Federal Courts

Wellness International Network v. Sharif - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 6-22-15 featuring Thomas Plank.
Thomas Plank June 22, 2015

On May 26, 2015, the Supreme Court delivered its opinion in Wellness International Network, Limited v. Sharif.  This case relates to the Court’s 2011 decision in Stern v. Marshall, in which the Court held that Congress violated Article III by authorizing bankruptcy judges to decide certain claims for which litigants are constitutionally entitled to an Article III adjudication. Here the question is whether Article III allows bankruptcy judges to adjudicate such claims with the parties’ consent. 

In an opinion delivered by Justice Sotomayor, the Court held by a vote of 6-3 that Article III permits bankruptcy judges to adjudicate Stern claims with the parties’ knowing and voluntary consent. The judgment of the Seventh Circuit was reversed and the case was remanded. 

Justice Sotomayor’s opinion was joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan, and by Justice Alito in part.  Justice Alito filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. The Chief Justice filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justice Scalia and by Justice Thomas as to Part I.  Justice Thomas also filed a dissenting opinion. 

To discuss the case, we have Thomas Plank, who is the Joel A. Katz Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Direct Marketing v. Brohl - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 4-14-15 featuring Kristin Gutting
Kristin Gutting April 14, 2015

On March 3, 2015, the Supreme Court decided Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl.  This case involves a Colorado law requiring retailers who do not collect Colorado sales or use tax to notify Colorado customers of their use-tax liability and to report tax-related information to customers and the Colorado Department of Revenue.  A trade association of online retailers filed suit in federal district court to challenge the law, and obtained an injunction against its enforcement.  On appeal, however, the Tenth Circuit reversed that judgment, holding that the Tax Injunction Act deprived the district court of jurisdiction over the case.  The question before the Supreme Court is whether the Act did indeed bar the online retailers’ suit.

In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Thomas, the Court held that the Tax Injunction Act did not bar the trade association's lawsuit.  The judgment of the Tenth Circuit was therefore reversed and the case remanded.  Justice Kennedy filed a concurring opinion.  Justice Ginsburg filed a concurring opinion, which Justice Breyer joined, and which Justice Sotomayor joined in part. 

To discuss the case, we have Kristin Gutting, an associate professor of law at the Charleston School of Law. 

Wellness Int'l Network, Ltd. v. Sharif - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 3-4-15 featuring Thomas Plank
Thomas Plank March 04, 2015

On January 14, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Wellness Int’l Network, Limited v. Sharif, which presents two questions. The first is whether a bankruptcy court has power under Article I of the Constitution to determine, where an issue of state property law is involved, that property in the debtor’s possession belongs to the bankruptcy estate.  The second question is whether, notwithstanding the limits of Article I authority, the consent of litigants can permit a bankruptcy court to exercise Article III judicial power--and if so, whether a litigant's continued participation in litigation can constitute implied consent.

To discuss the case, we have Thomas Plank, who is the Joel A. Katz Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Without Standing, Are We All Sitting Ducks? - Event Video

2014 National Lawyers Convention
Jonathan H. Adler, Amanda Cohen Leiter, Robert N. Weiner, Patrick Wyrick, A. Raymond Randolph, Eileen J. O'Connor November 17, 2014

For a federal court to consider an issue, there must be a case or controversy, and the parties before the court must have standing, i.e., a stake in the outcome of the decision.  While standing is important in our system of justice, the courts are not the only avenue for relief (the ballot box, theoretically, being another).  This panel will explore the history, development and current status of standing doctrine in regulatory litigation, with particular focus on the extent to which standing and related justiciability requirements have come to serve as a shield against meaningful judicial review of agency actions.

The Federalist Society's Administrative Law & Regulation Practice Group presented this panel on "Without Standing, Are We All Sitting Ducks?" on Saturday, November 15, during the 2014 National Lawyers Convention.


  • Prof. Jonathan H. Adler, Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
  • Prof. Amanda Cohen Leiter, Associate Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law   
  • Mr. Robert N. Weiner, Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP
  • Mr. Patrick Wyrick, Solicitor General, State of Oklahoma
  • Moderator: Hon. A Raymond Randolph, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
  • Introduction: Hon. Eileen O'Connor, Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP; and Chairman, Administrative Law & Regulation Practice Group

Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

Diversity Jurisdiction from Strawbridge to CAFA - Event Video

2014 National Lawyers Convention
Charles J. Cooper, Edith H. Jones, J. Harvie Wilkinson III, Dean A. Reuter November 17, 2014

In a recent article, constitutional lawyer Charles Cooper argued that federal courts have erred by too narrowly construing their statutory grants of diversity jurisdiction. Mr. Cooper urges the courts to recognize much broader federal jurisdiction based on diversity of citizenship as a matter of both statutory and constitutional interpretation.  Others have called on Congress to consider legislation that would expand federal courts' diversity jurisdiction to include all cases in which any two parties come from different states.  Our panel will include members of the federal judiciary to discuss whether (and if so, how) federal court jurisdiction should be expanded.

The Federalist Society's Practice Groups presented this panel on "Diversity Jurisdiction from Strawbridge to CAFA" on Friday, November 14, during the 2014 National Lawyers Convention.


  • Hon. Charles J. Cooper, Partner, Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel
  • Hon. Edith H. Jones, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • Hon.  J. Harvie Wilkinson III, United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • Introduction: Mr. Dean A. Reuter, Vice President & Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC