Friday, August 16, 2019

Ninth Circuit partially stays nationwide injunction against Trump administration's asylum restrictions

Today the Ninth Circuit issued a 2-1 decision in East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Barr. The court partially grants and partially denies the government’s motion to stay a nationwide injunction issued by the district court against the Trump administration’s recent restrictions on asylum eligibility.

Because the government had not made a “strong showing” that it was “likely to succeed on the merits,” the court denies the motion for a stay “insofar as the injunction applies within the Ninth Circuit.”

However, the court grants the motion for a stay “insofar as the injunction applies outside the Ninth Circuit, because the nationwide scope of the injunction is not supported by the record as it stands.” On that point, the court states: “While this appeal proceeds, the district court retains jurisdiction to further develop the record in support of a preliminary injunction extending beyond the Ninth Circuit.”

The judges on the motions panel are Judge Wallace Tashima, Judge Milan Smith, and Judge Mark Bennett. Judge Tashima dissents in part—he would have denied the motion to stay in its entirety.

Download East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v Barr (8-16-2019)

 

 

August 16, 2019 in Current Affairs, Federal Courts, Recent Decisions | Permalink | Comments (0)

Durling on Article III and the D.C. Court System

James Durling has published The District of Columbia and Article III, 107 Geo. L.J. 1205 (2019). Here’s the abstract:

Today, it is black-letter law that Congress may create non-Article III courts in the District of Columbia and staff them with judges who lack salary protection and life tenure. Forty-five years ago, the Supreme Court upheld the District’s non-Article III court system. And since that decision, judges and scholars alike have accepted that the District is an exception to Article III.

This Article challenges that consensus. It shows that, as a historical matter, Article III’s judicial protections were long believed to apply to the District. And it demonstrates that the various functional justifications for non-Article III adjudication do not apply to courts in the capital. In short, this Article demonstrates that the current D.C. court system likely violates Article III.

This conclusion should be significant in its own right, since the right to an Article III judge has long been viewed as an essential constitutional safeguard. Indeed, the modern history of the D.C. court system reveals the troubling influence of crime and race on Congress’s decision to create a non-Article III court system in the capital. But the historical research presented in this Article also has broader implications outside the seat of government. Most directly, it suggests a new limit on Congress’s power to create non-Article III tribunals on public lands.

 

 

 

August 16, 2019 in Federal Courts, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Fallon on Bidding Farewell to Constitutional Torts

Richard Fallon has published Bidding Farewell to Constitutional Torts, 107 Calif. L. Rev. 933 (2019). Here’s the abstract:

The Supreme Court displays increasing hostility to constitutional tort claims. Although the Justices sometimes cast their stance as deferential to Congress, recent cases exhibit aggressive judicial lawmaking with respect to official immunity. Among the causes of turbulence in constitutional tort doctrine and the surrounding literature is a failure—not only among the Justices, but also among leading scholarly critics—to see interconnected problems in a sufficiently broad frame.

This Article refocuses analysis along four interconnected dimensions. First, it examines relevant constitutional history, centrally including that of the maxim “for every right, a remedy.” That maxim has exerted significant generative force, but it has also been widely misunderstood. Second, the Article reviews and critiques recent Supreme Court decisions involving constitutional tort claims, many of which reflect fallacious assumptions. Third, the Article addresses the question, What role would damages and injunctive remedies for constitutional violations play in a justly and prudently designed legal system unfettered by historical accidents and path dependence? Commentators almost invariably assume that any gap between constitutional rights and individually effective, make-whole remedies is inherently regrettable. This Article refutes that premise. Although an ideal regime would substitute entity liability for officer liability and afford broad opportunities for victims of constitutional violations to vindicate their rights, it would not always authorize recovery of money damages.

Finally, the Article considers reforms that the Supreme Court could effectuate in the absence of action by Congress. Among other proposals, it calls for expansion of municipal liability in suits under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and for reinvigoration of Bivens actions, but it defends the main outlines of qualified immunity doctrine against a spate of recent critics.

 

 

August 14, 2019 in Federal Courts, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Alabama Attorney General Concedes that 2019 Abortion Law Should Be Partially Enjoined

This May, a lawsuit was filed challenging Alabama’s 2019 abortion law (House Bill 314). The case, Robinson v. Marshall, is pending before Judge Myron Thompson in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. (No. 2:19-cv-00365).

