October 6th will mark the first day of the 2014 Supreme Court term. Thus far, the Court's docket includes major cases involving the First Amendment, separation of powers, election law, criminal law, and more.
Notable cases include Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama and Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama, which concern whether Alabama's legislative redistricting plans were unconstitutional; Elonis v. U.S., which concerns when it is a federal crime to make threatening statements, including messages or postings on social networking web sites such as Facebook; Yates v. U.S., which concerns whether Mr. Yates was given fair notice that throwing undersized fish into the Gulf of Mexico would violate the "document shredding provision" of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act; and Zivotofsky v. Kerry, which concerns Congress's vs. the President's authority over passports and foreign affairs.
The Court is also likely to add other significant cases, potentially including King v. Burwell, concerning whether the IRS may extend tax-credit subsidies to offset the cost of coverage purchased through exchanges established by the federal government (rather than state-created exchanges) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; TheEpiscopal Church v. The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, which concerns the resolution of church property disputes; and one or more same-sex marriage cases. In addition to these cases and others, the panelists will discuss the current composition and the future of the Court.
On June 23, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency. The question in this case was whether the EPA permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases (“GHGs”).
Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to parts I and II, which held that the EPA could not require a source to obtain a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) or Title V permit solely on the basis that the source emits GHGs. The Court also concluded, however, that the EPA could reasonably interpret the Clean Air Act to allow for the regulation of GHG emissions from sources already subject to regulation under the PSD and Title V program.
Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy joined the opinion of the Court in full. Justices Thomas and Alito joined the opinion as to parts I, II-A, and II-B-1. Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined as to Part II-B-2. Justice Breyer filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. Justice Alito filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, which Justice Thomas joined. The judgement of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit was affirmed in part and reversed in part.
To discuss these cases, we have Robert R. Gasaway, who is a partner at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
Members of the Federalist Society’s Financial Services & E-Commerce Practice Group Executive Committee provided an update on recent important activity at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on this Teleforum conference call. Recent developments included the CFPB’s proposal to make public the details of anonymous consumer complaints, the CFPB’s 573-page proposal to require residential mortgage lenders to report publicly 37 new details on each home mortgage application that they receive, a bill that was introduced in the U.S. Senate to increase the threshold size of banks subject to CFPB examination from $10 billion to $50 billion, an enforcement action that the CFPB commenced against a law firm for its debt collection practices, and a warning that the CFPB issued to consumers about virtual currencies like Bitcoin.
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) recently released its report on the surveillance program authorized under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The report includes an evaluation of whether the surveillance program comports with the terms of the statute, an evaluation of the Fourth Amendment issues raised by the program, and a discussion of the treatment of non-U.S. persons under the program. Also, the report makes policy recommendations for the program going forward. Two members of the PCLOB will discuss the report on this Teleforum and answer audience questions.
Please join the Federalist Society, the Cato Institute, and the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 for a free one day conference discussing recent developments in civil rights law. Check back as more panelists are added.
The 17th Annual Federalist Society Faculty Conference was held on January 3-4, 2015 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. The purpose of our Annual Faculty Conferences is to provide an opportunity for those interested in the Society to share ideas and scholarship with each other.