FedSoc Blog

New Post-Decision SCOTUScast: Loughrin v. United States

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted August 08, 2014, 8:06 AM

On June 23, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Loughrin v. United States. The question in this case was whether the government must prove that a defendant intended to defraud a bank and expose it to risk of loss in every prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 1344, or whether the government need only prove that a defendant knowingly attempted to defraud someone “to obtain any of the moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property owned by, or under the custody or control of, a financial institution, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises.”

Justice Kagan delivered the opinion of the Court, which held that the government does not need to prove that a defendant charged with violating 18 U. S. C.§1344(2) intended to defraud a bank. The judgment of the Tenth Circuit was affirmed. Justice Kagan's opinion was joined in full by the Chief and Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor. Justices Scalia and Thomas also joined as to Parts I and II, Part III–A except the last paragraph, and the last footnote of Part III–B. In addition, Justice Scalia, joined by Justice Thomas, concurred in part and in the judgment.  Justice Alito filed a separate concurrence in part and in the judgment.

To discuss the case, we have Todd Braunstein, who is counsel at the law firm WilmerHale.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New Post-Decision SCOTUScast: United States v. Clarke

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted August 06, 2014, 12:42 PM

On June 19, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in United States v. Clarke. The question in this case was whether an unsupported allegation that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a summons for an improper purpose entitles an opponent of the summons to an evidentiary hearing to question IRS officials about their reasons for issuing the summons.

Justice Kagan delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court, which held that an allegation of improper purpose does not entitle a taxpayer to examine IRS officials. Rather, the taxpayer may do so when he can point to “specific facts or circumstances plausibly raising an inference of bad faith."  The contrary decision of the Eleventh Circuit was vacated and the case remanded for further proceedings.

To discuss the case, we have Kristin Gutting, an associate professor of law at the Charleston School of Law.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

Lane v. Franks - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted August 04, 2014, 12:25 PM

On June 19, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Lane v. Franks. The question in this case was twofold: First, whether the government is categorically free under the First Amendment to retaliate against a public employee for truthful sworn testimony that was compelled by subpoena and was not a part of the employee’s ordinary job responsibilities; and second, whether qualified immunity precludes a claim for damages in such an action.

Justice Sotomayor delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court, which held that Lane's truthful sworn testimony at a state representative's criminal trials was speech as a citizen on a matter of public concern, and therefore protected.  Even though the testimony was protected, however, Lane's claim against his superior Franks in Franks' individual capacity must be dismissed on grounds of qualified immunity.  The claims against Franks in his official capacity were remanded for further proceedings. Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion, joined by Justices Scalia and Alito. The opinion of the Eleventh Circuit was affirmed in part and reversed in part.

To discuss the case, we have Josh Blackman, who is an Assistant Professor of Law at South Texas College of Law.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New Post-Decision SCOTUScast: Clark v. Rameker

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted August 01, 2014, 9:13 AM

On June 12, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Clark v. Rameker. The question in this case was whether an individual retirement account that a debtor has inherited is exempt from the debtor's bankruptcy estate under Section 522 of the Bankruptcy Code, which exempts "retirement funds to the extent that those funds are in a fund or account that is exempt from taxation" under certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.

Justice Sotomayor delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court, which held that funds contained in an inherited IRA do not qualify as "retirement funds" within the meaning of the Bankruptcy Code exemption. The judgment of the Seventh Circuit was affirmed.

To discuss the case, we have Jennifer Spreng, an associate professor of law at the Arizona Summit Law School.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New Post-Decision SCOTUScast: Hall v. Florida

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted July 28, 2014, 9:51 AM

On May 27, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Hall v. Florida. The question in the case was whether the Florida scheme for identifying intellectually disabled defendants in capital cases violated Atkins v. Virginia. In an opinion delivered by Justice Kennedy, the Court held that the relevant Florida law, under which all further exploration of intellectual disability is foreclosed if a prisoner is deemed to have an IQ above 70,­ creates an unacceptable risk that persons with intellectual disability will be executed, and thus is unconstitutional.  Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined the opinion of the Court. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, which Chief Justice Roberts, as well as Justices Scalia and Thomas, joined. The decision of the Supreme Court of Florida was reversed and the case remanded.

To discuss the case, we have Mr. Kent Scheidegger, Legal Director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New Post-Decision SCOTUScast: Scialabba v. Cuellar de Osorio

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted July 10, 2014, 1:40 PM

On June 9, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Scialabba v. Cuellar de Osorio (formerly Mayorkas v. Cuellar de Osorio). This case involved two questions: (1) Whether Section 1153(h)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act– which provides rules for determining whether particular aliens qualify as “children” so that they can obtain visas or adjustments of their immigration status as derivative beneficiaries of sponsored family member immigrants (also known as “primary beneficiaries”) – unambiguously grants relief to all aliens who qualify as “child” derivative beneficiaries at the time a visa petition is filed but age out of qualification by the time the visa becomes available to the primary beneficiary; and (2) whether the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) reasonably interpreted Section 1153(h)(3).