Last week, the Alabama Attorney General filed a response to the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction. He concedes that the law must be—at least partially—enjoined. The Attorney General recognizes that the Alabama statute is unconstitutional under the Supreme Court’s case law, but he states that he will ask the Supreme Court to overrule those decisions. He writes: "For now, though, this Court is bound by Roe and Casey, and these cases require that Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction be granted with respect to the Act’s ban on pre-viability abortions."

This would seem to pave the way for the entry of a preliminary injunction against the Alabama statute, from which the Alabama Attorney General would appeal to the Eleventh Circuit and ultimately the Supreme Court.

Here is the Alabama Attorney General’s filing:

Here is the plaintiffs’ complaint and memorandum in support of their motion for a preliminary injunction:

Here is coverage from Abbey Crain at AL.com. and Kim Chandler at the AP.  

 

 

 

 

August 13, 2019 in Federal Courts, In the News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Interesting Ninth Circuit Decision on Article III Standing and Class Certification

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a unanimous decision in Patel v. Facebook. The panel opinion by Judge Ikuta begins:

Plaintiffs’ complaint alleges that Facebook subjected them to facial-recognition technology without complying with an Illinois statute intended to safeguard their privacy. Because a violation of the Illinois statute injures an individual’s concrete right to privacy, we reject Facebook’s claim that the plaintiffs have failed to allege a concrete injury-in-fact for purposes of Article III standing. Additionally, we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in certifying the class.

Download Patel v Facebook (9th Cir)

 

August 8, 2019 in Class Actions, Federal Courts, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Recent Decisions | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lammon on Qualified Immunity Appeals

Bryan Lammon has posted on SSRN a draft of his article, Blatant Contradictions in Qualified-Immunity Appeals. Here’s the abstract:

Courts hearing an interlocutory qualified-immunity appeal normally have jurisdiction to address only whether the facts assumed by the district court make out a clear constitutional violation. They lack jurisdiction to look behind the district court’s assumed facts to see whether the evidence supports them. The Supreme Court created this limit on the scope of interlocutory review to reduce the burdens of qualified-immunity appeals. But the blatant-contradiction exception to this limit on the scope of review (which stems from the infamous Scott v. Harris) allows appellate courts to review the genuineness of a fact dispute when something in the record blatantly contradicts the district court’s assumed facts.

To assess the blatant-contradiction exception, I created an original dataset of cases invoking the exception in the 12 years after Scott. The data show that the exception is both profoundly unpragmatic and unnecessary. It is an unwieldy and inefficient method for determining appellate jurisdiction. And all of the time spent addressing supposedly blatant contradictions produces few (if any) benefits. Defendants frequently raise the exception and courts regularly reject it — courts unanimously found a blatant contradiction in only 15% of the cases that squarely addressed the matter. The blatant-contradiction exception nevertheless invites attempted appeals, fights over appellate jurisdiction, wasted merits briefing, and delayed district court proceedings.

Scott’s blatant-contradiction exception needs to go. A better practice is one modeled on a supervisory rule that the Third Circuit created (in an opinion written by then-Judge Alito): require district courts to state the facts they assume when denying qualified immunity at the summary-judgment stage, and limit qualified-immunity appeals to addressing only whether those facts make out a clear violation of federal law. The Supreme Court could adopt this rule in an appropriate case. Or the Rules Committee could get involved; the Committee can craft rules on interlocutory appeals. And if the Committee does decide to address qualified-immunity appeals, there are several other aspects of those appeals that are ripe for reform. This article is the first in a series tackling these issues, all written with an eye towards ultimately reforming the law of qualified-immunity appeals.

 

 

August 8, 2019 in Federal Courts, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 2, 2019

Arizona Invokes SCOTUS Original Jurisdiction in Suit Against Sackler Family Over Opioids

This week Arizona filed a bill of complaint (and a motion for leave to file that bill of complaint) in the Supreme Court.

