All eyes are on the United States Supreme Court as it prepares to hear oral argument in U.S. v. Texas, which will examine the President's executive actions on immigration. In addition to complex questions about standing and administrative law, the Court has, on its own initiative, added a Take Care Clause question to the argument. Our experts previewed the oral arguments, the major points to be made by both sides, and the stakes.
On January 27, 2016, the Houston Lawyers Chapter of The Federalist Society will host a lunch presentation by Professor Ilya Somin of George Mason University entitled, "Kelo v. City of New London: Ten Years Later." In 2005, the Supreme Court decided Kelo v. City of New London, a 5-4 decision that upheld a city's use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another in the interests of economic development. Professor Somin is the author of "The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain," the first book by a legal scholar about the Kelo case and its aftermath. Professor Somin will discuss the immediate repercussions of the decision, legislative and judicial responses, and its continuing significance ten years later.
On January 13, 2016, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Puerto Rico v. Sanchez Valle. Sanchez Valle was charged by Puerto Rico prosecutors with the illegal sale of weapons and ammunition without a license in violation of Puerto Rico law. While that charge was pending, he was indicted by a federal grand jury for the same offense, based on the same facts, under federal law. He pled guilty to the federal indictment but sought dismissal of the Puerto Rico charges on Double Jeopardy grounds, arguing that Puerto Rico is not a separate sovereign. The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico agreed but the Commonwealth appealed.
The question now before the U.S. Supreme Court is whether the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the federal government are separate sovereigns for purposes of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States Constitution.
To discuss the case, we have Scott Broyles, who is Professor at Charlotte School of Law.
On January 12, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Hurst v. Florida. The question before the Court was whether Florida’s death sentencing scheme--which Hurst contends does not require unanimity in the jury death recommendation or in the finding of underlying aggravating factors--violates the Sixth and/or Eighth Amendments in light of the Court’s 2002 decision Ring v. Arizona, which requires that the aggravating factors necessary for imposition of a death sentence be found by a jury. The Florida Supreme Court upheld Hurst’s death sentence.
By a vote of 8-1, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Florida Supreme Court and remanded the case, holding that Florida’s capital sentencing scheme did violate the Sixth Amendment in light of Ring. Justice Sotomayor’s opinion for the Court was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, and Kagan. Justice Breyer filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion.
To discuss the case, we have Jack Park, who is Of Counsel with Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP.