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SCOTUScast

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

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United States v. Texas - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

On April 18, 2016, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in United States v. Texas. This case relates back to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which set forth special criteria to direct how DHS should exercise prosecutorial discretion in enforcing federal immigration laws against certain young persons. In 2014 DHS issued a memo that then expanded eligibility under DACA and directed establishment of a similar program for the parents of DACA-eligible persons: Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). -- Twenty-six states sued in federal district court to prevent the DHS from implementing DAPA, arguing that DAPA violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) because it had not gone through a notice-and-comment process, and was moreover arbitrary and capricious. The states also argued that DAPA abrogated the President’s constitutional duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” The district court concluded that of the suing states, Texas had standing, and temporarily enjoined implementation of DAPA after determining that Texas had shown a substantial likelihood of success on its notice-and-comment claim. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed that ruling, and further held that the other states had standing and has shown a substantial likelihood of success on both the notice-and-comment and arbitrary and capricious components of their APA claims. The Fifth Circuit did not reach the Take Care clause claim. -- The four questions before the Supreme Court in this case are: (1) whether a state that voluntarily provides a subsidy to all aliens with deferred action has Article III standing and a justiciable cause of action under the APA to challenge the Secretary of Homeland Security’s guidance seeking to establish a process for considering deferred action for certain aliens because it will lead to more aliens having deferred action; (2) whether the guidance is arbitrary and capricious or otherwise not in accordance with law; (3) whether the guidance was subject to the APA’s notice-and-comment procedures; and (4) whether the guidance violates the Take Care Clause of the Constitution, Article II, section 3--a question the Court itself directed the parties to brief. -- To discuss the case, we have Josh Blackman, who is Assistant Professor of Law at South Texas College of Law.

12mins

12 May 2016

Rank #1

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Mathis v. United States - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

On June 23, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Mathis v. United States. The Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) imposes a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence on a defendant convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm who also has three prior state or federal convictions “for a violent felony,” including “burglary, arson, or extortion.” To determine whether a prior conviction is for one of those listed crimes, courts apply a “categorical approach”—they ask whether the elements of the offense forming the basis for the conviction sufficiently match the elements of the generic (or commonly understood) version of the enumerated crime. -- Here, petitioner Richard Mathis pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Because he had five prior Iowa burglary convictions, the Government argued for the 15-year minimum. Generic burglary requires unlawful entry into a “building or other structure.” The Iowa statute under which Mathis was convicted, however, also extended to “any... land, water, or air vehicle.” The District Court determined based on the case record that Mathis had burgled structures and imposed the 15-year ACCA minimum. The U.S Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed. -- By a vote of 5-3, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Eighth Circuit. Justice Kagan delivered the opinion of the Court, which held that because the elements of Iowa’s burglary law – which applies to “any building, structure, [or] land, water, or air vehicle” – were broader than those of generic burglary, Mathis’ prior convictions under the Iowa burglary law could not give rise to an ACCA sentence. Justice Kagan’s majority opinion was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and Sotomayor. Justice Kennedy also filed a concurring opinion. Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Ginsburg joined. Justice Alito also filed a dissenting opinion. -- To discuss the case, we have Richard E. Myers II, who is Henry Brandis Distinguished Professor of Law at University of North Carolina School of Law.

10mins

18 Aug 2016

Rank #2

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RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. The European Community - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

On March 21, 2016, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. The European Community. The European Community and 26 of its member states sued RJR Nabisco (RJR) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, alleging that RJR conducted a global money-laundering enterprise in violation of several laws, including the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a federal statute. The alleged RICO enterprise involved the importation of illegal drugs into European countries by Colombian and Russian criminal organizations, with RJR helping to launder their drug money through a cigarette import-purchase scheme. Applying a presumption against extraterritorial application of federal law, the district court dismissed The European Community’s civil RICO claim. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated that judgment and reinstated the RICO claim, however, concluding that various alleged predicates for RICO liability had been intended by Congress to apply extraterritorially and that other offenses asserted sufficiently important domestic activity to come within RICO’s coverage. -- The U.S. Supreme Court granted RJR’s subsequent petition for writ of certiorari on the following question: whether, or to what extent, RICO applies extraterritorially. -- To discuss the case, we have Richard A. Samp, who is Chief Counsel at Washington Legal Foundation.