Download Arizona-Motion-for-Leave-to-File-Bill-of-Complaint

The bill begins:

1.  Defendants Richard Sackler, Theresa Sackler, Kathe Sackler, Jonathan Sackler, Mortimer D.A. Sackler, Beverly Sackler, David Sackler, and Ilene Sackler Lefcourt (“the Sacklers”) for decades owned and controlled The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc., Purdue Pharma Inc. and Purdue Pharma, L.P. (collectively, “Purdue”). The Sacklers and Purdue have made billions of dollars off the promotion and sale of opioids, fueling a crisis with devastating effects in Arizona and the nation. The Sacklers and Purdue reaped profits through misleading marketing tactics that were barred by a 2007 consent judgment that Purdue entered into with the State of Arizona. The State is seeking civil penalties and other relief for violation of that consent judgment in a pending case before Pima County Superior Court. See Arizona ex rel. Brnovich v. Purdue Pharma, L.P., et al., No. C20072471 (Ariz. Super. Ct.).

2.  The State brings this action because it has evidence that the Sacklers, Purdue, and the other Defendants were parties in recent years to massive cash transfers—totaling billions of dollars— at a time when Purdue faced enormous exposure for its role in fueling the opioids crisis. These transfers threaten the ability of Purdue to satisfy any relief the State may obtain in its pending proceeding against Purdue. The State therefore brings this action to hold the Defendants accountable for their attempts to loot Purdue, and to ensure that the people of Arizona can obtain adequate relief for the devastation that the Sacklers and Purdue have wrought in this state.

The bill asserts jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1251(b)(3), which provides: “The Supreme Court shall have original but not exclusive jurisdiction of . . . [a]ll actions or proceedings by a State against the citizens of another State or against aliens.”

Here’s a NYT story from Adam Liptak: Arizona Files Novel Lawsuit in Supreme Court Over Opioid Crisis.

 

 

 

August 2, 2019 in Federal Courts, In the News, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Blocking the Courthouse Door: Federal Civil Procedure Obstacles to Justice

The University of the Pacific Law Review has published a symposium issue entitled “Blocking the Courthouse Door: Federal Civil Procedure Obstacles to Justice,” which includes the following contributions:

Michael Vitiello, Due Process and the Myth of Sovereignty 

Donald Doernberg, The Supreme Court’s Cloaking Device: "[C]ongressional judgment about the sound division of labor between state and federal courts" 

Richard Freer, Justice Black Was Right About International Shoe, But for the Wrong Reason 

Thomas Main, Over Passive-Aggressive Model of Civil Adjudication 

Linda Mullenix, Is the Arc of Procedure Bending Towards Injustice?  

 

 

August 1, 2019 in Conferences/Symposia, Federal Courts, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Smith on Litman on the collapse of constitutional remedies

Today on the Courts Law section of JOTWELL is Fred Smith’s essay, How Remedies Disappear. Fred reviews Leah Litman’s recent article, Remedial Convergence and Collapse, 106 Cal. L. Rev. 1477 (2018).

 

 

 

 

July 31, 2019 in Federal Courts, Recent Scholarship, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Woolley on Personal Jurisdiction & the FRCPs

Patrick Woolley has published Rediscovering the Limited Role of the Federal Rules in Regulating Personal Jurisdiction, 56 Hous. L. Rev. 565 (2019). Here’s the abstract:

It is widely taken for granted that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(k) may validly regulate whether a defendant is amenable to personal jurisdiction in federal court. But whether a person is subject to the authority of a court is a substantive matter outside the scope of rulemaking authorized by the Rules Enabling Act (REA). This fundamental principle was well understood when the Federal Rules were originally drafted. It has since been obscured by the failure of courts and commentators alike to place in historical context the 1938 version of Rule 4 and the Supreme Court’s 1946 decision validating that Rule.

The 1938 Rule reflected a paradigm shift in jurisdictional thinking that began to take hold just before the REA became law in 1934: the recognition when a defendant is otherwise amenable to jurisdiction in a federal district, requiring that notice through service of summons be given in the district itself is a formality that serves no substantive purpose. The 1938 Rule simply put aside that formality.

Almost forty years later, the Court intimated in dicta that a Federal Rule may regulate whether a person is amenable to jurisdiction. But casual dicta in a decision that did not even discuss the REA cannot override basic statutory limits on rulemaking. And in the absence of a federal statute that requires otherwise, the Rules of Decision Act generally demands that state law govern amenability to jurisdiction.

