eleventh Circuit) ORAL ARGUMENT TRANSCRIPTS AND AUDIO (click to download) Freeman v. Quicken Loans, Inc. (10-1042) Audio Transcript Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan, Ltd. (10-1472) Audio Transcript United States v. Alvarez (11-210) Audio Transcript Blueford v. Arkansas (10-1320) Audio Transcript
Cases Discussed Newberry v. United States (1921) (Congress lacks power to regulate primaries where electors are free to ignore results of the party's primary) United States v. Classic (1941) (Congress may regulate primaries where electors are bound by their results) United States v. CIO (1948) (union may endorse candidate in its weekly periodical where it does not spend money outside its regular expenditures for publication) United States v. Automobile Workers(1957) (a union regular periodical is not an independent expenditure) Mills v. Alabama (1966) (newspapers can publish editorials endorsing candidates) Miami Herald v. Tornillo (1974) (newspapers do not have to provide space for a response when they criticize a candidate) Buckley v. Valeo (1976) (contribution limits are constitutional) (independent expenditure limits applied to individuals are unconstitutional) (limits on how much candidate and immediate family can spend on own campaign are unconstitutional) (ceilings on overall campaign expenditures are unconstitutional) (disclosure rules are constitutional) (voluntary public financing scheme is constitutional) First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti (1978) (corporate contribution and expenditure ban in context of a referendum submitted to voters is unconstitutional) Citizens Against Rent Control v. City of Berkeley (1981) (contribution limit of $250 to support or oppose ballot initiatives unconstitutional) FEC v. National Right To Work (1982) (requirement that PACs may only receive contributions from their employees, stockholders or members is constitutional) FEC v. National Conservative Political Action Committee (1985) (independent expenditure limit applied to PACs in context of voluntary public financing system unconstitutional) FEC v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life (1986) (independent expenditure ban applied to a nonprofit issue advocacy corporation unconstitutional) Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) (independent expenditure ban applied to non-profit with both political and nonpolitical purposes is constitutional) (OVERRULED) Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee v. FEC (1996) (independent expenditure limit applied to parties not coordinating with candidates is unconstitutioanl) Colorado II (2001) (independent expenditure limit applied to parties coordinating with candidates is constitutional) FEC v. Beaumont (2003) (ban on direct contributions by non-profit issue advocacy corporation is constitutional) McConnell v. FEC (2003) (prohibiting parties from raising and spending soft money is constitutional) (preventing issue ads within 30 days of primary and 60 days of general election is constitutional (OVERRULED)) Randall v. Sorrell (2006) (Vernmont contributions were unconstitutionally low) FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life (2007) (electioneering communication limited to magic words (made obsolete by Citizens United)) Davis v. FEC (2009) (Millionaires Amendment which increased contribution limits that opposing candidates for the House of Representatives could receive when a self-financed House candidate spent more than $350,000 of his own money is unconstitutional) Citizens United v. FEC (2009) (independent expenditure ban in BCRA unconstitutional) (disclosure and reporting requirements even as to independent expenditures are constitutional) Nevada Commission on Ethics v. Carrigan (2011) (conflict of interest law disallowing votes on legislation is constitutional) Arizona Free Enterprise Club's Freedom Club Pac v. Bennett (2011) (Arizona public financing system giving dollar for dollar benefits to candidates whose privately funded opponents spend more than the public finance limits is unconstitutional)
Northern Pipeline Constr. Co. v. Marathon Pipe Line Co. Stern v. Marshall
The Court is in winter recess and will reconvene on February 17, 2012. In the interim, Supreme Podcast will be broadcasting special episodes. This week we review oral arguments heard on January 17, 2012 in Filarsky v. Delia, a case concerning whether a private attorney who was temporarily retained by a government entity was entitled to qualified immunity when he was sued for actions he took in his role as an investigator for the government.