22mins

20 Apr 2016

Rank #3

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TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

On March 27, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC. TC Heartland LLC (Heartland) is organized under Indiana law and headquartered in Indiana. Kraft Food Brands LLC (Kraft) is organized under Delaware law with its principal place of business in Illinois. Kraft sued Heartland in federal district court in Delaware, alleging that products Heartland shipped to Delaware infringed on Kraft’s patents for similar products. Heartland moved to dismiss the claim, arguing that the federal court in Delaware lacked the necessary jurisdiction over Heartland’s person--i.e., “personal jurisdiction.” Alternatively, Heartland sought transfer of the case to a venue in the Southern District of Indiana. The district court denied the motion to dismiss, holding that Heartland’s contacts with Delaware were sufficient to justify the exercise of personal jurisdiction. The court also denied the request to transfer venue, citing precedent in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit indicating that, under 28 U.S.C. Secs. 1391 and 1400, venue for a corporate defendant, including in a patent infringement suit, is proper in any district in which the defendant is subject to a federal court’s personal jurisdiction. -- Heartland then sought a writ of mandamus from the Federal Circuit ordering the district court to dismiss the case or transfer venue, arguing that Heartland did not “reside” in Delaware for purposes of the patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1400. The Federal Circuit denied the writ, indicating that the lower court had acted properly and that Congress’ 2011 amendments to the venue statute did not provide cause to change the Federal Circuit’s prevailing interpretation of the statute. -- The question now before the Supreme Court is whether the patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), which provides that patent infringement actions “may be brought in the judicial district where the defendant resides[,]” is the sole and exclusive provision governing venue in patent infringement actions and is not affected by the statute governing “[v]enue generally,” 28 U.S.C. § 1391, which has long contained a subsection (c) that, where applicable, deems a corporate entity to reside in multiple judicial districts. -- To discuss the case, we have J. Devlin Hartline, who is Assistant Director, Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP) and Adjunct Professor, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University.

21mins

6 Apr 2017

Rank #4

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Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer. The Learning Center is a licensed preschool and daycare that is operated by Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc (Trinity). Though it incorporates religious instruction into its curriculum, the school is open to all children. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offers Playground Scrap Tire Surface Material Grants to organizations that qualify for resurfacing of playgrounds. Trinity’s application for such a grant was denied under Article I, Section 7 of the Missouri Constitution, which reads “no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, section or denomination of religion.” Trinity sued, arguing that DNR’s denial violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the First Amendment’s protections of freedom of religion and speech. The district court dismissed for failure to state a claim. Trinity moved for reconsideration, amending its complaint to include allegations that DNR had previously funded religious organizations with the same grant, but the district court denied again. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld the decision, agreeing with both the dismissal and denial of motions. -- The question before the Supreme Court is whether the exclusion of churches from an otherwise neutral and secular aid program violates the Free Exercise and Equal Protection Clauses when the state has, according to the petitioner church, no valid Establishment Clause concern. -- To discuss the case, we have Hannah C. Smith, who is Senior Counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

15mins

28 Apr 2017

Rank #5

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California Public Employees’ Retirement System v. ANZ Securities - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

On April 17, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in California Public Employees’ Retirement System v. ANZ Securities. Between July 2007 and January 2008, Lehman Brothers raised over $31 billion through debt offerings. California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest pension fund in the country, purchased millions of dollars of these securities. CalPERS sued Lehman Brothers in 2011, and their case was merged with another retirement fund’s putative class action suit against Lehman Brothers and transferred to a New York district court. Later that year, the other parties settled, but CalPERS decided to pursue its own claims individually. The district court dismissed for untimely filing, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed. -- The questions now before the Supreme Court is whether the filing of a putative class action serves, under the American Pipe & Construction Co. v. Utah rule, to satisfy the three-year time limitation in Section 13 of the Securities Act with respect to the claims of putative class members. -- To discuss the case, we have Paul Stancil, who is Professor of Law at Brigham Young University.

