Still Waiting For The Big Ones . . .

The Supreme Court announced opinions in four argued cases yesterday: Los Angeles v. MendezBNSF Railway v. TyrrellEsquivel-Quintana v. Sessionsand Impression Products v. Lexmark International. On a gray, rainy day the general feeling was . . . meh.

 

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Opinion On North Carolina Redistricting

A little late posting this sketch from Monday of Justice Kagan announcing the opinion in Cooper v. Harris. Note that Justices Alito and Breyer were absent from the bench though they did take part in the decision. Justice Gorsuch (spell check keeps insisting on “Grouch”), who was on the bench, took no part.

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Fourth Circuit En Banc

The full Fourth Circuit – less two recused – sat in Richmond yesterday for the first appellate review of Trump’s travel ban. Next Monday the Ninth Circuit will also hear arguments on a Hawaiian judge’s order blocking parts of the “Muslim ban”. The Ninth Circuit allows cameras, so don’t expect sketches.

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Two Opinions, One Sketch

Justice Breyer had the opinions in both cases announced today, Venezuela v. Helmerich & Payne International and Bank of America Corp. v. City of Miami ( note, Justice Sotomayor was absent from the bench ).

And although one courtroom sketch covered both opinions, I also did my usual SCOTUSblog banner sketch.

 

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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.”

 

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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.

 

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Arguments In Two Inmate Cases

The justices today heard arguments about whether an indigent defendant is entitled to truly independent expert assistance ( McWilliams v. Dunn ), and on the subject of ineffective assistance of counsel ( Davila v. Davis ).

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Trinity Lutheran Sketches

I thought the Court’s newest justice would have a lot to say during arguments in the church-state separation case, Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, heard yesterday. But Justice Gorsuch asked no questions until the very end, and then nothing very pointed.

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Kokesh v. SEC Sketches

Just a couple sketches from today’s very technical argument in Kokesh v. SEC . . .

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Sketches Of Justice Gorsuch’s First Day On The Bench

Justice Gorsuch took his seat on the Supreme Court bench for the first time today, actively questioning lawyers presenting oral arguments.

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