A very busy week at the Court beginning with arguments in Janus v. AFSCME, one of the biggies in which the justices, now that are nine, are expected to deal a blow to public sector unions and their right to collect fees from non-members.
On Tuesday the Court heard arguments in two interesting cases, United States v. Microsoft, and Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach.
The first of Tuesday’s arguments concerned emails stored on servers located in Ireland and whether a warrant served on Microsoft could reach the content of those emails.
The second argument on Tuesday saw the return of Fane Lozman, the gadfly of Riviera Beach. Remarkably, this is the second time Lozman has brought a case against the City of Riviera Beach all the way to the Supreme Court. During the 2012-2013 term the Court considered Lozman’s petition, and ruled in his favor, after the city took possession of his “house-boat” under admiralty law and sank it. This time around, Lozman is arguing for his First Amendment protect speech after being removed from a city council meeting and arrested in retaliation for his statements during the public-comments portion of the meeting.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend Wednesday’s arguments in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, Really sorry I missed that one, but I had to go sketch Manafort’s arraignment on a superseding indictment.
Beginning with the indictments of thirteen Russian nationals last Friday, Special Counsel Mueller’s team have kept the federal courthouses busy, both in DC and Alexandria. In addition to new charges filed this week were two guilty pleas before Judge Amy Berman Jackson. The most significant was Manafort’s partner in crime, Rick Gates, who remained with the Trump campaign throughout the election, and is now cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.
The other guilty plea came from a former Skadden lawyer, Alex van der Zwaan, who did work for Gates and Manafort. Son-in-law of a Russian billionaire, the 33 year-old van der Zwaan displayed an air of insouciance in court as he yawned and chewed gum.
Reporters covering this story are clocking some hours and miles as the Special Counsel’s investigation moves into high gear, forcing some to grab lunch while standing in line outside the courtroom. Below is a special bonus tiny sketch of Politico’s Josh Gerstein having a bite on the go.
The Supreme Court heard arguments in four cases this week ( Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day ), three of which I sketched.
Tuesday’s argument in Dalmazzi v. United States was a fairly esoteric, at least to me, discussion on military judges serving simultaneously on two courts. The question of whether the Supreme Court even has jurisdiction over executive branch military courts was also raised.
First up on Wednesday was Encino Motorcars v. Navarro, about overtime pay for service advisors at car dealerships. Exciting, I know. But one thing did make it a bit more interesting to draw, a pair of sign-language interpreters were present for the swearing in of members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Bar Association. Members of that bar were also able to follow the arguments on handheld devices.
More lively and interesting was Wednesday’s second case, and the last argument of the January sitting, McCoy v. Louisiana, in which death row inmate Robert McCoy argues that he should get a new trial because his own lawyer told jurors he was guilty.
Here are three sketches from yesterday’s argument in Husted v. A.Philip Randolph Institute on whether the method Ohio uses to purge its voter registration list violates the federal motor voter law.
The justices heard arguments today in two cases arising from warrantless searches. The first, Byrd v. United States, looks at whether an unapproved driver of a rental car has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
The second case, Collins v. Virginia, brings us to the word of the day, “curtilage”, as in do the police need a warrant to look under the tarp concealing the motorcycle parked on your curtilage?
To get the flavor of today’s arguments check out Mark Walsh’s “view” from the courtroom.
Despite the frigid temperature this morning people lined up for a seat to hear arguments involving water rights. The Supreme Court acts as a kind of trial court for disputes between the States in what are called original jurisdiction cases because they originate here instead of coming from the lower courts.
The cases heard today were Texas v. New Mexico and Colorado and Florida v. Georgia.
Don’t know why I never posted this SCOTUSblog Halloween sketch. It’s a good one I think.
Another banner I neglected to post was inspired by the sports betting case, Christie v. NCAA. I also failed to post the sketches from the argument and governor Christie’s swearing in to the bar.
I may be forgiven, it was a tough week. My mother was dying and I needed to be with her. That’s why I missed the arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop, though I did produce a banner.
. . . with apologies to Wayne Thiebaud.
Monday was patent day at the Supreme Court with arguments in two cases, Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group and SAS Institute Inc. v. Matal, related to a provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act aimed at keeping patent troll lawsuits out of court.
Wednesday’s argument, Carpenter v. United States, was a biggie on cellphone search warrants.
A DC jury is to begin deliberations Monday after seven weeks of hearing evidence and arguments in the trial of accused Benghazi master mind Ahmed Abu Khattala. He faces 18 charges including murder and conspiracy for the September 2012 attack on the U.S. embassy in which Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and aide Sean Smith were killed.
I only attended the first day of trial where I sketched opening statements and the first witness, Ambassador Stevens’ bodyguard Scott Wickland (the caption on my sketch is misspelled). Too bad because from what I’ve read it was a fascinating trail. You can read about it here.
Another Lybian charged in the attack, Mustafa al-Imam, was recently captured by U.S. Special Ops and appeared before a judge in the same courthouse earlier this month.
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