DiscoverSCOTUScast
SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast

Author: The Federalist Society

Subscribed: 457Played: 2,057
Share

Description

SCOTUScast is a project of the Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies. This audio broadcast series provides expert commentary on U.S. Supreme Court cases as they are argued and issued. The Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker. We hope these broadcasts, like all of our programming, will serve to stimulate discussion and further exchange regarding important current legal issues. View our entire SCOTUScast archive at http://www.federalistsociety.org/SCOTUScast
197 Episodes
Reverse
Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 - Post-Decision SCOTUScast
On June 27, 2018, the Supreme Court decided Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, a case considering the forced subsidizing of unions by public employees, even if they choose not to join the union or strongly disagree with many positions the union takes in collective bargaining. Under Illinois law, public employees are permitted to unionize; and if a majority of employees in a particular bargaining union vote to unionize, then that union is designated as the exclusive representative of all the employees in collective bargaining, even those members who choose not to join the union. Non-members are required to pay an “agency fee,” which is a percentage of the full union dues and covers union expenses “germane” to the union’s collective bargaining activities, but cannot cover any political or ideological projects sponsored by the union. Mark Janus works at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. The employees in his unit are represented by American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 (“the union”). Janus did not join the union because he opposes many of its positions, including those taken in collective bargaining, but was required to pay 78.06% of full union dues as an “agency fee”--a fee resulting in a payment of $44.58 per month, and about $535 per year. Janus and two other state employees joined a lawsuit brought by the Governor of Illinois against the union in federal district court, seeking a declaration that the statutory imposition of agency fees was unconstitutional. The District Court dismissed the Governor for lack of standing, but proceeded to reject the claims of Janus and the other employees on the merits, finding their challenge foreclosed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Ed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed, but the Supreme Court granted certiorari to reconsider whether public-sector agency-fee arrangements are constitutional. By a vote of 5-4, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Seventh Circuit and remanded the case. In an opinion delivered by Justice Alito, the Court overruled Abood and held that state extraction of agency fees from nonconsenting public-sector employees violates the First Amendment; thus states and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees. Justice Alito’s majority opinion was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and Gorsuch. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion. Justice Kagan also filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor. To discuss the case, we have Raymond LaJeunesse, Vice President & Legal Director, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, FL - Post-Decision SCOTUScast
On June 18, 2018, the Supreme Court decided Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, FL, a case involving a claim of retaliatory arrest in violation of the First Amendment. Fane Lozman moved to Riviera Beach, FL in 2006, where he lived on a floating home in the Riviera Beach Marina--a part of the city designated for redevelopment under the City’s new redevelopment plan that would use eminent domain to revitalize the waterfront. After hearing news of the plan, Lozman became an “outspoken critic,” and filed suit against the City in June 2006 after a special City Council emergency meeting to push through the redevelopment plan before the Governor of Florida signed a bill into law that would prohibit the use of eminent domain for private development. Later at a public City Council meeting in November 2006, Lozman began to discuss the arrest of a former county official during the public comments portion of the meeting. He was interrupted by a member of the City Council, who, after exchanging words with Lozman, called a city police officer to dismiss Lozman from the podium. Lozman refused to leave the podium without finishing his comments, the police officer warned him that he would be arrested if he did not comply, and, upon the continuance of his comments, Lozman was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence (charges later dismissed). In 2008, Lozman filed suit in federal district court against the City of Riviera Beach, claiming that his arrest had constituted unlawful retaliation by the City due to Lozman’s earlier opposition to the redevelopment plan. The jury found that the arrest had been supported by probable cause, which the District Court concluded must defeat Lozman’s First Amendment claim of retaliatory arrest. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed that judgment, but the Supreme Court then granted certiorari to address whether the existence of probable cause defeats a First Amendment claim for retaliatory arrest.By a vote of 8-1, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the Eleventh Circuit and remanded the case. In an opinion delivered by Justice Kennedy, the Court held that the existence of probable cause for Lozman’s arrest for disrupting a city council meeting did not bar his First Amendment retaliatory arrest claim under the circumstances of this case. Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Gorsuch. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion. To discuss the case, we have Lisa Soronen, Executive Director of the State & Local Legal Center.