This week the court issued four opinions and did not grant certiorari to any new cases or hear any cases in oral arguments. We begin today with the court's much anticipated opinion this week in the case of United States v. Jones, which considered whether police should have obtained a warrant before placing a GPS tracking device on a suspect's car and tracking its movements for four weeks. We next consider another Fourth Amendment decision this week in Ryburn v. Huff, wherein the court considered whether police officers violated a family's right to be free from warrantless searches when they entered the family's home during an investigation into a rumor that their son was going to “shoot up” his school - Bellarmine-Jefferson High School in Burbank, California. We next consider the Court's opinion this week in National Meat Association v. Harris, wherein the Supreme Court decided whether federal law pre-empted California state law in regard to the treatment of pigs and other animals at slaughterhouses, when the animal in question has lost the ability to walk on its own. Finally, we consider the statutory interpretation case of Reynolds v. United States, which concerns whether the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act ("SORNA") applies to sex offenders who committed their crimes prior to the effective date of the law in the absence of a clear indication by the Attorney General that the act applies to them. OPINIONS (click to download) Ryburn v. Huff (11-208) National Meat Assn. v. Harris (10-224) Reynolds v. United States (10-6549) United States v. Jones (10-1259)
This week the court issued three opinions, heard five cases in oral arguments (two of which were consolidated for review) and granted certiorari to three cases. We begin with a review of the Court’s opinion in Perry v. Perez, the Texas Redistricting cases. We next review an order released simultaneously with the Texas redistricting opinion staying an order of a federal court in West Virginia challenging redistricting plans in that state. We then review the court's opinion this week in Maples v. Thomas, concerning an Alabama state prisoner represented pro bono by two attorneys of the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell who subsequently left the firm but had not ensured that other attorneys at the firm would take over the case, causing the Alabama state prisoner to miss his appellate filing deadline. Next, we review the Court's opinion in Golan v. Holder, which resolves the question of whether Congress may restore copyright to millions of potential works that had fallen into the public domain between 1923-1989. We end this week with a report on the grant of certiorari in Cavazos v. Williams, which concerns whether a state court judge violated a defendant's right to trial by jury when he dismissed a hold-out juror in a deadlocked jury based in part on the juror's view of the verdict. OPINIONS (click to download) Perry v. Perez (Texas Redistricting Cases) (11-713) Mims v. Arrow Financial Services, LLC (10-1195) Golan v. Holder (10-545) Maples v. Thomas (10-63) GRANTS OF CERTIORARI (click on case name to download lower court decision) Cavazos v. Williams (Ninth Circuit) United States v. Bormes (Federal Circuit) Kloeckner v. Solis (8th Circuit) ORAL ARGUMENT TRANSCRIPTS AND AUDIO (click to download) United States v. Home Concrete & Supply, LLC (11-139) Audio Transcript Filarsky v. Delia (10-1018) Audio Transcript Holder v. Martinez Gutierrez (10-1542) Audio Transcript Vartelas v. Holder (10-1211) Audio Transcript
Our podcast this week is divided into two episodes. In this episode we review the two cases granted certiorari this week and four of the seven opinions issued this week: Perry v. Perez - how far may a federal court go in redrawing election districts in Texas in an emergency circumstance where an impending election does not yet have a precleared election map in place? FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc. - is the FCC new indecency policy (developed over the last ten years) unconstitutionally vague? Sackett v. EPA - whether the due process clause is violated by homeowners’ inability to challenge EPA compliance order in a Court unless and until the EPA seeks judicial enforcement of the order. ORAL ARGUMENT TRANSCRIPTS AND AUDIO (click to download) Perry v. Perez (11-713) Audio Transcript FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc. (10-1293) Audio Transcript Sackett v. EPA (10-1062) Audio Transcript Kappos v. Hyatt (10-1219) Audio Transcript Knox v. Service Employees (10-1121) Audio Transcript Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Md. (10-1016) Audio Transcript Roberts v. Sea-Land Services, Inc. (10-1399) Audio Transcript