19mins

17 May 2017

Rank #6

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Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court decided Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer. The Learning Center is a licensed preschool and daycare that is operated by Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc (Trinity Lutheran). Though it incorporates religious instruction into its curriculum, the school is open to all children. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offers Playground Scrap Tire Surface Material Grants to organizations that qualify for resurfacing of playgrounds. Trinity Lutheran’s application for such a grant was denied under Article I, Section 7 of the Missouri Constitution, which reads “no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, section or denomination of religion.” Trinity Lutheran sued, arguing that DNR’s denial violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the First Amendment’s protections of freedom of religion and speech. The district court dismissed the suit and a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed, concluding that the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause did not compel the State to disregard the broader anti-establishment principle reflected in its own constitution. -- By a vote of 7-2, the United States Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Eighth Circuit and remanded the case. In an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held that the DNR’s policy violated the rights of Trinity Lutheran under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment by denying the Church an otherwise available public benefit on account of its religious status. -- Justices Kennedy, Alito, and Kagan joined the Chief Justice’s majority opinion in full, and Justices Thomas and Gorsuch joined except as to footnote 3. Justice Thomas filed an opinion concurring in part, in which Justice Gorsuch joined. Justice Gorsuch filed an opinion concurring in part, in which Justice Thomas joined. Justice Breyer filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Ginsburg joined. -- And now, to discuss the case, we have David A. Cortman, who was lead counsel in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Pauley and is Senior Counsel and Vice President of U.S. Litigation, Alliance Defending Freedom.

20mins

18 Jul 2017

Rank #7

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Matal v. Tam - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

On June 19, 2017, the Supreme Court decided Matal v. Tam. Simon Tam of The Slants, an Asian American rock band, applied to register the band’s name with the U.S. Trademark Office, but the application was denied. The Office claimed that the name would likely be disparaging towards “persons of Asian descent,” citing the Disparagement Clause of the Lanham Act of 1946, which prohibits trademarks that “[consist] of or [comprise] immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.” Tam appealed to a board within the Office but was again denied. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, ultimately held en banc that the Disparagement Clause violated the First Amendment on its face. -- By a vote of 8-0, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Federal Circuit. In an opinion by Justice Alito, the Court held that the Disparagement Clause of the Lanham Act violates the First Amendment's Free Speech Clause. Parts I, II, and III-A of Justice Alito’s majority opinion were joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Thomas joined except for Part II. Parts III-B, III-C, and IV of Justice Alito’s majority opinion were joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Thomas and Breyer. Justice Kennedy filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, in which Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. Justice Thomas filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. Justice Gorsuch took no part in the consideration or decision of the case. -- To discuss the case, we have Michael R. Huston, who is Associate Attorney at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

15mins

29 Jun 2017

Rank #8

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Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections

On March 1, 2017, the Supreme Court decided Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections. Plaintiffs in Bethune-Hill each resided in one of twelve newly proposed majority-minority districts for the Virginia Legislature, created to satisfy Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), which requires that any new districting plan must ensure that there be no “retrogression” in the ability of racial minorities to elect the candidate of their choice. Plaintiffs argued that the new districts constituted racial gerrymanders that violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia disagreed, holding that the plaintiffs had failed to establish that race was the predominant factor in the creation of 11 of the 12 challenged districts. The district court also held that, although race was the predominant factor in the creation of one district--District 75--the state legislature had satisfied the requirements of a compelling state interest and narrow tailoring. -- On appeal to the United States Supreme Court, plaintiffs argued that the district court panel erred in a number of respects, including in determining that that race could not predominate unless its use resulted in an “actual conflict” with traditional districting criteria. Plaintiffs also argued that the use of race in drawing House District 75 was not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest. -- By a vote of 7-1, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court panel in part, vacated it in part, and remanded the case. In an opinion delivered by Justice Kennedy, the Court held that the district court panel had employed an incorrect legal standard to determine whether race predominated, noting that challengers are permitted to establish racial predominance in the absence of an “actual conflict” by presenting direct evidence of the legislative purpose and intent or other compelling circumstantial evidence. The Court rejected Plaintiffs’ challenge to District 75, however, determining that the legislature’s action ultimately survived strict scrutiny. -- Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Alito filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. Justice Thomas filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part. -- To discuss the case, we have Jack Park, who is Of Counsel at Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP.

