This Teleforum explores the foundation for Chevron deference to agency statutory interpretation, and the implications of that foundation. In particular, it considers whether the Supreme Court’s justification of Chevron as deriving from an implicit delegation of interpretive primacy to an agency within the context of taking action with the force of law is justifiable. It also considers whether a better justification is the implicit constraint inherent in Article III of the Constitution that courts should avoid engaging in policy decisionmaking to the extent possible when performing their judicial functions. It goes on to consider the implications of these two different justifications for Chevron, potentially addressing the applicability of Chevron to actions that do not carry the force of law (i.e. Chevron’s step zero), Chevron’s major question exception, the appropriate judicial inquiry at step two of Chevron, and perhaps even the extent to which Congress can override the Chevron doctrine as a canon of statutory interpretation.
Ziglar v. Abbasi is the result of over a decade of remands and appeals. The case was originally filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of incarcerated Muslim, South Asian, and Arab non-citizens who were targeted after 9/11 by law enforcement as “terrorism suspects.” The defendants in the case, high level officials in the Bush administration, such as Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI director Robert Mueller, and low level detention officials, filed a motion to dismiss, which was rejected by the in the District Court.
In 2009, the Supreme Court decided in Ashcroft v. Iqbal that government officials were not liable for discriminatory actions of their subordinates without evidence they directly ordered the actions. Meanwhile, five of the petitioners in Ziglar settled with the government, and the case was remanded to the District Court and amended. In 2010, the District Court granted a new motion of dismissal, but only for the high level officials. This dismissal was reversed by the Second Circuit.
The main question the Supreme Court answered was whether these high-level government officials could be sued for damages under the Bivens precedent. The precedent, created in a 1971 case involving the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, created an implied cause of action for any person whose Fourth Amendment rights are violated by federal officials. On Monday, June 19 the Supreme Court refused to extend the Bivens precedent to the petitioners, reversing the decision by the Second Circuit and remanding the case.
David Rivkin of Baker Hostelter will join us to discuss the opinion and its significance.
The Court has ruled today in two important cases, Matal v. Tam (aka "The Slants" copyright case) and Packingham v. North Carolina, which concerns a North Carolina law that restricts the access of convicted sex offenders to “commercial social networking” websites. Mr. Michael Huston and Mr. Ilya Shapiro joined us for this special Teleforum in which the holdings and reasoning of both cases were discussed.
In a decision likely to shape not only future biosimilar litigation but the biosimilar industry generally, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 12, 2017 handed down its much-anticipated ruling in Amgen v. Sandoz.
In the first case interpreting the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA), the Court (J. Thomas) unanimously reversed the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, holding that biosimilar makers need not wait for FDA approval before providing the reference product sponsor with 180-day notice of commercial marketing. The Court also held that the statute does not provide a federal injunctive cause of action to force biosimilar applicants to provide their FDA application to the reference sponsor, but remanded to the Federal Circuit to determine whether injunctive relief might be available to reference sponsors under state law. The decision raises intriguing questions of statutory construction and policy and is expected to speed market entry of biosimilars and increase competition.The Federalist Society’s uniquely qualified, expert panel discussed the decision and its implications for the industry and patent rights generally.
Microsoft v. Baker involved a class action lawsuit against the Microsoft Company by plaintiffs who alleged that during games on their Xbox video game console, the game disc would come loose and scratch the internal components of the device, permanently damaging the Xbox. Since only .4% of Xbox consoles experienced this issue, the district court determined that "a class action suit could not be certified and individuals in the suit would have to come forward on their own." The named plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their claims with prejudice. The case was then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit where the court overturned the lower court's decision and held that the district court misapplied the law and abused its discretion in removing the class action allegations.
On Monday, June 12 the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the ruling of the Ninth Circuit and remanded the decision. Ted Frank of the Competitive Enterprise Institute joined us to discuss the holding and its significance.
The enactment of lengthy no-parole sentences and the atrophy of other statutory early release mechanisms has placed unusual demands on the clemency mechanism in recent years, notably in the federal system. Similarly, an increase in the number and severity of collateral penalties has made pardon the only way most people with a criminal record can pay their debt to society. As Enlightenment philosophers recognized, clemency was never intended to substitute for a well-functioning legal system. With all due respect to Alexander Hamilton, in today’s world it is questionable whether a politician is “a more eligible dispenser of the mercy of the government” than a court.
The American Law Institute recently approved a revision of the sentencing articles of the Model Penal Code, the first such revision in 60 years. The revised MPC includes provisions intended to reduce the need for executiveclemency, in two ways. First, the MPC provides authority for courts to reduce prison sentences in situations where circumstances have fundamentally changed. Second, the MPC proposes a comprehensive scheme for managing the collateral consequences of conviction that makes courts the primary source of relief. Former U.S. Pardon Attorney Margaret Love, currently the Executive Director of the Collateral Consequences Resource Center, will discuss the merits and potential consequences of these proposed MPC reforms.