Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lederman on Article III Standing in the SCOTUS Same-Sex Marriage Cases

Now on SCOTUSblog is the first of several posts by Prof. Marty Lederman (Georgetown) on the Article III standing issues in Hollingsworth v. Perry (docket no. 12-144) and United States v. Windsor (docket no. 12-307). The post is entitled Understanding standing: The Court’s Article III questions in the same-sex marriage cases (I).


January 17, 2013 in Federal Courts, Standing, Supreme Court Cases, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ben-Shahar on the Economics of Arbitration and Access to Justice

Prof. Omri Ben-Shahar (Chicago) has posted on SSRN a draft of his article, Arbitration and Access to Justice: Economic Analysis.  Here’s the abstract:

Mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer contracts are widely regarded as problematic because they limit consumer’s access to judicial forums, to fair procedures, and potentially to any kind of remedy. But rather than looking at consumers as a group, I examine which sub groups of consumers are affected by this limitation more than others. I argue that in most circumstances, access to courts benefits the elite, not the weak. It is a species of open-access policy that has an unintended regressive effect. Paradoxically, rules that limit the use of pre-dispute arbitrations clauses hurt, rather than protect, weaker consumers, as they mandate a regressive reallocation. I also consider the role of class actions, and whether weak consumers are potentially the indirect beneficiaries of class action litigation. This argument has theoretical merit, but it, too, is limited in ways that are often unappreciated.


(Hat Tip: Larry Solum)

January 13, 2013 in Recent Scholarship, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Green on Erie

Prof. Michael Steven Green (William & Mary) is celebrating Erie’s 75th anniversary year with daily “Erieblogging.” His kick-off is here, and you can follow the rest at Prawfsblawg. The most recent installment (as of this post) is Day 10.


January 11, 2013 in Federal Courts, Supreme Court Cases, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Vladeck on Pendent Appellate Jurisdiction and the Collateral Order Doctrine

Prof. Steve Vladeck (American University) has posted on SSRN a draft of his essay, Pendent Appellate Bootstrapping, which will be published in the Green Bag. He also has a Prawfsblawg post on the topic. Here’s the abstract:

Although it has become a settled feature of federal courts jurisprudence, the “collateral order doctrine” first articulated by the Supreme Court in 1949 continues to provoke judicial and academic criticism. "Accordingly," as a unanimous Court stressed in 2006, "we have not mentioned applying the collateral order doctrine recently without emphasizing its modest scope," lest it come to "overpower the substantial finality interests [the final judgment rule] is meant to further."

Notwithstanding the strong policy judgment enmeshed within the final judgment rule and the consistent rhetoric of the Court's collateral order opinions, this short essay demonstrates that the Justices have in fact effected a dramatic (if largely unnoticed) expansion of the collateral order doctrine in recent years — one that, by its nature, applies specifically to private suits seeking damages against government officers in their personal capacity. Starting from the now-settled holding that a government officer’s official immunity is an immediately appealable collateral order (at least as to the relevant legal questions), the Court has used the obscure and obtuse doctrine of “pendent appellate jurisdiction” to sub silentio shoehorn into interlocutory appellate review of a trial court’s contested denial of official immunity (1) whether the plaintiff’s complaint satisfies the applicable pleading standards; (2) the elements of the plaintiff’s cause of action; and (3) the very existence of such a cause of action. More to the point, these expansions have come with exceptionally little analysis, with two of these three jurisdictional holdings buried in footnotes.

Continue reading

January 10, 2013 in Federal Courts, Recent Scholarship, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Thomas on Solomon on the Civil Jury

Now available on the Courts Law section of JOTWELL is an essay by Suja Thomas (Illinois) entitled Considering the Civil Jury. It reviews a recent article by Jason Solomon (William & Mary), The Political Puzzle of the Civil Jury, 61 Emory L.J. 1331 (2012). Suja's review begins:

The civil jury is in this year.  In The Political Puzzle of the Civil Jury, Jason Solomon examines the role of the civil jury as a political institution—in other words, the role of the jury in democracy.  Seeking to begin a discussion in the literature on whether the civil jury serves as a political institution, Solomon exhaustively and critically examines the justifications for the civil jury in this role.


January 9, 2013 in Recent Scholarship, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

SCOTUS Oral Argument in Standard Fire v. Knowles

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral argument in The Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles (No. 11-1450), which considers whether plaintiffs can block CAFA removal by stipulating that the class is seeking damages below the $5 million threshold for CAFA diversity jurisdiction. Check out the oral argument transcript.