Recognizing that the REA does not authorize rules regulating amenability will have a real (albeit limited) effect on jurisdiction in federal court. To the extent that effect is undesirable, the remedy lies with Congress.

 

 

July 30, 2019 in Federal Courts, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 27, 2019

SCOTUS Stays District Court Injunction Against Trump’s Border Wall Funding Declaration

Last night the Supreme Court issued an order in Trump v. Sierra Club, staying an injunction issued by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that blocked the Trump Administration from funding the construction of a border wall by declaring a national emergency under Section 8005 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act. The full text is here:

The application for stay presented to JUSTICE KAGAN and by her referred to the Court is granted. Among the reasons is that the Government has made a sufficient showing at this stage that the plaintiffs have no cause of action to obtain review of the Acting Secretary’s compliance with Section 8005. The District Court’s June 28, 2019 order granting a permanent injunction is stayed pending disposition of the Government’s appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and disposition of the Government’s petition for a writ of certiorari, if such writ is timely sought. Should the petition for a writ of certiorari be denied, this stay shall terminate automatically. In the event the petition for a writ of certiorari is granted, the stay shall terminate when the Court enters its judgment.

Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan would have denied the stay.

Justice Breyer dissented in part from the majority’s order, authoring an opinion that concludes:

I can therefore find no justification for granting the stay in full, as the majority does. I would grant the Government’s application to stay the injunction only to the extent that the injunction prevents the Government from finalizing the contracts or taking other preparatory administrative action, but leave it in place insofar as it precludes the Government from disbursing those funds or beginning construction. I accordingly would grant the stay in part and deny it in part.

 

 

 

 

 

July 27, 2019 in Federal Courts, Recent Decisions, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Interesting Ninth Circuit Decision on the Enforceability of Forum-Selection Clauses After Atlantic Marine

Yesterday the Ninth Circuit issued a unanimous decision in Gemini Technologies, Inc. v. Smith & Wesson Corp., which discusses the relationship between the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Atlantic Marine, state law on forum-selection clauses, and the Supreme Court’s 1972 decision in Bremen.

Judge Fletcher’s opinion notes that under Bremen “a contractual forum-selection clause is ‘unenforceable if enforcement would contravene a strong public policy of the forum in which suit is brought,’ ” and that Atlantic Marine “does not support” the conclusion that “Bremen’s public policy factor is no longer good law.” “Unsurprisingly then, our sister circuits have consistently held that Bremen continues to provide the law for determining the validity and enforceability of a forum-selection clause.” [Op. at 7]

The panel then rules that Idaho law “clearly states a strong public policy” against enforcement of the forum-selection clause. [Op. at 10] And it clarifies that “satisfaction of Bremen’s public policy factor continues to suffice to render a forum-selection clause unenforceable.” [Op. at 11] Judge Fletcher writes:

Bremen held that “[a] contractual choice-of-forum clause should be held unenforceable if enforcement would contravene a strong public policy of the forum in which suit is brought, whether declared by statute or by judicial decision.” 407 U.S. at 15 (emphasis added). We have found nothing in Atlantic Marine that compels a different rule.

It concludes: “We hold that the forum-selection clause at issue here contravenes the strong public policy announced by Idaho Code § 29-110(1) and is therefore unenforceable.” [Op. at 12] 

Download Gemini (9th) 18-35510

 

 

July 25, 2019 in Federal Courts, Recent Decisions | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Davis on State Standing

Seth Davis has published The New Public Standing, 71 Stan. L. Rev. 1229 (2019). Here’s the abstract:

Today’s public litigants are not citizens or individual taxpayers who, suffering no injury of their own, seek instead to stand for the public. Instead, they are states that have suffered financial injuries. In recent years, states have brought many high-profile public law cases against the federal government based upon financial injuries. State standing to sue the federal government for financial injuries is the new public standing.

This Article’s goal is to offer a comprehensive account of the new public standing. It argues that we should not hope—or expect—that the federal courts will treat the new public standing with the disfavor they have shown to citizen and taxpayer standing. Nor, however, should we hope or expect that the federal courts will treat the new public standing as indistinguishable from private standing based upon financial injuries.

