FedSoc Blog

New SCOTUScast: Trevino v. Thaler and McQuiggin v. Perkins

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted June 28, 2013, 5:13 PM

On May 28,  the Supreme Court announced its decision in Trevino v. Thaler and McQuiggin v. Perkins.  Both cases involve procedural issues relating to habeas proceedings.

The question in Trevino involved the Court’s 2012 decision Martinez v. Ryan, which holds that ineffective assistance of counsel in state post-conviction proceedings--with regard to claims that could not be raised on direct appeal--excuses the defendant’s failure to raise such claims in the state post-conviction proceedings, and therefore allows him to raise them for the first time in a subsequent federal habeas proceeding.  The question in Trevino was whether Martinez applies when it is unclear under state law whether the claims in question could have been raised on direct appeal.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Breyer, the court held by a vote of 5-4 that the good cause exception in Martinez does apply when a State’s procedural framework, by reason of its design and operation, makes it highly unlikely in a typical case that a defendant will have a meaningful opportunity to raise an ineffective assistance-of-trial-counsel claim on direct appeal.  Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined the majority opinion.  Chief Justice Roberts filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Alito.  Justice Scalia also filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Thomas.

The question in McQuiggin was whether, under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, there is an actual-innocence exception to the requirement that a petitioner show an extraordinary circumstance that “prevented timely filing” of a habeas petition, and if so, whether there is an additional actual-innocence exception to the requirement that a petitioner demonstrate that “he has been pursuing his rights diligently.”

In an opinion delivered by Justice Ginsburg, the court held by a vote of 5-4 that actual innocence, if proven, serves as a gateway through which a habeas petitioner may pass in spite of any procedural bars.  The untimeliness of a petition in such cases, the Court explained, should be treated as a factor bearing on the reliability of evidence purporting to show actual innocence.   Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined the majority opinion.  Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas, and by Justice Alito in Parts I, II and III.

To discuss the cases, we have Ward Campbell, the Supervising Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New SCOTUScast: Maryland v. King

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted June 27, 2013, 3:14 PM

On June 3, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Maryland v. King.  The question in this case was whether the Fourth Amendment permits state law enforcement officials to collect and analyze DNA from people who have been arrested and charged with serious crimes.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Kennedy, the court held by a vote of 5-4 that the Fourth Amendment does permit police to take DNA samples in an arrest for a serious offense supported by probable cause where the person is detained to be held in custody.  Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

To discuss the case, we have Mary Beth Buchanan, an Ethics and Reputational Risk Officer at the United Nations and a  former United States Attorney.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New SCOTUScast:  Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted June 26, 2013, 2:08 PM

On June 17, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona.  This case involves an Arizona law that requires voter-registration officials to “reject” any application for registration--including one submitted via a Federal Form--that is not accompanied by concrete evidence of citizenship.  The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), however, requires that states “accept and use” the Federal Form in question, which does not require documentary evidence of citizenship.  The question is therefore whether Arizona’s evidence of-citizenship requirement, as applied to Federal Form applicants, is pre-empted by the NVRA’s mandate that States “accept and use” the Federal Form.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Scalia, the court held by a vote of 7-2 that the National Voter Registration Act precludes Arizona law from requiring a Federal Form applicant to submit information beyond that required by the form itself.  Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined the majority opinion.  Justice Kennedy joined Justice Scalia’s opinion in part and filed a separate opinion concurring in part and in the judgment.  Justices Thomas and Alito filed dissenting opinions.

To discuss the case, we have Tom Caso, an asociate professor at Chapman University School of Law.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New SCOTUScast: American Trucking Associations v. City of Los Angeles

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted June 25, 2013, 5:41 PM

On June 13, the Supreme Court announced its decision in American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles. The question in this case was whether federal law preempts certain provisions of a “concession agreement” that trucking companies must sign before they can transport cargo at the Port of Los Angeles.

In a unanimous opinion by Justice Kagan, the Court held that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act does preempt the provisions in the concession agreements between the companies.  Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion.

