Did you miss your Supreme Court news this week? Let our Weekly Roundup help. (To stay on top of the latest Supreme Court happenings, follow ISCOTUS on Twitter.)
Ten down, three to go. The Court released ten of its thirteen remaining opinions of the term.
On Monday, the Court discussed labor, the Fourth Amendment, patents, the Hobbs Act and RICO.
Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro: the Court held that because the Department of Labor issued its interpretation of the overtime compensation provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act without an explanation, the case should be remanded without placing controlling weight on the Labor Department interpretation. Lydia Wheeler of The Hills details the Court’s opinion here.
Utah v. Strieff: The Court decided that evidence seized during an unlawful stop does not trigger the exclusionary rule if the officer discovers an outstanding warrant. The key to the majority’s holding: the discovery of the warrant breaks the causal chain between the initial stop and the seizure of evidence. Joshua Waimberg of the National Constitution Center explains the case, here. Much of the coverage of the case has focused on Justice Sotomayor’s passionate dissent. See Meghan Daum in the LA Times; Janell Ross in the Washington Post; Matt Ford in Atlantic; John Nichols in the Nation.
Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee: In Monday’s only unanimous opinion, the Court held that the Patent and Trademark Office can apply “the broadest reasonable interpretation” standard in an inter partes review. Ronald Mann of Scotusblog breaks down what he calls “the most important patent case of the year.”
Taylor v. United States: the Court held that the commerce element in a prosecution for robbery under the Hobbs Act is satisfied when the government shows that the defendant robbed or attempted to rob a drug dealer of drugs or drug proceeds. Bloomberg.com comments on this broad application of the Hobbs Act, here.
RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. European Community: The Court decided that section 18 U.S.C. §1962 of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) may include offenses committed abroad, provided that the offenses violate an extraterritorial statute. Also, the private RICO plaintiff must prove a domestic injury. Stephen Dockery of the Wall Street Journal discusses the case.
On Thursday, the Court handed down five more opinions, including the highly anticipated affirmative action and immigration cases.
Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin: This was the second time this case reached the Supreme Court. The first time, in 2012, the Court held that the erred in giving too much deference to the University of Texas (UT) in justifying the need for a race-conscious admissions policy. (UT achieved much of its racial diversity through a “race-neutral” policy that admits a set percentage of students from each Texas high school.) The Fifth Circuit took another look at the case and once again upheld the University’s race-conscious policy. This time, the Supreme Court, with Justice Kennedy writing the majority opinion, upheld UT’s admissions policy. Higher education officials may continue to use race as one of many factors when making admission decisions. Adam Liptak of the New York Times discusses the case, here. Slate.com weighs in on the complexity of the decision. Here at ISCOTUS we offer two takes on the decision: ISCOTUS Director Christopher Schmidt describes how Justice Kennedy broke from his previous patterns in this case; and Vinay Harpalani explains how the decision puts affirmative action on firmer constitutional footing than it’s had in some time.
In Birchfield v. North Dakota, the Court decided that warrantless breath tests following a drunk driving arrest are permissible under the Fourth Amendment. However, warrantless blood tests are still prohibited. Tal Kopan and Ariane de Vogue of CNN report on this 5-3 split decision.
Mathis v. United States: The Court held that Richard Mathis cannot be sentenced under the federal Armed Career Criminal Act that requires a minimum sentence to felons possessing a firearm. The Court decided that Mathis’s prior convictions do not trigger the ACCA because Iowa’s burglary laws are broader than generic burglary laws. The National Constitution Center briefly explains the case, here.
Dollar General Corp. v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians: The Court handed down a split 4-4 decision that upholds the Fifth Circuit’s decision. The Circuit Court decided that Dollar General could not sue for an injunction on the Tribal Court proceedings because tribes have jurisdiction to regulate business with consenting, non tribal members. Victoria Massie from Vox clearly explains the history and case, here.
United States v. Texas: The Court’s 4-4 split upholds the Fifth Circuit Court’s decision to issue an injunction on President Obama’s DAPA program. The Circuit Court held that the program created an a direct and concrete injury on Texas to provide driver’s licenses to immigrants. The Fifth Circuit also determined the program failed to meet the rulemaking standards of the APA. Adam Liptak and Michael Shear from the New York Times offer a concise background and summary of the case, here.
President Obama gave remarks about the Court’s immigration decision. Politico.com explains that legal experts say, “[t]he Supreme Court’s big decision — or non-decision — on immigration, they say could lead to the shutdown for the president’s original program to aid so-caleld Dreamers, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA.”
NBC News discussed how this week’s decisions could affect the upcoming presidential election, especially for the Republican party. “[t]wo major Supreme Court ruling Thursday on immigration and affirmative action would help provide more justification for uneasy Republicans to back [Trump’s] presidential campaign,” Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.