One aspect of this thesis is doctrinal and normative. Under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Article III jurisprudence, financial injuries are the paradigmatic example of an injury in fact that supports standing to sue, as contrasted with an ideological injury that does not suffice for standing. What makes the new public standing doctrinally difficult is that while some financial injuries to states mirror those to private parties, others do not. And what makes these cases normatively difficult is that the state attorneys general who sue based upon financial injuries to their states are ideological litigants. The new public standing thus requires us to rethink the terms of the debate about state standing to sue the federal government.

Another aspect of this thesis is descriptive and positive. To ground its normative analysis, this Article attempts to identify the ideological, institutional, and political factors that have contributed to the new public standing and that will shape its future prospects. Analysis of these factors leads to the conclusion that the Court will preserve the new public standing while tinkering with its remedial scope. The new public standing will prove more durable than citizen and taxpayer standing for the public, but will not substitute for the promise of an individual standing upon her conscience in federal court.

 

 

 

July 23, 2019 in Federal Courts, Recent Scholarship, Standing, Subject Matter Jurisdiction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 22, 2019

SCOTUS End of Term Cert Grants

Here’s a recap of some interesting grants of certiorari from the Supreme Court’s end-of-term order lists (June 24 and June 28):

Banister v. Davis presents the question: Whether and under what circumstances a timely Rule 59(e) motion should be recharacterized as a second or successive habeas petition under Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524 (2005).

Follow the Banister merits briefing here: Supreme Court website; SCOTUSblog.

GE Energy Power Conversion France SAS, Corp. v. Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC presents the question: Whether the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”) permits a non-signatory to an arbitration agreement to compel arbitration based on the doctrine of equitable estoppel.

Follow the GE Energy merits briefing here: Supreme Court website; SCOTUSblog.

Guerrero-Lasprilla v. Barr and Ovalles v. Barr (consolidated) involve motions to reopen removal proceedings before the Board of Immigration Appeals. Here is the question presented (as phrased in the Guerrero-Lasprilla petition) is:

The deadline to file a statutory motion to reopen under 8 U.S.C. § 1229a(c)(7) is subject to equitable tolling; all the courts of appeals are in agreement. But they are in conflict as to whether they have jurisdiction to review an agency’s denial of a request for equitable tolling made by someone subject to the “criminal alien bar” pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(C).

The Fifth and Fourth Circuit say review of equitable tolling is a “question of fact” precluded from review under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(C). In contrast, the Ninth Circuit says equitable tolling is a “mixed question,” i.e., “a question of law,” which falls under the jurisdictional savings clause under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(D).

Therefore, the question presented is: Is a request for equitable tolling, as it applies to statutory motions to reopen, judicially reviewable as a “question of law?”

You can follow the merits briefing here: Guerrero-Lasprilla (Supreme Court website)Guerrero-Lasprilla (SCOTUSblog); Ovalles (Supreme Court website); Ovalles (SCOTUSblog).

Lucky Brand Dungarees Inc. v. Marcel Fashion Group Inc. presents the question: Whether, when a plaintiff asserts new claims, federal preclusion principles can bar a defendant from raising defenses that were not actually litigated and resolved in any prior case between the parties.

Follow the Lucky Brand merits briefing here: Supreme Court website; SCOTUSblog.

Opati v. Sudan presents the question: Whether, consistent with this Court’s decision in Republic of Austria v. Altmann, 541 U.S. 677 (2004), the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act applies retroactively, thereby permitting recovery of punitive damages under 28 U.S.C. § 1605A(c) against foreign states for terrorist activities occurring prior to the passage of the current version of the statute.

Follow the Opati merits briefing here: Supreme Court website; SCOTUSblog.

Rodriguez v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. presents the question: Whether courts should determine ownership of a tax refund paid to an affiliated group based on the federal common law “Bob Richards rule,” as three circuits hold, or based on the law of the relevant state, as four circuits hold.

Follow the Rodriguez merits briefing here: Supreme Court website; SCOTUSblog.

Thole v. U.S. Bank, N.A. presents two questions relating to ERISA claims, but the Court itself added a third question: Whether petitioners have demonstrated Article III standing.

Follow the Thole merits briefing here: Supreme Court website; SCOTUSblog.