Although the District Court deferred to the BIA’s determination that only those petitions that can be seamlessly converted from one family preference category to another without the need for a new sponsor are entitled to conversion under §1153(h)(3), the en banc Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that the provision unambiguously entitled all aged-out derivative beneficiaries to automatic conversion and priority date retention.

By a fractured vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit. Justice Kagan announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion joined by Justices Kennedy and Breyer, concluding that the BIA’s textually reasonable construction of §1153(h)(3)’s ambiguous language was entitled to deference. The Chief Justice, joined by Justice Scalia, agreed that the BIA’s interpretation was reasonable, but not because an agency has authority to resolve direct conflicts within a statute. The BIA’s reasonable interpretation of §1153(h)(3) was simply consistent with the ordinary meaning of the statutory terms, with the established meaning of automatic conversion in immigration law, and with the structure of the family-based immigration system. Justice Alito dissented. Justice Sotomayor dissented joined by Justice Breyer in full and Justice Thomas except as to footnote 3.

To discuss the case, we have Margaret Stock, who is an attorney with the Anchorage office of Cascadia Cross Border Law.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New Post-Decision SCOTUScast: National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted July 02, 2014, 10:32 AM

On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning. This case presented three questions arising from President Obama’s attempt to make three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board or NLRB. First, it asked whether the President can exercise the recess appointment power during a temporary recess that occurs while the Senate is still in session, or is instead limited to recesses between enumerated sessions. Second, the case asked whether the President may exercise the recess appointment power to fill any vacancy that exists during a recess--including vacancies that arose before the recess occurred--or whether that power is limited to vacancies that arise during the recess.  Finally, the case asked whether the Senate is in continuous recess if, though effectively out of town, it continues to convene every three days in brief pro forma sessions.

In a 9-0 decision, the Court found President Obama’s attempted recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board invalid.  In his opinion for the Court, Justice Breyer ruled that the Recess Appointments Clause empowers the President to fill any existing vacancy during any recess, whether it be intra-session or intersession, of sufficient length. He also held that the phrase 'vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate,' applies both to vacancies that first arise during a recess and to vacancies that arise before a recess but continue to exist during the recess. Finally, he concluded that because the Senate was in session during its pro forma sessions, the recess during which the President made the appointments was only 3 days, and therefore too short to trigger the President’s recess appointment authority.  The appointments were therefore invalid. Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined the opinion of the Court. Justice Scalia filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, which the Chief Justice and Justices Thomas and Alito joined. The opinion of the D.C. Circuit, which held that the recess appointments fell outside the scope of the Clause, was affirmed.

To discuss the case, we have Noel J. Francisco, Partner, Jones Day; Prof. Kristin E. Hickman, Harlan Albert Rogers Professor in Law; Associate Director, Corporate Institute, University of Minnesota Law School; and Prof. Michael B. Rappaport, Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation Professor of Law, and Director, Center for the Study of Constitutional Originalism, University of San Diego School of Law.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New Post-Decision SCOTUScast: Burt v. Titlow

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted June 19, 2014, 3:32 PM

On November 5, 2013, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Burt v. Titlow. This case involves an appeal by the State of Michigan from a federal grant of habeas relief to a state prisoner. The question was whether a federal appellate court, the Sixth Circuit, erred in granting habeas relief to a prisoner on the grounds that she was denied effective assistance of counsel when her attorney allowed her to withdraw a manslaughter plea and maintain a claim of innocence, with the result that she was convicted of second-degree murder, a more serious crime.

By a vote of 9-0, the Supreme Court reversed the Sixth Circuit. In an opinion delivered by Justice Alito, the Court held that the Sixth Circuit failed to apply the "doubly deferential" standard of review recognized by the Court's case law when it refused to credit a lower state court's reasonable factual finding and assumed that counsel was ineffective where the record was silent. Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined Justice Alito's opinion. Justice Sotomayor also filed a concurring opinion and Justice Ginsburg concurred in the judgment only.

To discuss the case, we have Ron Eisenberg, Deputy District Attorney, Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New Post-Decision SCOTUScast: Wood v. Moss

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted June 11, 2014, 2:55 PM

On May 27, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Wood v. Moss. This lawsuit against several Secret Service agents presented two questions: one, did the court of appeals err in denying qualified immunity to agents protecting the president by evaluating the respondent’s claim of viewpoint discrimination at a high level of generality, and concluding that pro- and anti-Bush demonstrators should have been positioned an equal distance from the President while he was dining on the outdoor patio and while he was travelling by motorcade? Two, have respondents adequately pleaded viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment when no factual allegations support their claim of discriminatory motive and there was an obvious security-based rationale for moving the nearby anti-Bush group and not the farther-away pro-Bush group?