Washington v. United States - Post-Decision SCOTUScast
On June 11, 2018, the Supreme Court decided Washington v. United States, a case considering off-reservation fishing rights of multiple Native American Tribes in the State of Washington. The 1854-1855 Stevens Treaties were a series of treaties between several Native American Tribes and the State of Washington. As part of these treaties, the Tribes relinquished land, watersheds, and offshore waters adjacent to a particular area, “Case Area,” in exchange for guaranteed off-reservation fishing rights. In 2001, twenty-one tribes and the United States complained in federal district court that the State had been building and maintaining culverts that impeded the transit of mature and juvenile salmon between the sea and their spawning grounds. In 2007, the district court issued an injunction requiring the State to correct these culverts, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed.The Supreme Court granted certiorari to address (1) whether a treaty “right of taking fish, at all usual and accustomed grounds and stations ... in common with all citizens” guaranteed “that the number of fish would always be sufficient to provide a ‘moderate living’ to the tribes”; (2) whether the district court erred in dismissing the state's equitable defenses against the federal government where the federal government signed these treaties in the 1850s, for decades told the state to design culverts a particular way, and then filed suit in 2001 claiming that the culvert design it provided violates the treaties it signed; and (3) whether the district court’s injunction violates federalism and comity principles by requiring Washington to replace hundreds of culverts, at a cost of several billion dollars, when many of the replacements will have no impact on salmon, and plaintiffs showed no clear connection between culvert replacement and tribal fisheries.In a per curiam opinion, an equally divided Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Ninth Circuit. To discuss the case, we have Lance Sorenson, Olin-Darling Fellow in Constitutional Law at Stanford Law School.
Gill v. Whitford - Post-Decision SCOTUScast
On June 18, 2018, the Supreme Court decided Gill v. Whitford, a case considering claims of partisan gerrymandering. In Wisconsin’s 2010 elections, Republicans won the governorship and acquired control of the state senate. In 2011, pursuant to the state constitution’s requirement that the legislature must redraw the boundaries of its districts following each census, the Wisconsin legislature adopted a redistricting plan, Act 43, for state legislative districts. With Act 43 in effect Republicans expanded their legislative control in subsequent elections, reportedly winning 60 of 99 seats in the State Assembly with 48.6% of the statewide two-party vote in 2012, and 63 of 99 seats with 52% of the statewide two-party vote in 2014. In 2015 twelve Wisconsin voters sued in federal court, alleging that Act 43 constituted a statewide partisan gerrymander in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Defendants’ motions to dismiss and for summary judgment were denied, and following trial a divided three-judge district court panel invalidated Act 43 statewide. Act 43, the majority concluded, impermissibly burdened the representational rights of Democratic voters by impeding their ability to translate their votes into legislative seats even when Republicans were in an electoral minority. The court enjoined further use of Act 43 and ordered that a remedial redistricting plan be enacted, but the United States Supreme Court stayed that judgment pending resolution of this appeal.By a vote of 9-0, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the district court and remanded the case for a new trial. In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held that the plaintiffs--Wisconsin Democratic voters who rested their claim of unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering on statewide injury--had failed to demonstrate Article III standing. Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion of the court, in which Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. Justices Thomas and Gorsuch joined except as to Part III. Justice Kagan filed a concurring opinion in which Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor joined. Justice Thomas filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, which was joined by Justice Gorsuch. To discuss the case, we have David Casazza, Associate at Gibson Dunn.