For additional coverage:


January 8, 2013 in Class Actions, In the News, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Supreme Court Cases, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Standing Issues in the Same-Sex Marriage Cases (Hollingsworth & Windsor)

We covered earlier the additional questions the Supreme Court asked the parties to brief in Hollingsworth v. Perry (docket no. 12-144) and United States v. Windsor (docket no. 12-307), especially on the issue of Article III standing.  Here’s some recent coverage of those issues:

  • Prawfsblawg, by Howard Wasserman (Florida International)
  • SCOTUSblog, by Neal Devins & Tara Grove (William & Mary)


December 10, 2012 in Standing, Supreme Court Cases, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

WSJ on the Launch of Modria, an Online Small Claims Court

“Modria Launches to Become the Online ‘Small Claims Court for the 21st Century,’” from the WSJ’s Venture Capital Dispatch Blog.


(Hat Tip: Suja Thomas)

November 27, 2012 in In the News, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pfander on Why Judges Leave (Reviewing Burbank, Plager & Ablavsky)

Now available on the Courts Law section of JOTWELL is an essay by Prof. Jim Pfander (Northwestern) entitled Why Judges Leave the Bench. It reviews Stephen Burbank, S. Jay Plager, and Greg Ablavsky's recent article, Leaving the Bench. Jim's essay begins:

Law review articles have both texts and subtexts, messages that come through loud and clear and more subtle hints and suggestions that lurk in the article’s structure or methodology or footnotes.  A recent paper by Stephen Burbank, S. Jay Plager, and Greg Ablavsky nicely illustrates the idea.  In Leaving the Bench, the three co-authors offer a careful assessment of the many factors that shape the decisions of federal judges to step down from their jobs as active members of the Article III judiciary.  In the text of the piece, the authors explore the consequences of various forms of judicial departure and make a persuasive case that the institutional judiciary depends heavily on the contributions of senior status judges.  In the subtext, the authors provide a subtle reminder that judicial behavior, like all human behavior, resists simplistic modeling and one-dimensional explanation.


November 26, 2012 in Federal Courts, Recent Scholarship, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

SCOTUS Oral Argument in Clapper v. Amnesty International: Article III Standing to Challenge Federal Wiretapping Procedures

Although Hurricane Sandy may change things, the Supreme Court is still – as of this post anyway – scheduled to hear oral argument tomorrow in Clapper v. Amnesty International. The issue is whether the plaintiffs have Article III standing to challenge the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Here are a few posts of interest:

For links to all the merits and amicus briefs, head to SCOTUSblog’s case file.


PS: To everyone in Sandy’s exceptionally wide path, stay safe.

October 28, 2012 in Standing, Supreme Court Cases, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Vladeck on Collins & Nash on Federal Crimes in State Courts

Now available on the Courts Law section of JOTWELL is an essay by Prof. Stephen Vladeck (American University) entitled Federal Crimes, State Courts, and Palmore. It reviews Michael G. Collins & Jonathan Remy Nash’s recent article, Prosecuting Federal Crimes in State Courts, 97 Va. L. Rev. 243 (2011). Steve’s review begins:

In 1973, the Supreme Court in Palmore v. United States upheld Congress’s creation of an “Article I” court in the District of Columbia—the D.C. Superior Court—against a claim that Congress lacked the power to invest non-Article III federal courts with the authority to entertain criminal prosecutions arising under federal law. One of the linchpins of Justice White’s analysis for the 8-1 majority was his observation that, “Very early in our history, Congress left the enforcement of selected federal criminal laws to state courts and to state court judges who did not enjoy the protections prescribed for federal judges in Art. III.” As White explained, if it did not violate Article III for Congress to allow state judges to entertain federal criminal prosecutions, then it would be far harder to understand why, in at least some circumstances, non-Article III federal criminal adjudication—especially in a tribunal acting as a quasi-state court— should not also be permissible.

And yet, as Michael G. Collins and Jonathan Remy Nash persuasively demonstrate in Prosecuting Federal Crimes in State Courts, the historical record to which Justice White alluded in Palmore is “sketchy at best.” Instead, Collins and Nash’s article offers a compelling mix of historical, legal, and policy-oriented explanations for why the scattershot exceptions from the earliest years of the Republic may in fact prove the rule—that state courts generally do not (and should not) have the power to entertain criminal prosecutions arising under federal law. And whereas Collins and Nash’s article comes in response to a series of recent proposals to expand the federal criminal jurisdiction of state courts, the true significance of their analysis may be the extent to which it deprives Palmore (and, as such, federal criminal adjudication in non-Article III federal territorial courts in general) of perhaps its strongest analytical underpinning.