 

 

 

 

 

July 22, 2019 in Federal Courts, Recent Decisions, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Interesting 5th Circuit Decision on Preclusion, Personal Jurisdiction, Injunctions & Contempt

The Fifth Circuit issued an interesting decision earlier this month. A Texas federal court had enjoined the Department of Labor from enforcing its proposed Fair Labor Standards Act overtime rule. Several months later, a plaintiff in New Jersey sued her employer in a New Jersey federal court, relying on the proposed overtime rule. The Texas federal court then held the New Jersey plaintiff and her counsel in contempt, reasoning that they were bound by the injunction against the Department of Labor.

In a unanimous decision, the Fifth Circuit has now reversed the Texas district court’s contempt order. The whole opinion is worth a read, but here’s a summary from the opinion’s introductory section:

We conclude that the Texas federal court did not have the authority under Rule 65(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to hold Alvarez and her attorneys in contempt, because Alvarez and her attorneys did not act in privity with, and she was not adequately represented by, the DOL in the injunction case; hence, the Texas federal court lacked personal jurisdiction over Alvarez and her attorneys. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the District Court, including the award of attorneys’ fees against Alvarez and her lawyers, and we render judgment in their favor.

Download Alvarez (5th Cir)

 

 

July 18, 2019 in Federal Courts, Recent Decisions | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

AALS Section on Federal Courts: Annual Award for Best Untenured Article on the Law of Federal Jurisdiction

Here is the announcement:

The AALS Section on Federal Courts is pleased to announce the sixth annual award for the best article on the law of federal jurisdiction by a full-time, untenured faculty member at an AALS member or affiliate school ­and to solicit nominations (including self-nominations) for the prize to be awarded at the 2020 AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. 
 
The purpose of the award program is to recognize outstanding scholarship in the field of federal courts by untenured faculty members. To that end, eligible articles are those specifically in the field of Federal Courts that were published by a recognized journal during the twelve-month period ending on September 1, 2019 (date of actual publication determines eligibility). Eligible authors are those who, at the close of nominations (i.e., as of September 15, 2019), are untenured, full-time faculty members at AALS member or affiliate schools, and have not previously won the award.
 
Nominations (or questions about the award) should be directed to Seth Davis at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (sethdavis@berkeley.edu). Without exception, all nominations must be received by 11:59 p.m. (EDT) on September 15, 2019. Nominations will be reviewed by a prize committee comprised of Tara Leigh Grove (William & Mary), Gillian Metzger (Columbia), Jim Pfander (Northwestern), Fred Smith (Emory), and Steve Vladeck (Texas), with the result announced at the Federal Courts section program at the 2020 AALS Annual Meeting.

 

 

 

 

June 19, 2019 in Conferences/Symposia, Federal Courts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 17, 2019

SCOTUS Decision in Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill: Virginia House Lacks Standing to Appeal Ruling Striking Down 2011 Legislative Districts

Today the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill. Justice Ginsburg authors the majority opinion, joined by Justices Thomas, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Gorsuch. The Court rules that the Virginia House of Delegates lacks standing to appeal a three-judge district court’s decision that Virginia’s 2011 legislative districts had been racially gerrymandered in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

The majority first rejects the argument that the State of Virginia had designated its House of Delegates to litigate on its behalf. It then finds that the House of Delegates lacks “standing in its own right,” because it had suffered no “legally and judicially cognizable” injury. Justice Ginsburg writes: “This Court has never held that a judicial decision invalidating a state law as unconstitutional inflicts a discrete, cognizable injury on each organ of government that participated in the law’s passage.”

Justice Alito authors a dissenting opinion, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Breyer and Kavanaugh.

 

 

June 17, 2019 in Federal Courts, Recent Decisions, Standing, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 10, 2019

Some Interesting SCOTUS Cert Grants

There are some interesting grants of certiorari on today’s Supreme Court order list:

Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian (17-1498) presents three questions on the relationship between the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and state common-law claims, including “whether CERCLA pre-empts state common-law claims for restoration that seek cleanup remedies that conflict with EPA-ordered remedies.”

Comcast Corp. v. National Association of African American-Owned Media (18-1171) presents the question: “Does a claim of race discrimination under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 fail in the absence of but-for causation?” (There was a second question presented involving pleading standards under Twombly and Iqbal, but the Court granted cert only as to question #1.)

