Event announcement

Event announcementOn March 27 at 12 p.m., the D.C. Bar will host the next installment of its seminar series on issues and cases before the court. Ruthanne Deutsch and Brian Wolfman will focus on Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, in which the court held that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires a school […]

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Event announcement

On March 27 at 12 p.m., the D.C. Bar will host the next installment of its seminar series on issues and cases before the court. Ruthanne Deutsch and Brian Wolfman will focus on Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, in which the court held that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires a school to offer an “individualized education program” reasonably calculated to allow a student to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances. This blog’s Edith Roberts will serve as the moderator. More information and registration are available for the in-person presentation and the webinar.

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Relist Watch

Relist WatchJohn Elwood reviews Monday’s relists. In a week where there was no shortage of bigly stories for court-watchers, it’s hard to know where to begin. The really tough questions the Senate threw at Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch this week? Or the fact that we as a nation remain deeply divided on basic issues, unable […]

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Relist Watch

John Elwood reviews Monday’s relists.

In a week where there was no shortage of bigly stories for court-watchers, it’s hard to know where to begin. The really tough questions the Senate threw at Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch this week? Or the fact that we as a nation remain deeply divided on basic issues, unable even to recognize the common humanity of those who disagree? But at least the rough and tumble of public debate has achieved consensus on one issue: There must be punctuation to reflect the dopey blank-stare pause between “uuuh” and “what?,” known to grammarians as an “Oxnard Comma.”

While the two serial relists that have been hanging around for a month or more return for another conference, last week’s three new relists were unceremoniously shown the door without so much as a dissent from denial. The hardy duo of returning relists are joined this week by four new hopefuls. Every one involves a very narrow issue – none of them is the sort of blockbuster the court has produced in recent years. The cases fall into two broad categories – we’ll briefly describe them all, alternating between cases involving human drama and nerd-fests.

Ayestas v. Davis, 16-6795, has drama – it’s a capital case in which the charging memo recommending the death penalty evidently stated that one of the two main reasons for seeking the ultimate punishment against Carlos Ayestas was that “THE DEFENDANT IS NOT A CITIZEN.” (Based on the portion of the memo that I’ve seen, the “shift” keys on the author’s computer have never felt a pinkie’s sweet caress.) That gets the reader’s attention, even without the screaming caps, but then you get to the legal questions, which are not quite as captivating, involving as they do whether the district court on Ayestas’ habeas claim abused its discretion by refusing a stay and amendment necessary to exhaust claims of error and whether the court of appeals erred in denying resources to investigate ineffective assistance of counsel claims.

If that doesn’t grab you, how about Leidos, Inc., fka SAIC, Inc. v. Indiana Public Retirement System, et al., 16-581? That case involves a question presented that mentions a circuit split involving about a quarter of the American landmass and all of our money, between the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 3rd and 9th Circuits, and implicating the idea that “companies can control what they have to disclose … by controlling what they say to the market.” The 2nd Circuit held that a particular Securities and Exchange Commission regulation created a duty to disclose that was actionable under Rule 10b-5 even if those disclosures are not necessary to make companies’ affirmative statements not misleading. Petitioner Leidos, Inc. says the 3rd and 9th Circuits take the opposite position. The regulation in question is Item three-oh-three of SEC regulation S-K. Readers will have to decide which is more obscure – the regulation in question, or the pop-culture reference at the associated hyperlink.

Still not hooked? Needham v. Lewis, 16-881, involves a dramatic confrontation between police office Matthew Needham and Dominique Lewis that was completely captured in the officer’s dashboard video. According to the petition, Lewis, a back-seat passenger in a stopped vehicle, jumped into the front seat and began driving directly at Needham, and even swerved to pursue him after Needham moved to get out of the way. The case presents fact-intensive questions about whether Lewis posed an imminent threat to Needham, who shot and killed Lewis.

That leaves our remaining nerd-fest. U.S. Bank National Association v. Village at Lakeridge, 15-1509, involves questions so important for the Republic, so pressing for our body politic, that the Supreme Court of the United States called for, and now has received, the views of the solicitor general. The Bankruptcy Code gives special treatment to creditors who are considered “insiders.” The code provides that before a Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan for reorganization may be approved, at least one class of impaired claims must vote in favor of the plan, determined without including the favorable vote of any insider. There are several questions, but the central one is something like this: When a creditor buys a claim from an insider, does the creditor acquire the claim-holder’s insider status? The Supreme Court thought enough of the issue to request the view of the solicitor general, who opined that, notwithstanding “some imprecise language,” the 9th Circuit basically got things right in holding that a person does not become an insider solely by acquiring a claim from an insider.