McCoy v. Louisiana - Post-Decision SCOTUScast
On May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court decided McCoy v. Louisiana, a case considering whether defense counsel may--against the defendant’s express wishes--concede his client’s guilt in an effort to avoid the death penalty.In 2008, Robert McCoy was indicted on three counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of the mother, stepfather, and son of his estranged wife. McCoy pleaded not guilty, maintaining that he was out of state at the time of the murder. In 2010, his relationship with the court-appointed public defender broke down, and in March 2010 Larry English became McCoy’s defense attorney. English concluded that the evidence against McCoy was overwhelming and told McCoy that he would concede McCoy’s guilt in an effort to avoid the death penalty; McCoy adamantly opposed English’s strategy. At trial, English nevertheless indicated repeatedly to the jury that McCoy had caused the victims’ deaths and pleaded for mercy. McCoy protested unsuccessfully to the trial judge and was permitted to testify to his innocence, but was ultimately convicted and sentenced to death. The Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s ruling that defense counsel had authority to concede guilt over McCoy’s objection as a strategy to avoid a death sentence. In light of a division of opinion among state courts of last resort on whether it is unconstitutional to allow defense counsel to concede guilt over the defendant’s intransigent and unambiguous objection, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari. By a vote of 6-3, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Louisiana Supreme Court and remanded the case for a new trial. In an opinion delivered by Justice Ginsburg, the Court held that the Sixth Amendment guarantees a defendant the right to choose the fundamental objective of his defense and insist that counsel refrain from admitting guilt, even when counsel’s experience-based view is that confessing guilt offers the defendant the best chance to avoid the death penalty. Justice Ginsburg delivered the opinion of the Court, which was joined by the Chief Justice, and Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices Thomas and Gorsuch. To discuss the case, we have Jay Schweikert, Policy Analyst with the Cato Institute’s Project on Criminal Justice.
Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association - Post-Decision SCOTUScast
On May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court decided Murphy v. NCAA, a case involving a conflict between state-authorized sports gambling and a federal statute: the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). PASPA prohibits state-sanctioned gambling with respect to amateur and professional sporting events. Among other things, the statute allows sports leagues whose events are the subject of betting schemes to bring an action to enjoin any gambling. PASPA did except certain states from its prohibitions, including New Jersey--but only if New Jersey established its sports gambling scheme within one year of PASPA’s enactment. New Jersey did not do so, and in fact prohibited sports gambling until a 2011 referendum amended the state constitution to allow it.Thereafter, New Jersey enacted the 2012 Sports Wagering Act, which created a government-regulated sports betting scheme. Invoking PASPA, five sports leagues sued to enjoin the 2012 law. New Jersey countered that PASPA was unconstitutional under the federal anti-commandeering doctrine. The District Court deemed PASPA constitutional and enjoined implementation of the wagering law. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari. In 2014, New Jersey enacted a new gambling law which repealed certain restrictions on “the placements and acceptance of wagers” on sporting events so long as those events did not involve New Jersey collegiate teams (or other in-state collegiate sporting events). New Jersey contended that this law was admissible under PASPA because it did not actively authorize sports-betting. Once again sports leagues sued to enjoin the law as a violation of PASPA, and prevailed in federal district court. The Third Circuit, sitting en banc, again affirmed, holding that PASPA did not commandeer New Jersey in a way that ran afoul of the federal Constitution. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to address whether a federal statute that prohibits modification or repeal of state-law prohibitions on private conduct impermissibly commandeers the regulatory power of the states. By a vote of 6-3, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Third Circuit. In an opinion delivered by Justice Alito, the Court held that the provisions of PAPSA that prohibit state authorization and licensing of sports gambling schemes violate the Constitution’s anticommandeering rule, and cannot be severed from the remainder of the statute, which collapses as a result.Justice Alito’s majority opinion was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Kagan, and Gorsuch. Justice Breyer joined to all except as to Part VI-B. Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion. Justice Breyer filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part. Justice Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Sotomayor joined, and in which Justice Breyer joined in part. To discuss the case, we have Elbert Lin, Partner at Hunton & Williams, LLP.
Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC - Post-Decision SCOTUScast
On April 24, 2018, the Supreme Court decided Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC, a case considering whether corporations may be sued under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS).Between 2004 and 2010, survivors of several terrorist attacks in the Middle East (or family members or estate representatives of the victims) filed lawsuits in federal district court in New York against Arab Bank, PLC, an international bank headquartered in Jordan. Plaintiffs alleged that Arab Bank had financed and facilitated the attacks in question, and they sought redress under, among other laws, the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). The district court ultimately dismissed those ATS claims based on the 2010 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. (“Kiobel I”) which concluded that ATS claims could not be brought against corporations, because the law of nations did not recognize corporate liability. The U.S. Supreme Court later affirmed the judgment in Kiobel (“Kiobel II”) but on a different basis: the presumption against extraterritorial application of statutes. In Jesner, the Second Circuit, invoking its precedent in Kiobel I--and finding nothing to the contrary in the Supreme Court’s Kiobel II decision--affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ ATS claims on the grounds that the ATS does not apply to alleged international law violations by a corporation. This sharpened a split among the circuit courts of appeals on the issue, and the Supreme Court granted certiorari to resolve the dispute.By a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Second Circuit. In an opinion delivered by Justice Kennedy, the Court held that foreign corporations may not be defendants in suits brought under the Alien Tort Statute. Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II-B-I, and II-C, joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch--and an opinion with respect to Parts II-A, II-B-2, II-B-3, and III, joined by the Chief Justice and Justice Thomas. Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion. Justices Alito and Gorsuch also filed opinions concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan. To discuss the case, we have Eugene Kontorovich, Professor of Law at Northwestern School of Law.
Wilson v. Sellers - Post-Decision SCOTUScast
On April 17, 2018, the Supreme Court decided Wilson v. Sellers, a case involving the standard federal courts should use to analyze a state appellate court’s summary denial of habeas relief when applying federal habeas law. In 1996, Marion Wilson was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, and both his conviction and sentence were confirmed on direct appeal. Wilson then sought habeas relief in state superior court, claiming that his trial counsel offered ineffective assistance in investigating mitigation evidence for purposes of sentencing. The superior court denied habeas relief, concluding that any new evidence was cumulative of evidence presented at triall as well as inadmissible, and likely would not have changed the outcome. In a one-sentence order the Georgia Supreme Court summarily denied Wilson’s subsequent application for a certificate of probable cause to appeal. Wilson then filed a habeas petition in federal district court, which also denied relief. Even assuming Wilson’s counsel had been deficient, the court deferred to the state habeas court’s conclusion that these deficiencies did not ultimately cause prejudice to Wilson. On appeal a divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, sitting en banc, held that--rather than “looking through” the Georgia Supreme Court’s summary denial to the reasoning of the lower state habeas court--the district court should have considered what reasons “could have supported” the state supreme court’s summary decision. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to resolve the resulting split among the circuit courts of appeals on whether federal habeas law employs a “look through” presumption. By a vote of 6-3, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Eleventh Circuit and remanded the case. In an opinion delivered by Justice Breyer, the Court held that a federal habeas court reviewing an unexplained state-court decision on the merits should “look through” that decision to the last related state-court decision that provides a relevant rationale and presume that the unexplained decision adopted the same reasoning; the state may rebut the presumption by showing that the unexplained decision most likely relied on different grounds than the reasoned decision below. Justice Breyer’s majority opinion was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Gorsuch filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices Thomas and Alito. To discuss the case, we have Lee Rudofsky, Solicitor General for the State of Arkansas.