October 26, 2012 in Federal Courts, Recent Scholarship, Supreme Court Cases, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Epstein on Greenhouse on Introducing the Supreme Court

Now available on the Courts Law section of JOTWELL is an essay by Prof. Lee Epstein entitled Introducing the Court. It reviews Linda Greenhouse’s recent book, The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press 2012).  The review begins:

The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction is indeed a very short book (far shorter than most law review articles), but it is no “Supreme Court for Dummies.” To the contrary, it is a sophisticated, yet accessible, addition to Oxford’s Very Short Introduction series.

And concludes:

As for you Supreme Court junkies: don’t make the mistake of discounting it. I’ve been studying the Court for nearly thirty years and still learned new things, whether small factoids or different ways to think about an institution that, as Greenhouse rightfully notes, continues to “occup[y] a place in the public imagination.” (p. 87).


October 3, 2012 in Recent Scholarship, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wasserman on Marder, McElroy on Cameras in the Federal Courts

Now available on the Courts Law section of JOTWELL is an essay by Prof. Howard Wasserman (Florida International) entitled SCOTUS in Focus: Two Takes on Cameras in the Federal Courts. It reviews two recent articles: Nancy S. Marder, The Conundrum of Cameras in the Courtroom, Ariz. St. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2012), and Lisa T. McElroy, Cameras at the Supreme Court: A Rhetorical Analysis, BYU L. Rev. (forthcoming 2012). The review begins:

Television cameras in the courtroom probably have been debated since there have been cameras to bring into the courtroom, with periodic spikes in attention around high-profile cases–O.J. Simpson’s criminal trial or Bush v. Gore or this term’s Supreme Court arguments on the Affordable Care Act. In the past two decades, a communications revolution has turned that occasional spike in attention into a constant drumbeat. More attention from more outlets is focused on the federal courts, particularly the Supreme Court. And video is ever-more accessible, as people can watch on a multitude of devices in a multitude of places, and ever-less obtrusive, so courtroom actors can easily be recorded without knowing it.

Yet, as Nancy Marder puts it, “the revolution has been stopped cold at the steps to the U.S. federal courthouse.” And the Justices themselves have erected and manned the barricades–rejecting calls for more open and immediate coverage of oral arguments in the obviously unique ACA cases, fighting Congress over who wields power to decide whether to allow cameras, and even jumping into disputes over cameras in the lower federal courts in high-profile cases.


August 21, 2012 in Recent Scholarship, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Walker on Kalajdzic on Ethics and Class Actions in Canada

Now available on the Courts Law section of JOTWELL is an essay by Prof. Janet Walker (York University – Osgoode Hall) entitled Ethical Lawyering in the Clientless World of Class Actions in Canada. It reviews a recent article by Prof. Jasminka Kalajdzic (University of Windsor), Self Interest, Public Interest, and the Interests of the Absent Client: Legal Ethics and Class Action Praxis, 49 Osgoode Hall L.J. 1 (2011). The review begins:

It is surprising what you can learn by watching the next generation coming of age. In this way, lawyers in the United States can gain much from following the experiences of the Canadian legal community as it climbs the steep learning curve needed to formulate the parameters and protocols for complex litigation.

Civil litigation and the structure of the legal profession in Canada do not pretend to challenge American exceptionalism. There are important differences between the two legal systems. But they have enough in common that academics and others in the U.S. can gain useful insight into class actions practice by hearing how Canadians are currently struggling to meet the kinds of challenges that have long been the subject of debate in the U.S. In this fine article, Jasminka Kalajdzic explores a new subject, at least for Canadian lawyers: the special ethical concerns that arise for counsel in class actions.


