I don’t understand much of this case that was heard last Tuesday by just seven justices, Alito having recused. What seemed most notable, at least to me, was that Justice Kennedy didn’t ask a single question (neither did Thomas, but that’s expected). Justice Sotomayor, of course, took an active role.
Here’s a link to Lyle’s piece on the argument. And below are my few sketches.
Back on the bench after their winter break the first case argued before the Justices was on the subject of consular nonreviewability.
There’s a long history of leaving the power to regulate immigration to the legislative and executive branches. The courts have generally declined to review how the State Department decides who comes into the country. But the door to review may have been opened a bit by a 1972 Supreme Court opinion, Kleindienst v. Mandel, where, while upholding the Attorney General’s right to refuse entry to a Belgian Marxist, the Court said the “executive exercises the power . . on the basis of a facially legitimate and bona fide reason”.
Today’s case, Kerry v. Fauzia Din, involves a U.S. citizen who sought an immigration visa for her Afghani husband. The embassy rejected the visa application citing “security and related grounds”, i.e. “terrorist activity”. No further details for the rejection or review of the decision were forthcoming, so Din filed suit in District Court. The lower court dismissed but the Ninth Circuit reversed and found that the government owed her “a facially legitimate reason”.
And no, Justice Sotomayor did not break her arm over winter break. The black cast she is sporting is from a surgical procedure and due to come off later this week. It did not slow her down as she jumped into this morning’s argument with the first question.
Here are some sketches from Tuesday at the Supreme Court.
The Court heard arguments in Gelboim v. Bank of America Corp., a case from the Second Circuit which turned down an appeal of a case in a Multi District Litigation because the other consolidated cases were still pending, at least that’s what I think it may be about. It’s complicated.
Opinions in two cases were also announced. Warger v. Shauers, about the admissibility of one juror’s testimony about another juror’s statements (above), and Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, about compensation for employees who have to go through security screen after completing their shift (below).
Opinions in some of the less prominent cases continue to trickle out of the Supreme Court as each day a few more cameras set up outside the court in anticipation of the big ones.
Of the three opinions announced from the bench today the most noteworthy was Lane v. Franks, concerning the First Amendment rights of a community college employee who was fired after testifying at the corruption trial of a state legislator who had been on the community college’s payroll for a no-show position. Justice Sotomayor said public employees should not have to choose between “the obligation to testify truthfully and the desire to avoid retaliation and keep their jobs.”
There are about ten cases still undecided, most of them biggies.
No opinions today on any of the big Supreme Court cases everyone has been watching and waiting for, but we did get :
Horne v. Department of Agriculture, in which California raisin growers won the right to challenge the constitutionality of regulatory fees…….
….. and Peugh v. United States, where the Court agreed with Marvin Peugh that the longer sentence he received under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines that were revised upward after he committed his crime were an ex post facto violation.
The Court also announce a third opinion, a class arbitration case, but I didn’t finish the sketch of Justice Kagan ….she sits so far away.
Justice Sotomayor often glances over at the press section during oral arguments. Is she just pondering a legal question, or checking that the sketch artist is getting this?
A couple of sketches from today at the Supreme Court :
The Court heard arguments in two cases where juveniles were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Both prisoners were very ably represented by Bryan Stevenson, pictured above.
The Court also announced opinions in four cases. Pictured below, clockwise from the bottom right, are Justice Sotomayor, Justice Breyer, Justice Kennedy and Justice Ginsburg reading her dissent in Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Maryland.
Justice Sotomayor : “It is beyond dispute that children will often feel bound to submit to police questioning when an adult in the same circumstances would feel free to leave.”
The case is J.D.B. v. North Carolina.
AP story here.
Justice Sotomayor read her opinion for the Court in the patent-law case, Microsoft v. i4i Limited Partnership, which upheld the lower court judgement against the software giant.
The reaction in Redmond? : “Check under the couch cushions and pay them”.
Financial Times story here.
Until recently the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Roberts has had a reputation of being friendly to business, but in two decisions delivered today the court continues a recent trend of rulings less favorable to business.
In the first opinion, authored by Justice Sotomayor, a unanimous Court said that stockholders could sue the makers of Zicam nasal spray.
And in a 6-2 opinion ( Justice Kagan took no part ) Justice Breyer wrote that a worker at a plastics factory was protected from retaliatory actions.
Click here for Robert Barnes’ WaPo article.
I stuck around to hear/watch arguments in a case, Borough of Duryea v. Guarnieri, concerning the First Amendment’s petition clause. Some of the historical precedent cited reached back as far as Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest. Respondent’s lawyer, Eric Schnapper : “If you had a problem in England, if the undersheriff took your cow, you could go to the sheriff, but historically, that wasn’t called a petition. If you went to the king, that was a petition,”
Now that’s entertainment!