11mins

15 May 2017

Rank #9

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Ziglar v. Abbasi - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

On June 19, 2017, the Supreme Court decided Ziglar v. Abbasi, which was consolidated with the cases Ashcroft v. Abbasi , and Hasty v. Abbasi. Ziglar v. Abbasi was part of a series of lawsuits brought by Muslim, South Asian, and Arab noncitizens who were detained after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and treated as “of interest” in the ensuing government investigation. These plaintiffs contended, among other things, that the conditions of their confinement violated their constitutional rights to due process and equal protection. The defendants included high-level officials in the Department of Justice (DOJ) such as Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI director Robert Mueller, and Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner James Ziglar, as well as various detention officials. Some of the parties reached settlements, and the district court eventually dismissed some of the allegations against the DOJ officials for failure to state a claim. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of plaintiffs’ Free Exercise claims, but otherwise reversed most of the district court’s judgment. Plaintiffs, the Second Circuit held, had adequately pleaded claims for violations of substantive due process, equal protection, the Fourth Amendment, and civil conspiracy, and Defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity. Defendants then sought, and the Supreme Court granted, a petition for writ of certiorari. -- By a vote of 4-2, the Supreme Court reversed in part, and vacated and remanded in part, the judgment of the Second Circuit. In an opinion by Justice Kennedy, the Court held that (1) the limited reach of actions brought under Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents informs the decision whether an implied damages remedy should be recognized in this case; (2) considering the relevant special factors in this case, a Bivens-type remedy should not be extended to the "detention policy claims" -- the allegations that the executive officials and wardens violated the detainees' due process and equal protection rights by holding them in restrictive conditions of confinement, and the allegation that the wardens violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments by subjecting the detainees to frequent strip searches -- challenging the confinement conditions imposed on the detainees pursuant to the formal policy adopted by the executive officials in the wake of the September 11 attacks; (3) the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit erred in allowing the prisoner-abuse claim against Warden Dennis Hasty to go forward without conducting the required special-factors analysis; and (4) the executive officials and wardens are entitled to qualified immunity with respect to respondents' civil conspiracy claims. -- Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, III, IV–A, and V, in which the Chief Justice and Justices Thomas and Alito joined. Justice Kennedy also delivered an opinion with respect to Part IV–B, in which the Chief Justice and Justice Alito joined. Justice Thomas filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Ginsburg joined. Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Gorsuch took no part in the consideration or decision of these cases. -- To discuss the case, we have David B. Rivkin, who is a Partner at Baker & Hostetler LLP.

10mins

25 Jul 2017

Rank #10

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Hurst v. Florida - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

On October 13, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Hurst v. Florida. Timothy Lee Hurst was convicted of murdering his co-worker and sentenced to death after a jury recommended that penalty by a vote of 7-5. The question before the Court here is whether Florida’s death sentencing scheme--which Hurst contends does not require unanimity in the jury death recommendation or in the finding of underlying aggravating factors--violates the Sixth or Eighth Amendments in light of the Court’s 2002 decision Ring v. Arizona, which holds that the aggravating factors necessary for imposition of a death sentence be found by a jury. -- To discuss the case, we have Jack Park, who is Of Counsel with Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP.

11mins

7 Nov 2015

Rank #11

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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission v. Electric Power Supply Association and EnerNOC v. Electric Power Supply Association - Post-Argument S

On October 14, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission v. Electric Power Supply Association and EnerNOC v. Electric Power Supply Association. -- These consolidated cases involve the efforts of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to specify the methodology that operators in the wholesale electricity market use when compensating users for a commitment to reduce their consumption at particular times, a phenomenon known as “demand response.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit determined that FERC lacked statutory authority to impose such a methodology. The Supreme Court agreed to consider the following two questions: (1) Whether FERC reasonably concluded that it has authority under the Federal Power Act to regulate the rules used by operators of wholesale electricity markets to pay for reductions in electricity consumption and to recoup those payments through adjustments to wholesale rates; and (2) Whether the D.C. Circuit erred in holding that the rule issued by FERC is arbitrary and capricious. -- Justice Alito appears to be recused from this case. -- To discuss the case, we have James Coleman, who is assistant professor at the University of Calgary, Faculty of Law and Haskayne School of Business.

