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Last Two Arguments Of The Term

On Wednesday the Justices heard arguments in the last two scheduled cases of the term. Between now and the end of June they will take the bench only to announce opinions, and possibly for the ceremonial investiture of Justice Gorsuch.

The first argument, Sandoz v. Amgen, an exceedingly complex case on a provision of the Affordable Care Act that covers biosimilar drugs.

The second argument, Maslenjak v. U.S., raised concerns, especially for Chief Justice Roberts, about prosecutorial overreach. The case involves a naturalized citizen who lied on her application and was therefore stripped of her citizenship.

“Some time ago,” Roberts asked the government’s lawyer, “outside the statute of limitations, I drove 60 miles per hour in a 55-miles-per-hour zone. I was not arrested.” “Now you say that if I answered that question no, 20 years after I was naturalized as a citizen, you can knock on my door and say, guess what, you’re not an American citizen after all.”

 

Penultimate Argument Day Ringtone

A pair of civil jurisdiction cases on the next to last argument day of the Supreme Court’s term promised little in the way of news, but for a ringtone that sounded early into the first argument. Cell phones are not permitted in the courtroom, except maybe for the Justices. And sure enough, it was Justice Breyer’s phone that rang.

So that was the news of the day. Here are my sketches from the arguments, Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California and BNSF Railway v. Tyrrellas well as the opinion in Lewis v. Clarke announced by Justice Sotomayor.