Intel Corp. Investment Policy Committee v. Sulyma (18-1116) presents the question: “Whether the three-year limitations period in Section 413(2) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. 1113(2), which runs from ‘the earliest date on which the plaintiff had actual knowledge of the breach or violation,’ bars suit where all of the relevant information was disclosed to the plaintiff by the defendants more than three years before the plaintiff filed the complaint, but the plaintiff chose not to read or could not recall having read the information.”

McKinney v. Arizona (18-1109) presents the question: “Whether the Arizona Supreme Court was required to apply current law when weighing mitigating and aggravating evidence to determine whether a death sentence is warranted.” The second question presented is: “Whether the correction of error under Eddings v. Oklahoma, 455 U.S. 104 (1982), requires resentencing.”

Monasky v. Taglieri (18-935) presents two questions relating to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The first is: “Whether a district court’s determination of habitual residence under the Hague Convention should be reviewed de novo, as seven circuits have held, under a deferential version of de novo review, as the First Circuit has held, or under clear-error review, as the Fourth and Sixth Circuits have held.” The second question involves “whether a subjective agreement between the infant’s parents is necessary to establish her habitual residence under the Hague Convention.”

 

 

 

June 10, 2019 in Federal Courts, Recent Decisions, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 3, 2019

SCOTUS Decision in Fort Bend County v. Davis: Title VII’s Charge-Filing Requirement Is Not Jurisdictional

Today the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Fort Bend County v. Davis, covered earlier here. Justice Ginsburg writes the opinion. From the first paragraph: 

As a precondition to the commencement of a Title VII action in court, a complainant must first file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC or Commission). §2000e–5(e)(1), (f)(1). The question this case presents: Is Title VII’s charge-filing precondition to suit a “jurisdictional” requirement that can be raised at any stage of a proceeding; or is it a procedural prescription mandatory if timely raised, but subject to forfeiture if tardily asserted? We hold that Title VII’s charge-filing instruction is not jurisdictional, a term generally reserved to describe the classes of cases a court may entertain (subject-matter jurisdiction) or the persons over whom a court may exercise adjudicatory authority (personal jurisdiction). Kontrick v. Ryan, 540 U. S. 443, 455 (2004). Prerequisites to suit like Title VII’s charge-filing instruction are not of that character; they are properly ranked among the array of claim-processing rules that must be timely raised to come into play.

Although the charge-filing precondition is not jurisdictional, Justice Ginsburg writes that it is “‘mandatory’ in the sense that a court must enforce the rule if a party properly raises it.” [Op. at 7 (citing Eberhart v. United States, 546 U.S. 12, 19 (2005) (per curiam))]. She notes, however, that “[t]he Court has reserved whether mandatory claim-processing rules may ever be subject to equitable exceptions.” [n.5 (citing Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Servs. of Chicago, 583 U.S. ___, ___, n. 3 (2017))].

Justice Ginsburg concludes: “Title VII’s charge-filing requirement is a processing rule, albeit a mandatory one, not a jurisdictional prescription delineating the adjudicatory authority of courts.”

 

 

 

June 3, 2019 in Federal Courts, Recent Decisions, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

SCOTUS Decision on Removal by Counterclaim Defendants: Home Depot v. Jackson

Today the Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 decision in Home Depot U. S. A., Inc. v. Jackson. Justice Thomas authored the majority opinion, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. It begins:

The general removal statute, 28 U. S. C. §1441(a), provides that “any civil action” over which a federal court would have original jurisdiction may be removed to federal court by “the defendant or the defendants.” The Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) provides that “[a] class action” may be removed to federal court by “any defendant without the consent of all defendants.” 28 U. S. C. §1453(b). In this case, we address whether either provision allows a third-party counterclaim defendant—that is, a party brought into a lawsuit through a counterclaim filed by the original defendant—to remove the counterclaim filed against it. Because in the context of these removal provisions the term “defendant” refers only to the party sued by the original plaintiff, we conclude that neither provision allows such a third party to remove.

Justice Alito authored a dissenting opinion, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.

 

 

 

 

 

May 28, 2019 in Class Actions, Federal Courts, Recent Decisions, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)