Telecommunications & Electronic Media and Intellectual Property Practice Group Podcast
The Federal Trade Commission has dual missions to protect consumers and competition. The agency has a 100+ years of history as an antitrust enforcer and general consumer protection agency. And over the last 20 years it has emerged as the lead U.S. agency addressing consumer privacy and data security. During the past administration, the agency faced challenges within and without. How well has it executed its dual missions? What external factors (such as actions by the CFPB and FCC) have affected its ability to further its missions? And how might the agency improve in the coming administration? To answer these questions we'll talk to Heritage Senior Fellow Alden Abbot and FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen.
- Alden Abbott, Deputy Director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and the John, Barbara, and Victoria Rumpel Senior Legal Fellow, The Heritage Foundation
- Hon. Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
SCOTUScast 2-15-17 featuring Thaya Brook Knight
On November 8, 2016, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Bank of America Corp. v. City of Miami, which was consolidated with Wells Fargo & Co. v. City of Miami. In this case, the city of Miami sued Bank of America Corporation and similar defendants under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), arguing that the banks engaged in predatory lending practices that targeted minorities for higher-risk loans, which resulted in high rates of default and caused financial harm to the city. Miami also alleged that the banks unjustly enriched themselves by taking advantage of benefits conferred by the city, thus denying the city expected property and tax revenues.
The district court dismissed the FHA claims and held that Miami did not fall within the “zone of interests” the statute was meant to protect and therefore lacked standing under the statute. The court also held that Miami had not adequately shown that the banks’ conduct was the proximate cause of the harms the city claimed to have suffered. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed, holding that FHA standing extends as broadly as Article III of the Constitution permits, that Miami had established Article III standing here, and that it had sufficiently alleged proximate causation.
There are two questions now before the Supreme Court: (1) whether, by limiting suit to “aggrieved person[s],” Congress required that a Fair Housing Act plaintiff plead more than just Article III injury-in-fact; and (2) whether proximate cause requires more than just the possibility that a defendant could have foreseen that the remote plaintiff might ultimately lose money through some theoretical chain of contingencies.
To discuss the case, we have Thaya Brook Knight, who is Associate Director of Financial Regulation Studies at the Cato Institute.
Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
Farha v. United States, currently pending on a petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, is a case study raising basic notions of due process, fair notice, the rule of lenity, mens rea, and whether administrative and civil remedies would be more appropriate. What began as a highly publicized raid by some 200 FBI agents on a Florida health care company over an accounting dispute ended in the indictment, conviction, and prison sentences for the Wellcare executives for fraud.
On appeal, where the case was captioned Clay v. United States, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld the convictions over the objections of the defendants that the jury instruction impermissibly allowed the jury to convict if the defendants were “deliberately indifferent” to the law’s requirement as opposed to finding a “knowing” violation as the statute requires. The Supreme Court in 2011, in Global-Tech Appliances, a civil case involving patent infringement, held that "knowledge" cannot include "deliberate indifference" to show sufficient mens rea to establish infringement. Accordingly, the cert petition, filed by Seth Waxman of WilmerHale, seeks to have the Court rule that the jury instructions should require a higher mens rea standard, all the more so in a criminal case.
This case is particularly important for all regulated industries, where there are numerous laws and complex regulations governing conduct subject to administrative, civil, and criminal enforcement.
- Paul Kamenar, Washington, D.C. Public Policy Attorney and Senior Fellow, Administrative Conference of the U.S.
- Jeff Lamken, Partner, MoloLamken
- Moderator: John G. Malcolm, Director and Ed Gilbertson and Sherry Lindberg Gilbertson Senior Legal Fellow, Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, The Heritage Foundation
International & National Security Law Practice Group Podcast
On February 21, the Supreme Court will hear argument in Hernandez v. Mesa. In July of 2010, a 15-year-old adolescent named Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca and his friends were playing along a concrete structure on the border of the U.S. and Mexico. When Jesus Mesa, Jr., a U.S. Border Patrol Agent arrived, he detained one of the youths on the border, and shot and killed Hernandez, who was hiding behind a pillar of the Paso Del Norte Bridge on the Mexican side of the border. Hernandez’s parents sued Agent Mesa under the Fourth and Fifth Amendment for the use of unlawful and disproportionate force. Agent Mesa argued that the Fourth and Fifth Amendments did not apply because Hernandez was not a U.S. citizen. The District Court found for Agent Mesa, while the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the Fifth Amendment Protections against deadly force applied but the Fourth Amendment did not, and that Agent Mesa should not receive qualified immunity.
Professor Andrew Kent of Fordham University School of Law and Professor Stephen I. Vladeck of UT Austin Law School joined us to examine the case and its implications for extraterritorial application of the Bill of Rights and for qualified immunity.
- Prof. Andrew Kent, Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law
- Prof. Stephen I. Vladeck, Professor of Law, The University of Texas at Austin School of Law
SCOTUScast 2-10-17 featuring Jamil Jaffer
On January 18, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Ziglar v. Abbasi, which was consolidated with the cases Ashcroft v. Abbasi and Hasty v. Abbasi. Ziglar v. Abbasi was part of a series of lawsuits brought by Muslim, South Asian, and Arab non-citizens who were who were detained after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and treated as “of interest” in the ensuing government investigation. These plaintiffs contended, among other things, that the conditions of their confinement violated their constitutional rights to due process and equal protection. The defendants included high-level officials in the Department of Justice (DOJ) such as Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI director Robert Mueller, and Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner James Ziglar, as well various detention officials. Some of the parties reached settlements, and the district court eventually dismissed some of the allegations against the DOJ officials for failure to state claim. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of plaintiffs’ Free Exercise claims, but otherwise reversed most of the district court’s judgment. Plaintiffs, the Second Circuit held, had adequately pleaded claims for violations of substantive due process, equal protection, the Fourth Amendment, and civil conspiracy, and Defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity. Defendants then sought, and the Supreme Court granted, a petition for writ of certiorari.
The questions now before the Supreme Court are threefold: (1) whether the Second Circuit, in finding that Plaintiffs’ due process claims did not arise in a “new context” for purposes of implying a remedy under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, erred by defining “context” at too high a level of generality; (2) whether the Second Circuit erred in denying qualified immunity to Defendant Ziglar; and (3) whether the Second Circuit erred in holding that Plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment Complaint met the pleading requirements identified by the Supreme Court in its 2009 decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal.
To discuss the case, we have Jamil N. Jaffer, who is Adjunct Professor of Law and Director of the Homeland and National Security Law Program at the Antonin Scalia Law School.