11mins

7 Nov 2015

Rank #12

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Ocasio v. U.S. - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

On October 6, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Ocasio v. U.S. Ocasio challenges his conviction under the Hobbs Act for conspiracy to commit extortion, which arose from an alleged kickback scheme under which police officers funneled wrecked automobiles to a particular repair shop in exchange for monetary payments. -- The question before the Court is whether a conspiracy to commit extortion requires that the conspirators agree to obtain property from someone outside the conspiracy. -- To discuss the case, we have Timothy O’Toole, who is a Lawyer at Miller & Chevalier.

11mins

7 Nov 2015

Rank #13

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California Public Employees’ Retirement System v. ANZ Securities Post-Decision SCOTUScast

On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court decided California Public Employees’ Retirement System v. ANZ Securities. Between 2007 and 2008, Lehman Brothers Holdings raised capital through a number of public securities offerings. California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) purchased some of these securities. In 2008, a putative class action alleging federal securities law violations was filed against respondents--various financial firms involved in underwriting the offerings--in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Because the complaint was filed on behalf of all persons who purchased the identified securities, petitioner CalPERS fell within the putative class. In 2011, however, CalPERS filed a separate action, alleging identical violations against respondent firms in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. That suit was then transferred and consolidated with other related litigation in the Southern District of New York. The New York class action then settled, but CalPERS opted out of the settlement. Respondents thereafter moved to dismiss CalPERS’ separate suit based on Securities Act language providing that “[i]n no event shall any such action be brought … more than three years after the security was bona fide offered to the public,” the CalPERS suit having fallen outside the three-year limit. CalPERS argued that the time limit was equitably tolled during the pendency of the class action, but the district court rejected the claim and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed. -- By a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Second Circuit. In an opinion by Justice Kennedy, the Court held that CalPERS’ untimely filing of its individual complaint more than three years after the relevant securities offering was grounds for dismissal. The three-year limitation in the Securities Act, the Court indicated, is a “statute of repose” and therefore not subject to equitable tolling. Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch. Justice Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. -- And now, to discuss the case, we have Mark Chenoweth, who is General Counsel for the Washington Legal Foundation.

16mins

9 Aug 2017

Rank #14

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Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

On December 9, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. This is the second time the case has come before the high court. -- Abigail Fisher, a white female, applied for admission to the University of Texas but was denied. Fisher sued the University and argued that the use of race as a consideration in the admissions process violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The district court held that the University’s admissions process was constitutional, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed. The case went to the Supreme Court (Fisher I), which held that the appellate court erred in how it applied the strict scrutiny standard, improperly deferring to the University’s good faith in its use of racial classifications. On remand the Fifth Circuit again ruled in favor of the University, deeming its use of race in the admissions process narrowly tailored to a legitimate interest in achieving “the rich diversity that contributes to its academic mission.” -- The question in this case is whether the Fifth Circuit’s re-endorsement of the University of Texas at Austin’s use of racial preferences in undergraduate admissions decisions can be sustained under this Court’s decisions interpreting the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, including Fisher I. -- To discuss the case, we have Joshua P. Thompson who is Principal Attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation.

19mins

11 Feb 2016

Rank #15

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Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc. - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

On May 30, 2017, the Supreme Court decided Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc. Lexmark International, Inc. (Lexmark), which owns many patents for its printer toner cartridges, allows customers to buy its cartridges through a “Return Program,” which is administered under a combination single-use patent and contract license. Customers purchasing cartridges through the Return Program are given a discount in exchange for agreeing to use each cartridge once before returning it to Lexmark. All of the domestically-sold cartridges at issue here and some of those sold abroad were subject to the Return Program. Impression Products, Inc. (Impression) acquired some Lexmark cartridges abroad--after a third party physically changed the cartridges to enable their re-use--in order to resell them in the United States. Lexmark then sued, alleging that Impression had infringed on Lexmark’s patents because Impression acted without authorization from Lexmark to resell and reuse the cartridges. Impression contended that its resale of the cartridges was not an infringement because Lexmark, in transferring the title by selling the cartridges initially, granted the requisite authority. The district court granted Impression’s motion to dismiss as it related to the domestically sold cartridges but denied it as to the foreign-sold cartridges. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s judgment as to the domestically sold cartridges but affirmed dismissal regarding the cartridges sold abroad. -- There were two questions before the Supreme Court: (1) whether a “conditional sale” that transfers title to the patented item while specifying post-sale restrictions on the article's use or resale avoids application of the patent-exhaustion doctrine and therefore permits the enforcement of such post-sale restrictions through the patent law’s infringement remedy; and (2) whether, in light of this court’s holding in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. that the common-law doctrine barring restraints on alienation that is the basis of exhaustion doctrine “makes no geographical distinctions,” a sale of a patented article – authorized by the U.S. patentee – that takes place outside the United States exhausts the U.S. patent rights in that article. -- By a vote of 7-1, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Federal Circuit and remanded the case. In an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held that (1) Lexmark exhausted its patent rights in toner cartridges sold in the United States through its "Return Program"; and (2) Lexmark cannot sue Impression Products for patent infringement with respect to cartridges Lexmark sold abroad, which Impression Products acquired from purchasers and imported into the United States, because an authorized sale outside the United States, just as one within the United States, exhausts all rights under the Patent Act. The Chief Justice’s majority opinion was joined by Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Ginsburg filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part. Justice Gorsuch took no part in the consideration or decision of the case. -- And now, to discuss the case, we have Adam Mossoff, who is Professor of Law and Co-Director of Academic Programs and Senior Scholar of CPIP, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University.

14mins

14 Jul 2017

Rank #16

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Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

On January 11, 2016, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. Under California law and existing Supreme Court precedent, unions can become the exclusive bargaining representative for the public school employees of their district and establish an “agency shop” arrangement requiring public school employees either to join the union or pay a fee to support the union’s collective bargaining activities. Although the First Amendment prohibits unions from compelling non-members to support activities unrelated to collective bargaining, in California non-members must affirmatively “opt out” to avoid paying for these unrelated or “nonchargeable” expenses. -- Here a group of public school employees sued the California Teachers Association and various other entities, arguing that the agency shop arrangement itself--as well as the opt-out requirement--violated the First Amendment. The district court denied their claim and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed based on existing precedent and the 1997 Supreme Court decision Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. -- The two questions now before the Supreme Court are: (1) Whether the Abood precedent should be overruled and public-sector “agency shop” arrangements invalidated under the First Amendment; and (2) whether it violates the First Amendment to require that public employees affirmatively object to subsidizing nonchargeable speech by public-sector unions, rather than requiring that employees affirmatively consent to subsidizing such speech. -- To discuss the case, we have Richard A. Epstein, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University School of Law and Professor Emeritus and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.

15mins

13 Jan 2016

Rank #17

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Hernandez v. Mesa - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court decided Hernandez v. Mesa. In 2010, Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, a fifteen-year-old Mexican national, died after being shot near the border between El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico by Jesus Mesa, Jr., a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. Hernandez’s parents, who contend that their son was on Mexican soil at the time of the shooting, sued Mesa in federal district court in Texas, alleging violations of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. After hearing the case en banc, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ultimately ruled in favor of Mesa, concluding that Hernandez could not assert a Fourth Amendment claim and that Mesa was entitled to qualified immunity on the parents’ Fifth Amendment claim. -- In granting certiorari, the U.S. Supreme Court directed the parties to address whether Hernandez’s parents could even raise their claims under Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, which, sovereign immunity notwithstanding, recognized an implied right of action for damages against federal officers alleged to have violated a citizen’s constitutional rights. Ultimately, the Court vacated the judgment of the Fifth Circuit and remanded the case. -- In a per curiam opinion, the Court underscored that a Bivens remedy is not available when "special factors counsel[] hesitation in the absence of affirmative action by Congress," and noted that the Court had recently clarified in Ziglar v. Abbasi “what constitutes a special factor counselling hesitation.” The Fifth Circuit, the Court directed, should on remand resolve in the first instance the extent to which Abbasi may bear on this case. The Court acknowledged that the Fifth Circuit did not address the Bivens issue because that court had concluded that Hernandez lacked any Fourth Amendment rights to assert--but the Supreme Court considered it imprudent to resolve such a consequential question without a resolution of the Bivens issue first. Finally, the Court indicated that the Fifth Circuit had erred in finding qualified immunity for Mesa regardless of any Fifth Amendment violation because the Fifth Circuit had relied on facts about Hernandez’s nationality and ties to the United States that were unknown to Mesa at the time of the shooting. -- Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Ginsburg joined. Justice Gorsuch took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. -- To discuss the case, we have Steven Giaier, who is Senior Counsel, House Committee on Homeland Security.