To discuss the case, we have Tom Caso, an associate professor at Chapman University School of Law.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New SCOTUScast: Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted June 24, 2013, 5:28 PM

On June 13, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.  The issue in this case was whether human genes are patentable.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Thomas, the Court held by a vote of 9-0 that a naturally occurring DNA segment is not patentable merely because it has been isolated, but that “complementary” DNA, which is synthetic and does not occur in nature, is patent-eligible.  Justice Scalia filed an opinion concurring in part and in the judgment.

To discuss the case, we have Gregory Dolin, associate professor and co-director of the Center for Medicine and Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New SCOTUScast: Peugh v. United States

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted June 21, 2013, 5:36 PM

On June 19, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Peugh v. United States.   The question in this case was whether a court violates the Constitution’s prohibition on “Ex Post Facto” laws by using the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines in effect at the time of a defendant’s sentencing rather than those in effect at the time of the underlying offense, when the newer guidelines provide a higher applicable sentencing range and thereby expose the defendant to a longer recommended sentence.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Sotomayor, the Court held by a vote of 5-4 that the Ex Post Facto clause precludes federal courts from using sentencing guidelines imposed after the defendant committed the underlying crime when the newer guidelines propose a higher applicable sentencing range for that crime.  Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan joined the majority opinion in full, and Justice Kennedy joined the opinion in all except Part III-C.  Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined in Parts I and II-C by Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Scalia, and Justice Alito.  Justice Alito also filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Scalia.

To discuss the case, we have Carissa Byrne Hessick, professor at S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah.

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New SCOTUScast: Metrish v. Lancaster

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted June 20, 2013, 7:00 PM

On May 20, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Metrish v. Lancaster.  The question in this case was whether the petitioner was entitled to federal habeas relief when, in his retrial for murder, Michigan courts relied on an intervening state supreme court decision to deny petitioner’s attempt to reassert the same diminished capacity defense he had raised (unsuccessfully) at his original trial.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Ginsburg, the Court held unanimously that the petitioner was not entitled to federal habeas relief because the retroactive application of a state supreme court decision eliminating the diminished capacity defense was not an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law.

To discuss the case, we have J. Richard Broughton, assistant professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New SCOTUScast: PPL Corporation and Subsidiaries v. Commissioner of IRS

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted June 18, 2013, 2:08 PM

On May 20, the Supreme Court announced its decision in PPL Corporation and Subsidiaries v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue. The case considered whether, in determining the “creditability” of a foreign tax--meaning the extent to which a U.S. company paying the foreign tax can claim a corresponding credit against its U.S. taxes--courts can and should take account of the practical operation and intended effect of the foreign tax.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Thomas, the Court held unanimously that the foreign tax was creditable against federal income taxes.  Justice Sotomayor filed a concurring opinion.

To discuss the case, we have Christina Sandefur, a staff attorney at the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New SCOTUScast: City of Arlington v. FCC

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted June 14, 2013, 4:58 PM

On May 20, the Supreme Court announced its decision in City of Arlington v. FCC.  The case considered whether a court should give so-called Chevron deference to a government agency’s determination regarding its own jurisdiction.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Scalia, the Court held by a vote of 6-3 that courts must apply Chevron to an agency’s interpretation of a statutory ambiguity regarding its own jurisdiction.  Justices Thomas, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined the majority opinion.  Justice Breyer filed an opinion concurring in part and in the judgment.  Chief Justice Roberts filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices Kennedy and Alito.

To discuss the case, we have Emily Bremer, an Attorney Advisor to the Administrative Conference of the United States. Ms. Bremer’s views are her own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Administrative Conference of the United States or it members.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New SCOTUScast: Evans v. Michigan

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted June 10, 2013, 5:28 PM

On February 20, 2013, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Evans v. Michigan.  The case considered the scope of the Fifth Amendment’s Double Jeopardy Clause, which protects an acquitted defendant from being retried for the same offense.  Here, the question was whether the Double Jeopardy Clause bars a retrial when the trial judge, erroneously believing that a particular fact was an element of the charged offense when it actually was not, directed an acquittal of the defendant because the prosecution had failed to prove the so-called fact.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Sotomayor, the Court held by a vote of 8-1 that the Double Jeopardy Clause bars retrial following a directed verdict of acquittal, even if the trial judge based his decision on erroneous beliefs about the elements of the crime.  Chief Justice Roberts, as well as Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan joined the majority opinion.  Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion.

