This morning the Supreme Court begins the second week of the December session with oral arguments in two cases. First up is Guerrero-Lasprilla v. Barr, which asks whether courts can review a request for equitable tolling of the deadline to file a statutory motion to reopen as a question of law, or whether it is a question of fact that cannot be reviewed. Kit Johnson previewed the case for this blog. Kayla Anderson and Soo Min Ko have a preview at Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Center.
Today’s second oral argument is in Thryv v. Click-to-Call Technologies, LP, in which the court will decide whether federal patent law allows an appeal of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s decision to institute a procedure for challenging the validity of a patent after a finding that a one-year time bar does not apply. This blog’s preview came from John Duffy. David Relihan and Jingyi Alice Yao preview the case for Cornell.
On Friday the justices added one case to their merits docket for the term: Carney v. Adams, a First Amendment challenge to Delaware constitutional provision that limits the number of judges that can be affiliated with a particular political party. Amy Howe covers the grant for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. For The New York Times, Adam Liptak reports that “the Supreme Court instructed the parties to address a threshold question in their briefs: Had Mr. Adams suffered the sort of direct injury that gave him standing to sue?”
Also on Friday, President Donald Trump’s lawyers asked the court to freeze a lower-court order requiring compliance by two banks with House subpoenas for the president’s financial records, bringing to three the number of Trump-tax-related cases pending before the Supreme Court. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg later granted a temporary administrative stay and set a December 11 deadline for the House to respond to Trump’s request. This blog’s coverage comes from Amy Howe, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. At Reuters, Lawrence Hurley reports that “[t]he material sought by the committees include records of accounts, transactions and investments linked to Trump, his three oldest children, their immediate family members and several Trump Organization entities.” Greg Stohr reports at Bloomberg that “[t]he latest filing on Friday stems from a Dec. 3 federal appeals court decision that largely rejected Trump’s contentions that lawmakers were exceeding their authority and intruding on his privacy by sending subpoenas to the banks.”
Capping off a busy day, the court on Friday evening “turned down a request from the federal government to allow the executions of four federal inmates to go forward,” according to Amy Howe in a post for this blog that first appeared at Howe on the Court. Howe reports that “the government [had] urged the justices to allow the executions to proceed, even if it would mean that the inmates would be executed while their appeals were still pending.” Jess Bravin reports for The Wall Street Journal that “[n]o justice filed a dissent, but three conservative justices issued a statement suggesting they gave little weight to the inmates’ argument.” For The Economist, Steven Mazie notes that “[t]he Trump administration may have asked for too much, too soon, but early 2020 could still bring the first federal executions America has seen in 17 years.” At Slate (via How Appealing), Mark Joseph Stern writes that “[t]hanks to Friday’s order, we now know the Supreme Court will draw the line on the Trump administration’s never-ending crusade for quick wins somewhere.”
- The editorial board of The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) weighs in on Maine Community Health Options v. United States, which stems from the federal government’s refusal to fully reimburse health insurance companies for losses created as a result of the Affordable Care Act, arguing that “[a] ruling for insurers would require the executive to spend money Congress hasn’t appropriated[; i]t would also prevent Congress from reining in spending discretion granted to the executive and invite a stampede to the courts whenever Congress reduces a government subsidy.”
- The latest episode of Bloomberg Law’s Cases and Controversies podcast focuses on this week’s oral arguments, which involve “an eclectic set of issues … ranging from capital punishment to the latest Obamacare-related tussle.”
- In an op-ed at The Hill, Brian Yablonski and Jonathan Wood look at Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian, in which the justices considered last week whether federal law preempts state-law claims by landowners for cleanup of hazardous waste beyond what the EPA has ordered, maintaining that “[i]f the polluter prevails in this case, property owners will not be the only ones paying the price[:]The environment will suffer, too.”