17mins

24 Jul 2017

Rank #18

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Packingham v. North Carolina - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

On June 19, 2017, the Supreme Court decided Packingham v. North Carolina. Lester Packingham was convicted in 2002 of taking “indecent liberties” with a minor in violation of North Carolina law, and sentenced to prison time followed by supervised release. In 2010, he was arrested after authorities came across a post on his Facebook profile--which he had set up using an alias--in which he thanked God for having a parking ticket dismissed. Packingham was charged with, and convicted of, violating a North Carolina law that restricted the access of convicted sex offenders to “commercial social networking” websites. -- Packingham challenged his conviction on First Amendment grounds, arguing that the North Carolina statute unlawfully restricted his freedom of speech and association, but the Supreme Court of North Carolina ultimately rejected his claim. The website access restriction, the Court concluded, was a content-neutral, conduct-based regulation that only incidentally burdened Packingham’s speech, was narrowly tailored to serve a substantial governmental interest, and left open ample alternative channels of communication. -- By a vote of 8-0, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Supreme Court of North Carolina and remanded the case. In an opinion by Justice Kennedy, the Court held that the North Carolina statute, which makes it a felony for a registered sex offender "to access a commercial social networking Web site where the sex offender knows that the site permits minor children to become members or to create or maintain personal Web pages,” impermissibly restricts lawful speech in violation of the First Amendment. Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Alito filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which the Chief Justice and Justice Thomas joined. Justice Gorsuch took no part in the consideration or decision of the case. -- To discuss the case, we have Ilya Shapiro, who is Senior Fellow in Constitutional Law at the Cato Institute.

11mins

29 Jun 2017

Rank #19

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TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

On May 22, 2017, the Supreme Court decided TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, a dispute over the proper venue for a patent infringement suit. Section 1400(b) of the patent venue statute states in relevant part that a civil action for patent infringement may be brought in the judicial district “where the defendant resides.” In the 1957 case Fourco Glass Co. v. Transmirra Prods. Corp, the Supreme Court held that for purposes of section 1400(b) a domestic corporation “resides” only in its State of incorporation--a narrower understanding of corporate “residence” than that applicable under section 1391 of the general venue statute. Under section 1391, a corporate defendant is typically deemed to reside in any judicial district where it is subject to the court’s “personal jurisdiction” with respect to the civil action in question. -- TC Heartland LLC (Heartland) is organized under Indiana law and headquartered there. Kraft Food Brands LLC (Kraft) sued Heartland in federal district court in Delaware (where Kraft is organized), alleging that products Heartland shipped to Delaware infringed on Kraft’s patents for similar products. Heartland moved to dismiss the claim or transfer venue to Indiana, arguing that it did not reside in Delaware for purposes of section 1400(b). The district court rejected these arguments and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied mandamus relief, because its circuit precedent had concluded that more recent statutory amendments to section 1391 had effectively superseded the Fourco interpretation of “reside” in section 1400(b) and thus the broader understanding expressed in section 1391 now applied to section 1400(b) too. -- By a vote of 8-0, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Federal Circuit and remanded the case. In an opinion by Justice Thomas, the Court held that the amendments to section 1391 did not modify the meaning of section 1400(b) as interpreted in Fourco; as applied to domestic corporations, “residence” for purposes of section 1400(b) still refers only to the state of incorporation. All other members of the Court joined in Justice Thomas’ opinion except Justice Gorsuch, who took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. -- And now, to discuss the case, we have J. Devlin Hartline, who is Director, Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP) and Adjunct Professor, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University.

13mins

11 Aug 2017

Rank #20