U.S. Bank National Association v. Village at Lakeridge
On March 5, 2018, the Supreme Court decided U.S. Bank National Association v. Village at Lakeridge, LLC, a case involving how appellate courts should review a lower court’s determination that a person related in some way to a bankruptcy debtor is an “insider”--and therefore subject to special restrictions that the federal Bankruptcy Code imposes on insiders. In 2011, the Village at Lakeridge (“Lakeridge”) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which seeks to facilitate a reorganization that allows the debtor to maintain viability while restructuring debts. At the time, Lakeridge owed millions of dollars to its owner MBP Equity Partners (“MBP”), as well as to U.S. Bank. Lakeridge’s proposed reorganization plan placed both creditors in separate classes and would have impaired their interests. U.S. Bank objected, which precluded a consensual plan, but under the Code MBP’s status as an “insider”--being the owner of Lakeridge--meant that MBP could not provide the requisite consent to force a “cramdown” of the plan over U.S. Bank’s objections. Lakeridge was therefore faced with liquidation unless MBP could transfer its claim against Lakeridge to a non-insider who would agree to the reorganization plan. Kathleen Bartlett, a member of MBP’s board, persuaded retired surgeon Robert Rabkin--with whom she was romantically involved--to purchase MBP’s multimillion-dollar claim for $5,000. Rabkin then consented to the reorganization plan. U.S. Bank again objected, arguing that the transaction was not truly at arm’s length due to the romantic relationship between Bartlett and Rabkin; Rabkin was essentially a “non-statutory” insider. The Bankruptcy Court rejected this argument, deeming Rabkin’s purchase a “speculative investment,” and noting that Rabkin and Bartlett lived separately and managed their own affairs. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed that judgment, concluding that it could not reverse unless the lower court had committed a “clear error.” The Supreme Court then granted certiorari to address the proper standard of review.By a vote of 9-0 the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Ninth Circuit. In an opinion delivered by Justice Kagan, the Court held unanimously that the Ninth Circuit acted properly in reviewing the Bankruptcy Court’s determination of non-statutory insider status for clear error rather than undertaking de novo review.Justice Kennedy filed a concurring opinion. Justice Sotomayor also filed a concurring opinion, which was joined by Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and Gorsuch. To discuss the case, we have Tom Plank, Professor of Law, at the University of Tennessee School of Law.As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speakers.
Jennings v. Rodriguez - Post-Decision SCOTUScast
On February 27, 2018 the Supreme Court decided Jennings v. Rodriguez, a case involving a lawsuit by aliens challenging their continued detention under civil immigration statutes without the benefit of an individualized bond hearing as to the justification for ongoing detention.Alejandro Rodriguez, a Mexican citizen and legal permanent resident of the United States, was convicted of a drug offense and vehicular theft, and ordered removed from the country. He was detained under 8 U.S.C. § 1226, which generally requires detention of aliens convicted of certain criminal offenses until removal proceedings are resolved. In addition to challenging his removal order, however, Rodriguez also sought habeas relief in federal court in the form of a bond hearing to determine whether his continued detention was justified. His case was consolidated with a related case, and after a round of litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, was certified as a class to address whether aliens in situations like Rodriguez, who had been detained longer than six months pursuant to an immigration detention statute, were entitled to a hearing to assess the justification for continued detention. They argued that the immigration statutes did not justify such detention in the absence of an individualized bond hearing at which the Government proves by clear and convincing evidence that the class member’s detention remains justified. The District Court granted the class injunctive relief along these lines and the Ninth Circuit affirmed, relying on the canon of constitutional avoidance. The Supreme Court thereafter granted the Government’s petition for certiorari.This case was originally argued before the Supreme Court in November 2016, but the Court thereafter ordered supplemental briefing and the case was then reargued in October 2017. The supplemental briefing directed the parties to address whether the alleged bond hearing requirement extended to aliens detained while seeking admission to the United States, to criminal or terrorist aliens, and how the proposed standard of proof applied to the bond hearing.By a vote of 5-3 the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Ninth Circuit and remanded the case. In an opinion authored by Justice Alito, the Court held that the immigration provisions at issue--§§ 1225(b), 1226(a) and 1226(c) of Title 8--do not give detained aliens the right to periodic bond hearings during the course of their detention; the Ninth Circuit erred in applying the canon of constitutional avoidance to hold otherwise. That court should consider the aliens’ constitutional claims on remand, but should first reexamine whether they may continue litigating as a class.Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the Court except as to Part II. The Chief Justice and Justice Kennedy joined Justice Alito’s opinion in full, while Justices Thomas and Gorsuch joined as to all but Part II, and Justice Sotomayor joined only as to Part III-C. Justice Thomas filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring the judgment, in which Justice Gorsuch joined except for footnote 6. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor joined. Justice Kagan was recused.To discuss the case, we have Richard Samp, Chief Counsel of the Washington Legal Foundation. As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speakers.
loading
Comments 
loading
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store