Petitions to Watch For From SCOTUS’ Long Conference

Each October before the Supreme Court begins its term, the justices meet for the “long conference” to review the Court’s agenda.  The justice held this conference for the upcoming term two days ago on September 25th.  During this conference the justices meet to discuss petitions to the Court for the upcoming term.  This is the…

The Court’s Recent Lack of Support for the Federal Government’s Agenda

This is the first of a series of two posts examining the federal government’s litigation in the Supreme Court. While this post looks at the last several terms of government litigation, the next will analyze the government’s upcoming cases.   The federal government, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), is the most frequent…

The Year of the Patent

Possibly due to its eight Justice configuration, the Supreme Court heard a unique slate of cases this term with no noted landmark cases or decisions.  Then again perhaps landmark is in the eye of the beholder.  This term the Supreme Court heard six patent cases which conceivably is the most such cases the Supreme Court has heard…

The Supreme Court and the Next Generation of Executive Power Cases

Over the past several months an entirely new class of executive power-related concerns have percolated through the national media and have begun burgeoning in federal courts.  Prior to the election of President-Elect Trump, few knew about the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution and how it could be violated.  Just this morning Trump’s comments on Twitter…

Breaking Down Arguments in Samsung v. Apple

On Tuesday the Justices heard oral arguments in the highly anticipated patent case, Samsung v. Apple.  With this case, the Justices wrestled with the question of whether Samsung infringed on Apple’s front screen and interface on the IPhone. The stakes are quite high as the appellate court upheld a $400-million verdict against Samsung. While patent…

Redistricting Precedent in Light of Evenwel

The Supreme Court decided Evenwel v. Abbott this week – a case with vast implications for legislative districts.  Some see the decision as snubbing Republicans by ruling that states and localities should use total rather than voting population to draw these districts.  Other commentary views the ruling as sufficiently narrow to allow future litigation in the same…

Zubik and the Free Exercise Context

(image via The Atlantic) One of the most anticipated decisions of the current Supreme Court Term is forthcoming in the case Zubik v. Burwell.  Zubik follows in the footsteps of another recent case: Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, 134 S.Ct. 2751 (2014).  Both cases deal with First Amendment challenges under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to…

Friedrichs as a Per Curiam Decision

The Court released its decision today in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Assn.  The decision which has garnered considerable attention is a single sentence reading: “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.”  From this we know the Justices split 4-4 and so there was no precedential value to the ruling, and that by doing this the Court…

Atypical Oral Arguments In Puerto Rico v. Franklin CA Trust

On Tuesday the Court heard arguments in Puerto Rico v. Franklin Cal. Tax-Free Trust a case that examines whether Congress precluded Puerto Rico from the ability to restructure its public utility debt. Specifically the case looks at whether Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code applies to Puerto Rico.  Much of the case and the arguments…

Analysis of the Zubik Arguments

What was said over the course of the 90 minute the oral arguments today in Zubik? Quite a bit. Commentators seem to think the Justices may split their votes four to four (e.g. Adam Liptak from the New York Times) with the Justices predominately to the right: Kennedy, Alito, Thomas, and Roberts voting that the…