Our podcast this week is divided into two episodes. In this episode we review the two cases granted certiorari this week and four of the seven opinions issued this week: Florida v. Jardines - whether the police use of a dog trained to sniff for drugs at the front door of the defendant’s home is an illegal search in violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable search and seizures. Hosanna Tabor Church and School v. EEOC - whether a teacher at a religious school in Missouri is prohibited from filing a claim of employment discrimination against the church that hired her, because she falls under the "ministerial exception" - a principle of law deriving from the First Amendment’s religion clause that excepts religious institutions from employment discrimination laws. Minneci v. Pollard - whether an inmate in a Federal Prison can sue the federal contractors who operated the prison for a violation of his constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment. Smith v. Cain - whether the Brady violations that occurred in the case warrant reversal of the defendant’s conviction. Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter - whether the Department of Interior is obligated to pay off all money owed on contracts with Indian tribes, even if Congress does not appropriate enough money. Gonzales v. Thaler - a case concerning the timeliness of a habeas corpus petition by a state prisoner. OPINIONS (click to download) Smith v. Cain (10-8145) CompuCredit Corp. v. Greenwood (10-948) Minneci v. Pollard (10-1104) Gonzalez v. Thaler (10-895) Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC (10-553) Pacific Operators Offshore, LLP v. Valladolid (10-507) Perry v. New Hampshire (10-8974) GRANTS OF CERTIORARI (click on case name to download lower court decision) Florida v. Jardines (Florida Supreme Court) Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter (10th Cir.)
This week we review the most controversial and notable cases of 2011. Notable 2011 Cases (click to download) Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes (10-277) Chamber of Commerce of United States of America v. Whiting (09-115) Arizona Free Enterprise Club's Freedom Club Pac v. Bennett (10-238) Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn (09-987) Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Assn. (08-1448) Brown v. Plata (09-1233) Stern v. Marshall (10-179) American Elec. Power Co. v. Connecticut (10-174) Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc. (10-779) Turner v. Rogers (10-10) Bullcoming v. New Mexico (09-10876) AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (09-893)
This week we continue our biographies series with a profile of Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Our profiles of other justices are available to download in iTunes. Dissenting Opinions by Justice Sotomayor (click case name to download) Berghuis v. Thompkins (06/01/10) (08-1470) Bruesewitz v. Wyeth LLC (02/22/11) (09-152) Buck v. Thaler (11/07/11) (11-6391) Chamber of Commerce of United States of America v. Whiting (05/26/11) (09-115) Cullen v. Pinholster (04/04/11) (09-1088) Graham County Soil and Water Conservation Dist. v. United States ex rel. Wilson (03/30/10) (08-304) Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. v. Regal-Beloit Corp. (06/21/10) (08-1553) PLIVA, Inc. v. Mensing (06/23/11) (09-993) Robertson v. United States ex rel. Watson (05/24/10) (08-6261) Sossamon v. Texas (04/20/11) (08-1438) United States v. Jicarilla Apache Nation (06/13/11) (10-382) Concurring Opinions by Justice Sotomayor (click case name to download) Ashcroft v. al-Kidd (05/31/11) (10-98) Astrue v. Ratliff (06/14/10) (08-1322) Board of Trustees of Leland Stanford Junior Univ. v. Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. (06/06/11) (09-1159) Bullcoming v. New Mexico (06/23/11) (09-10876) Camreta v. Greene (05/26/11) (09-1454) Davis v. United States (06/16/11) (09-11328) Doe v. Reed (06/24/10) (09-559) Freeman v. United States (06/23/11) (09-10245) Tapia v. United States (06/16/11) (10-5400) United States v. Tohono O’odham Nation (04/26/11) (09-846) Williamson v. Mazda Motor of America, Inc. (02/23/11) (08-1314) Concur In Part, Dissent In Part Granite Rock Co. v. Teamsters (06/24/10) (08-1214) Skilling v. United States (06/24/10) (08-1394) Majority Opinions by Justice Sotomayor (click case name to download) Carr v. United States (06/01/10) (08-1301) Chase Bank USA, N. A. v. McCoy (01/24/11) (09-329) Depierre v. United States (06/09/11) (09-1533) Dillon v. United States (06/17/10) (09-6338) J. D. B. v. North Carolina (06/16/11) (09-11121) Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich LPA (04/21/10) (08-1200) Krupski v. Costa Crociere S. p. A. (06/07/10) (09-337) Matrixx Initiatives, Inc. v. Siracusano (03/22/11) (09-1156) Michigan v. Bryant (02/28/11) (09-150) Microsoft Corp. v. i4i Ltd. Partnership (06/09/11) (10-290) Hui v. Castaneda (05/03/10) (08-1529) Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz, P. A. v. United States (03/08/10) (08-1119) Mohawk Industries, Inc. v. Carpenter (12/08/09) (08-678) Pepper v. United States (03/02/11) (09-6822) Wood v. Allen (01/20/10) (08-9156)
This week the court granted certiorari in four cases and issued two opinions. No cases were heard in oral arguments. We begin today’s broadcast with a review of another controversial case the Court has agreed to hear this term - Arizona v. United States, which concerns the constitutionality of four key provisions of an Arizona law that seeks to comprehensively deal with the problem of illegal immigration in the state and whether the law is permitted in light of a comprehensive federal scheme already in place or whether the provisions are preempted and must fall. We next consider two cases consolidated for review and granted certiorari this week - Salazar v. Patchak and Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak, concerning the granting of trust lands to an Indian tribe for the intent of building a casino. The court must decide whether a nearby resident of the intended casino had standing to bring a lawsuit against the federal government in opposition to the granting of trust land to the Indian tribe. The resident argues that the proposed casino would detract from the quiet, family atmosphere of the surrounding rural area. We end with a review of the two unanimous opinions issued this week. OPINIONS (click to download) Judulang v. Holder (10-694) Hardy v. Cross (11-74) GRANTS OF CERTIORARI (click on case name to download lower court decision) Arizona v. United States (Ninth Circuit) Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak (DC Cir.) Salazar v. Patchak (DC Circuit) RadLAX Gateway Hotel, LLC v. Amalgamated Bank (Seventh Circuit)
This week the court granted certiorari to four cases, three of which were consolidated for review. The court also heard six cases in oral arguments. No opinions were issued. We will begin with a report on three cases the Court granted and consolidated for review late Friday concerning the redistricting of Texas election districts. We then review the oral arguments this week in Messerschmidt v. Millender, which considers whether police officers may be sued for exceeding the scope of a search warrant and searching for and seizing items not set forth in the search warrant. Next, we review the oral arguments this week in PPL Montana LLC v. Montana, in the Supreme Court must determine who owns the riverbeds in Montana. If the state of Montana owns the riverbeds, than utility companies which have built hydroelectric facilities on the riverbeds may owe the state tens of millions of dollars in back rent. Finally, we consider the grant of certiorari this week in Reichle v. Howards, which considers whether secret service agents should be entitled to qualified or absolute immunity from a First Amendment retaliatory arrest claim where probable cause existed for the arrest. GRANTS OF CERTIORARI (click on case name to download lower court decision) Reichle v. Howards (Tenth Circuit) Perry v. Shannon (Western District of Texas) Perry v. Davis (Western District of Texas) Perry v. Shannon 2 (Western District of Texas) ORAL ARGUMENT TRANSCRIPTS AND AUDIO (click to download) Messerschmidt v. Millender (10-704) Audio Transcript PPL Montana, LLC v. Montana (10-218) Audio Transcript Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories, Ltd. v. Novo Nordisk A/S (10-844) Audio Transcript Martel v. Clair (10-1265) Audio Transcript Williams v. Illinois (10-8505) Audio Transcript Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. (10-1150) Audio Transcript