In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Ginsburg, the Court ruled that the Secret Service agents are entitled to immunity. The decision of the Ninth Circuit was reversed.

To discuss the case, we have Patrick Garry, who is a professor of law at the University of South Dakota School of Law.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New Post-Decision SCOTUScast: Robers v. United States

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted June 04, 2014, 11:10 AM

On May 5, 2014, The Supreme Court announced its decision in Robers v. United States. This case involves the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act of 1996, which requires one who has obtained property fraudulently to return it or (if return is not possible) pay “an amount equal to . . . the value of the property” less “the value (as of the date the property is returned) of any part of the property that is returned.”  The question here is whether a defendant who fraudulently obtained a loan, for which he provided a mortgage as collateral, returned “any part of the property”  when his lenders foreclosed on the mortgage.

In a unanimous decision delivered by Justice Breyer, the Court held that the statutory phrase “any part of the property” refers only to the specific property lost by the victim, which in the case of a fraudulently obtained loan is the money lent.  Thus, no part of the property is returned until the collateral is sold and the victim receives money from the sale.  Thus, any amount due is reduced not by the value of the collateral when the victim received it, but by the value of the proceeds the victim received when the collateral was sold.

The decision of the Seventh Circuit was affirmed. Justice Sotomayor filed a concurring opinion, which Justice Ginsburg joined.

To discuss the case, we have Peter Thomson, who is a partner at Fowler Rodriguez.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New Post-Argument SCOTUScast: POM Wonderful LLC v. The Coca Cola Company

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted May 30, 2014, 4:09 PM

On April 21, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in POM Wonderful LLC v. The Coca Cola Company. This case involves the Lanham Act, which allows individuals to sue for harms resulting from misleading representations of goods or services in commerce. The question in this case is whether a private party can bring a Lanham Act claim challenging a product label that complies with regulations under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

To discuss the case, we have Prof. William Kratzke, Cecil C. Humphreys Professor of Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New Post-Argument SCOTUScast: CTS Corp. v. Waldburger

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted May 29, 2014, 4:00 PM

On April 23, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger. The question in this case is whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit correctly interpreted the preemption provision of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to apply to state statutes of repose--which typically impose a final time limit for bringing suit a certain amount of time after the defendant took action--in addition to state statutes of limitations, which simply impose time limits based on when a particular cause of action accrues.

To discuss the case, we have Allyson Ho, a partner at Morgan Lewis.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New Post-Decision SCOTUScast: Navarette v. California

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted May 20, 2014, 8:30 AM

On April 22, 2014 the Supreme Court issued its decision in Navarette v. California. The question in this case was whether the Fourth Amendment requires an officer who receives an anonymous tip regarding a drunk or reckless driver to corroborate dangerous driving before stopping the vehicle.

In a 5-4 decision delivered by Justice Thomas, the Court held that the traffic stop in this case complied with the Fourth Amendment because, under the totality of the circumstances, the officer had reasonable suspicion that the truck’s driver was intoxicated. Chief Justice Roberts as well as Justices Kennedy, Breyer, and Alito joined the opinion of the Court. Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion, which Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. The judgment of the Court of Appeal of the State of California, First Appellate District, was affirmed.

To discuss the case, we have Erin Sheley, who is a Visiting Associate Professor at the George Washington University School of Law. Listen here.

Categories: SCOTUScasts

New Post-Argument SCOTUScast: American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc.

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted May 16, 2014, 4:38 PM

On April 22, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc. This case involves the question of whether, under sections 101 and 106 of the Copyright Act, a company “publicly performs” a copyrighted television program--a privilege normally reserved to the copyright holder--when it retransmits a broadcast of that program to thousands of paid subscribers over the Internet.

To discuss the case, we have Babette Boliek, Associate Professor of Law at the Pepperdine University School of Law.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New Post-Argument SCOTUScast: Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted May 15, 2014, 7:24 PM

On April 22, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus. The question in this case is twofold. First, whether, to challenge a speech-suppressive law, a person whose speech is prohibited must prove that authorities would definitely and successfully prosecute him, as the Sixth Circuit holds, or whether the court should presume that a credible threat of prosecution exists absent the law falling into disuse or a firm commitment by prosecutors not to enforce the law, as seven other circuits have hold. The second question is whether the Sixth Circuit erred by holding, in direct conflict with the Eighth Circuit, that state laws prohibiting “false” political speech are not subject to pre-enforcement First Amendment review as long as the speaker maintains that his speech is true, even if others who enforce the law disagree.

To discuss the case, we have John G. Malcolm, Director, Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, The Heritage Foundation.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

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