To discuss the case, we have William Otis, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and a former federal prosecutor.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New SCOTUScast: Bullock v. BankChampaign

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted June 07, 2013, 6:13 PM

On May 13,  the Supreme Court announced its decision in Bullock v. BankChampaign, a bankruptcy case.  Bankruptcy law provides debtors a means of discharging their otherwise unmanageable debts, but there are exceptions.  This case involved an exception for debts incurred through a type of misconduct known as “defalcation.”  The question here concerned the degree of trustee misconduct required to trigger the defalcation exception, and whether such conduct can include actions that did not actually result in a loss of trust property.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Breyer, the Court held unanimously that the “defalcation” exception requires that the individual have knowledge of, or act with gross recklessness with respect to, the improper nature of the fiduciary behavior in question.  The Court vacated the decision of the lower federal court and remanded the case for further proceedings. 

To discuss the case, we have Zvi Rosen, an adjunct professor at New York Law School.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New SCOTUScast: Genesis HealthCare Corp v. Symczyk

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted June 06, 2013, 5:56 PM

On April 16, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Genesis HealthCare Corp v. Symczyk.  This case concerned the scope of federal courts’ power to adjudicate cases.  The question was whether a case becomes moot, and must therefore be dismissed, when the lone plaintiff in an uncertified collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act receives an offer from all defendants to satisfy her claims in full.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Thomas, the Court held by a vote of 5-4 that the plaintiff’s suit was appropriately dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.  Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Alito joined the majority opinion.  Justice Kagan filed a dissenting opinion which was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor.

To discuss the case, we have Mark Moller, an associate professor at DePaul University College of Law.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New SCOTUScast: Amgen Inc. v. Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted June 05, 2013, 3:56 PM

On February 27, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Amgen Inc. v. Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds. The question in this case is twofold: (a) whether, in misrepresentation actions under SEC Rule 10-b(5), plaintiffs asserting a fraud-on-the-market theory must prove materiality before they can proceed with a class action, and (b) whether the defendants are permitted to present evidence rebutting a fraud-on-the-market theory at the class certification stage.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Ginsburg, the Court held by a vote of 6-3 that proof of materiality is not necessary for certification of a class-action that seeks damages for violations of the SEC rule; nor did the lower court err in declining to consider rebuttal evidence at the class-certification stage.  Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined the opinion.  Justice Alito filed a concurring opinion.  Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion.  Justice Thomas filed a separate dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Kennedy and Justice Scalia in all except Part 1-B.

To discuss the case, we have Charles Korsmo, an assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

New SCOTUScast: Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted June 04, 2013, 3:55 PM

On April 16, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.  The case involves the Indian Child Welfare Act (IWCA) of 1978, and considers the following: 1) whether a biological father who initially renounced custodial rights over his daughter can invoke the ICWA to block her adoption by a non-Indian couple; and 2) whether the ICWA’s definition of “parent” includes an unwed biological father who has not followed state rules for obtaining legal status as a parent.

To discuss the case we have Tom Gede, a commissioner on the Indian Law and Order Commission and of counsel with Bingham McCutchen LLP.

Click here to view this article on the source site »

Categories: SCOTUScasts

New SCOTUScast: Boyer v. Louisiana

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted May 30, 2013, 12:29 PM

On April 29, the Supreme Court issued an opinion in Boyer v. Louisiana. The question in this case was whether, when a criminal death penalty trial is delayed due to the state’s failure to fund defense counsel, that delay should count against against the state in a subsequent “speedy trial” analysis.

The case was dismissed as improvidently granted.  Justice Alito filed a concurring opinion, which was joined by Justices Scalia and Thomas, arguing that the factual record demonstrated  most of the delay at issue was not actually caused by the state breakdown in funding.  Justice Sotomayor filed a dissent, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan, that would have reached the merits, held the state responsible for the delay, and remanded the case for further proceedings.

To discuss the case, we have Amy Moore, an associate professor of law at Belmont University College of Law.

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Categories: SCOTUScasts

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