July 11, 2012 in Class Actions, International/Comparative Law, Recent Scholarship, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SCOTUSblog Online Symposium on Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum

SCOTUSblog has started an online symposium discussing Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, which will be reargued in the Supreme Court this fall. Here’s a brief introduction by Kali Borkoski. To keep track of the new contributions as they get posted, head here. The guest contributors include:

  • Donald Childress – Pepperdine School of Law
  • Sarah Cleveland – Columbia Law School
  • Anthony Colangelo – SMU Dedman School of Law
  • Susan Farbstein – Harvard Law School
  • Meir Feder – Jones Day
  • Oona Hathaway – Yale Law School
  • Eugene Kontorovich – Northwestern School of Law
  • Julian Ku – Hofstra Law School
  • Michael Ramsey – University of San Diego Law School
  • Beth Stephens – Rutgers School of Law
  • Ingrid Wuerth – Vanderbilt Law School


July 10, 2012 in Conferences/Symposia, Supreme Court Cases, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Malveaux on Sullivan on Iqbal and Employment Discrimination

Now available on the Courts Law section of JOTWELL is an essay by Prof. Suzette Malveaux (Catholic University) entitled Plausibility Pleading and Employment Discrimination. It reviews a recent article by Prof. Charles Sullivan (Seton Hall), Plausibly Pleading Employment Discrimination, 52 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1613 (2011). The review begins:

In a sea of law review articles analyzing the potential impact of the more rigorous federal pleading standard of Ashcroft v. Iqbal, Charles Sullivan’s Plausibly Pleading Employment Discrimination stands out for a number of reasons.  As an initial matter, Sullivan grapples with an important question plaguing the civil rights community and the employment bar: does Swierkiewicz v. Sorema—the unanimous 2002 opinion that took a lenient approach to pleading discrimination cases—remain good law post-Iqbal?  Sullivan argues that Iqbal did not overturn Swierkiewicz, leaving intact the ability of plaintiffs to plead employment discrimination without alleging a prima facie case under the McDonnell Douglas test.

But Sullivan then considers the alternate view: assuming arguendo that Iqbal did overrule Swierkiewicz, what should plaintiffs do to avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim under this more rigorous pleading regime?  Sullivan offers a variety of approaches, each with strengths and weaknesses. This willingness to explore the proverbial edge of the envelope makes this article a compelling read.  It combines pragmatism, creativity, and boldness at a time when many are struggling to make sense of the impact of the new federal pleadings standard in the civil rights arena.  Given the importance of pleadings as an access to justice issue, this article provides an invaluable perspective.


May 29, 2012 in Recent Scholarship, Twombly/Iqbal, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Campos on Brown on Specious Claims & Global Settlements

Now available on the Courts Law section of JOTWELL is an essay by Prof. Sergio Campos (Miami) entitled Striking Out Specious Claims in Mass Tort Global Settlements. It reviews a forthcoming article by Prof. S. Todd Brown (SUNY Buffalo), Specious Claims and Global Settlements.

The review begins:

The late Richard Nagareda once noted that global settlements in mass tort litigation present a “Field of Dreams” problem – “if you build it, they will come.”  In the movie, people came to the Iowa baseball field in the corn fields because it was “money they had, but peace they lacked.”  The opposite is true in mass tort litigation.  In most cases, multinational corporations and plaintiffs’ firms with large inventories of claims typically achieve peace through a global settlement resolving all of the victims’ claims.  It is money that the individual victims lack, and it is why the victims consistently come in droves, many with claims that are specious at best.  In his excellent article Specious Claims and Global Settlements, Todd Brown examines three comprehensive settlements in mass tort litigation to identify the cause of the “Field of Dreams” problem.


May 1, 2012 in Class Actions, Recent Scholarship, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

More Civ Pro Video

We covered earlier the Full Faith & Credit video from the Columbia Law Revue, which won a narrow victory in Above The Law’s Law Revue Video Contest.

Now comes a video, courtesy of the 2012 Emory Law Follies, that features civil procedure prof Rich Freer expertly channeling Michael Bolton (and others):



(Hat Tip: Thom Main)

April 25, 2012 in Film, Music, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Law Revue Land Shows Some Love For Civil Procedure

Video here. And it's one of the finalists for Above The Law's Law Revue Video Contest.

Parental Advisory

(Hat tip: Chris Newman)


April 19, 2012 in Film, Music, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

More Kiobel Coverage

Lots of coverage on Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, which is being argued today:

One issue that isn’t squarely raised by the questions presented is whether the Alien Tort Statute applies to claims brought by one alien against another (as in Kiobel). Amanda Frost’s Academic Round-up for SCOTUSblog covers an essay by Anthony Bellia and Bradford Clark, which argues that the Alien Tort Statute applies only to claims brought by an alien against a U.S. citizen. Marco Simons has a response on Concurring Opinions.


February 28, 2012 in In the News, Recent Scholarship, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Supreme Court Cases, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)