Weekly Preview: Week of November 5, 2018

Nov 5 Weekly Preview

           On Monday November 5, 2018, the Court will release orders and hear arguments in two cases having to do with a clash between state law and federal law. In Sturgeon v. Frost, the Court is being asked to decide whether the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, bars the National Park Service from regulating non-federal navigable waters surrounding State, Native, and private lands. Those who would answer “yes” are concerned about the impact on Alaskans who live on the surrounding lands and their ability to benefit from their natural resources. In Virginia Uranium v. Warren, the Court is being asked to decide whether the Atomic Energy Act, preempts a state law that looks like it regulates activity in the state’s jurisdiction (here, uranium mining), but has the effect of regulating the radiological safety hazards under the protection of the National Regulatory Commission. Read this editorial for more on Virginia Uranium, and this article for more on Sturgeon.

           On Tuesday, the Court will hear arguments in BNSF Railway Company v. Loos, which has to do with the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (click here for details), and Bucklew v. Precythe,which asks several questions about Missouri’s lethal injection death penalty protocol (click here for more about the case and broader issues relating to the death penalty). On Wednesday, the Court will hear arguments in Culbertson v. Berryhill (about attorney fees in Social Security claim cases) and Republic of Sudan v. Harrison (about whether someone can sue a foreign state by serving the state’s diplomat in the US).

           On Thursday November 8, 2018, the Court will take a break from hearing arguments and working on cases to hold the Investiture Ceremony for Justice Kavanaugh. Supreme Court Justices take two oaths: a Constitutional Oath, administered privately, and a Judicial Oath, administered in a live broadcast (click here for a historical overview of Supreme Court Oaths). After taking the Judicial Oath, a new Justice will usually walk down the 44 steps of the Court’s building with the Chief Justice. However, as CNN reports, Justice Kavanaugh has decided not to go on this walk with the Chief Justice because of security concerns. USA Today and The Mercury News have more on the death threats targeting Justice Kavanaugh and his family.

The Court will end the week with a conference on Friday November 9, and will discuss a number of cases. In Louisiana Public Service Commission v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Court is being asked to consider questions relating to the Federal Power Act conflicts with state law. In Patterson v. Walgreens, the Court is being asked to overturn a 1977 precedent. TWA v. Hardison, that limits the protections Title VII provides to employees engaging in religious practices. In Carty v. Texas, the Court is being asked to decide questions relating to habeas review of cumulative prejudice in trials for capital cases. The case involves a British woman on Texas’s death row, and has been receiving media attention in the United Kingdom and here in the United States.

The complete list of cases set to be discussed at that conference can be found here.

This post was written by ISCOTUS Fellow Zoe-Arthurson McColl, Chicago-Kent Class of 2020, edited by Matthew Webber, ISCOTUS Editorial Coordinator, Chicago-Kent Class of 2019, and overseen by ISCOTUS Co-Director Carolyn Shapiro.


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