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SCOTUS Opinions & Orders

Timothy Courtney May 22, 2017
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OPINIONS

(1)  Cooper v. Harris:  By a vote of 5-3 the judgment of the three-judge panel in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina is affirmed.  Per Justice Kagan's opinion for the Court:  "The Constitution entrusts States with the job of designing congressional districts. But it also imposes an important constraint: A State may not use race as the predominant factor in drawing district lines unless it has a compelling reasonIn this case, a three-judge District Court ruled that North Carolina officials violated that bar when they created two districts whose voting-age populations were majority blackApplying a deferential standard of review to the factual findings underlying that decision, we affirm." [Read More]

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Supreme Court Building at dusk
Photo Credit: Shutterstock | Sean Pavone (link)

“Uncommonly Silly”—and Correctly Decided: The Right and Wrong of Griswold v. Connecticut and Why It Matters Today

Evan Bernick April 18, 2017
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It is one of the Supreme Court’s most consequential and controversial decisions, and no one should have been surprised that now-Justice Neil Gorsuch was asked about it during his confirmation hearings. In the 1965 case of Griswold v. Connecticut, the Court held unconstitutional a Connecticut statute that prohibited the use of contraceptives, affirming a “right of privacy” that appears nowhere in the Constitution’s text. Justice William O. Douglas’s majority opinion, which speaks of “penumbras, formed by emanations” from non-textual “guarantees that help give [the guarantees in the Bill of Rights] life and substance” has been ridiculed ever since it was issued. Conservative critics of the Court have long invoked “penumbras” and “emanations” to heap scorn upon the notion that the Constitution protects any rights that are not expressly listed in the Constitution’s text. [Read More]

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Civil Forfeiture: Three Recent Cases (Part 1)

Justice Thomas' Long History of Criticizing Asset Forfeiture

Nick Sibilla April 10, 2017
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Alongside Sen. Rand Paul, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has become one of the most high-profile critics of “civil forfeiture.” Under this appalling practice, police can confiscate property, even from those who haven’t been charged with a crime. In a concurrence released last month, Justice Thomas surprised many when he slammed the practice as “egregious” and questioned if it’s even constitutional. Although his concurrence was brief—just six pages—Justice Thomas identified many of the glaring defects in civil forfeiture. [Read More]

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Article: Supreme Court Season of Turmoil

SCOTUS Orders: Two new cert grants

Timothy Courtney March 27, 2017
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The Supreme Court issued a new Order List this morning; in addition to several GVRs there were two new grants of cert.  Opinions may issue on Tues and Wed of this week.

Cert Grants:

(1) U.S. Bank v. Village at Lakeridge: (grant limited to Question #2):   Whether the appropriate standard of review for determining non-statutory insider status is the de novo standard of review applied by the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 3rd, 7th and 10th Circuits, or the clearly erroneous standard of review adopted for the first time by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in this action.

(2) Leidos, Inc. v. Indiana Public Retirement Sys.:   Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit erred in holding – in direct conflict with the decisions of the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 3rd and 9th Circuits – that Item 303 of Securities and Exchange Commission Regulation S-K creates a duty to disclose that is actionable under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and SEC Rule 10b-5.

CVSG: Snyder v. Doe (Whether retroactively applying a sex-offender-registry law that classifies offenders into tiers based on crime of conviction, requires certain offenders to register for life, requires offenders to report in person periodically and within days of certain changes to registry information, and restricts offenders' activities within school zones imposes “punishment” in violation of the ex post facto clause.)

Other Orders of Note:

Town of Chester v. Laroe Estates:  Motion of Acting SG for leave to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae and for divided argument is granted. The motion of Nancy Sherman, Executrix for reconsideration of motion to be added as a respondent and for leave to participate in oral argument is denied. 

Wilson v. Sellers:  In light of the letter filed by respondent on March 15, 2017, the order inviting Adam K. Mortara, Esquire, of Chicago, Illinois, to brief and argue, as amicus curiae, in support of the judgment below is withdrawn.