We can all agree that all four of these cases are unquestionably among the most important 70 or so cases in America. Tune in on Monday to see which of these clearly deserving cases is unjustifiably denied a place on next fall’s docket. Until next time!

Thanks to Bryan U. Gividen for compiling the cases in this post.

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Returning Relists

Salazar-Limon v. City of Houston
16-515
Issue: Whether, when a police officer shoots an unarmed person in the back and the person testifies that he was merely walking away when shot, a court may grant summary judgment to the officer in a suit for excessive force by concluding that it is an “undisputed fact” that the person reached for his waistband just because the officer said he did. 

(relisted after the February 17, February 24, March 3 and March 17 conferences)

 

Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
16-111
Issue: Whether applying Colorado’s public accommodations law to compel the petitioner to create expression that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage violates the free speech or free exercise clause of the First Amendment.

(relisted after the February 24, March 3 and March 17 conferences)

 

New Relists

U.S. Bank National Association v. Village at Lakeridge
15-1509
Issues: (1) Whether an assignee of an insider claim acquires the original claimant’s insider status, such that his or her vote to confirm a cramdown plan cannot be counted under 11 U.S.C. § 1129(a)(10); (2) whether the appropriate standard of review for determining non-statutory insider status is the de novo standard of review applied by the Third, Seventh, and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeal, or the clearly erroneous standard of review adopted for the first time by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal in this action; and (3) whether the proper test for determining non-statutory insider status requires bankruptcy courts to conduct an “arm’s length” analysis as applied by the Third, Seventh and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeal, or to apply a “functional equivalent” test which looks to factors comparable to those enumerated for statutory insider classifications as erroneously applied for the first time by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal in this action. CVSG: 2/13/2017.

(relisted after the March 17 conference)

 

Leidos, Inc., fka SAIC, Inc. v. Indiana Public Retirement System, et al.
16-581
Issues: Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit erred in holding – in direct conflict with the decisions of the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 3rd and 9th Circuits – that Item 303 of Securities and Exchange Commission Regulation S-K creates a duty to disclose that is actionable under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and SEC Rule 10b-5.

(relisted after the March 17 conference)

 

Needham v. Lewis
16-881
Issues: 1) Whether, viewing the evidence from the officer’s perspective at the time of the incident as shown in the dashboard video, a reasonable officer could have believed that the decedent posed an imminent threat of serious harm to the officer or others in the vicinity; and (2) whether, at the time of the incident, the law clearly established in a particularized sense, considering the evidence available including the dashboard video, that the use of deadly force was unlawful in this situation.

(relisted after the March 17 conference)

 

Ayestas v. Davis
16-6795
Issues: (1) Whether reasonable jurists could disagree that, by anticipatorily applying a procedural default not actually grounded in state law, a district court abused its discretion when it refused a routine stay and amendment necessary to exhaust claims associated with newly discovered evidence revealing overt discrimination in the prosecution’s decision to seek the death penalty; and (2) whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit erred in holding that 18 U.S.C. § 3599(f) withholds “reasonably necessary” resources to investigate and develop an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim that state habeas counsel forfeited, where the claimant’s existing evidence does not meet the ultimate burden of proof at the time the Section 3599(f) motion is made.

(relisted after the March 17 conference)

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Schumer announces “no” vote on Gorsuch nomination, would support filibuster

Schumer announces “no” vote on Gorsuch nomination, would support filibusterThe confirmation hearing for Judge Neil Gorsuch continues today, as senators hear from a variety of witnesses who are testifying for and against Gorsuch’s nomination to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. However, this morning’s biggest news on the Gorsuch nomination came from outside the hearing room. In an announcement […]

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Schumer announces “no” vote on Gorsuch nomination, would support filibuster

The confirmation hearing for Judge Neil Gorsuch continues today, as senators hear from a variety of witnesses who are testifying for and against Gorsuch’s nomination to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. However, this morning’s biggest news on the Gorsuch nomination came from outside the hearing room. In an announcement made over Twitter this morning, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that he “cannot support Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court.” That announcement was hardly a surprise. And because Republicans currently hold 52 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate, they wouldn’t need Schumer’s vote to confirm Gorsuch on a straight up-or-down vote. However, Schumer also seemed to suggest that he would support a filibuster of the Gorsuch nomination. Under the current Senate rules, if the Democrats were to threaten a filibuster, Republicans would need at least 60 votes to force a vote on the nomination – a process known as “cloture.” Schumer warned that “Judge Gorsuch’s nomination will face a cloture vote & as I’ve said, he will have to earn sixty votes for confirmation.” Schumer’s vote on cloture, he indicated, will be “no.” There was no indication yet, though, that 40 senators would vote against cloture to sustain a filibuster. A filibuster would put the ball in the Republicans’ court, possibly leading them to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, which would allow Gorsuch to be confirmed by a simple majority. Democrats made a similar change, known as invoking the “nuclear option,” to confirm lower-court nominees in 2013. That move drew strong condemnation at the time from Sen. Mitch McConnell, now the Senate Majority Leader, who would be left with a difficult choice.

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Event announcement

Event announcementOn March 30 at 2 p.m., the State & Local Legal Center will host a midterm review of the Supreme Court’s docket. Speakers will include Matt Wessler, Tom Bondy and Lawrence Hurley. More information and registration are available at this link.

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Event announcement

On March 30 at 2 p.m., the State & Local Legal Center will host a midterm review of the Supreme Court’s docket. Speakers will include Matt Wessler, Tom Bondy and Lawrence Hurley. More information and registration are available at this link.

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Ginsburg shares stage with performers as opera meets legal themes

When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg walked on stage yesterday at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House, the capacity crowd rose to greet her with a standing ovation. According to Francesca Zambello, the artistic director of the Washington National Opera, such an honor from an audience is usually reserved for the stage returns of the most beloved […]

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When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg walked on stage yesterday at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House, the capacity crowd rose to greet her with a standing ovation.

According to Francesca Zambello, the artistic director of the Washington National Opera, such an honor from an audience is usually reserved for the stage returns of the most beloved singers – like soprano Beverly Sills, whom Time magazine once called “America’s Queen of Opera.”

Ginsburg curtsies with orchestra conductor Philippe Auguin.

In 2017, Ginsburg could lay claim to that title. Zambello says the justice is “probably the most famous person in America right now who is outspoken and positive about opera.” And in recent years, this “great advocate of the art form,” according to Zambello, has become much more than a passionate fan. This past fall, Ginsburg performed in a speaking role as the Duchess of Krakenthorp at the opening night of the WNO’s production of Gaetano Donizetti’s “La fille du régiment.” Her friendship and legal sparring with the late Justice Antonin Scalia, also an opera fan, even inspired Derrick Wang to write a one-act comedic opera, “Scalia/Ginsburg,” which premiered in 2015.

Last night, Ginsburg shared the stage with members of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program and the Washington National Opera Orchestra. For each of the ten pieces in the program, the justice gave a brief introduction to the opera and connected the scene to issues that have arisen under U.S. law.

Although a first in Washington, a similar event has been held for the past five years at the Glimmerglass Festival, an annual opera festival in Cooperstown, New York. The organizers booked the inaugural event in 2012, “Trials in Opera,” in a small theater, but it quickly reached capacity. Since then, Ginsburg has held the stage in the festival’s main theater, which seats 914. She still sells out every year, and Brittany Lesavoy, the festival’s director of public relations, credits the justice with attracting quite a few first-time opera-goers to Glimmerglass.

Yesterday’s event featured the following performances:

  1. Overture to “Fidelio” by Ludwig van Beethoven

Leonore disguises herself as a man to rescue her husband from prison. Contrasting Leonore (and Minnie from Giacomo Puccini’s “The Girl of the West”) with what Ginsburg called the typical depictions of women in operas, hapless victims or evil temptresses, Ginsburg observed that these resourceful and courageous heroines “portray the way women really are.”

  1. Act I Quartet “Alice. Meg. Nannetta.” from “Falstaff” by Giuseppe Verdi

Alice and Meg discover that Falstaff has written them identical love letters in an attempt to access their husbands’ money. Referring to several other instances of fraudulent or deceptive letters in operas, Ginsburg explained that the U.S. mail fraud statute was enacted to prevent just these types of situations – “rapscallions scheming to fleece innocent country folk.”

  1. Act I Duet “Quel vecchio maledivami!” from “Rigoletto” by Giuseppe Verdi

The assassin Sparafucile offers his services to Rigoletto. Ginsburg referenced a 1993 triple murder-for-hire in which the assassin followed instructions from the book “Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors.” The victims’ family sued the book publisher for aiding and abetting the murders. A district court protected the publisher under the First Amendment, but the court of appeals reversed and ruled that the publisher could be held liable.

  1. Act III Quintet “Alle danze questa sera” from “Un ballo in maschera” by Giuseppe Verdi

Amelia’s husband, Renato, plans to murder the governor of Boston, Riccardo, whom Amelia loves, at a masked ball. Ginsburg explained that the historical event inspiring this opera involved the murder of King Gustav III of Sweden, who was assassinated at a masquerade in 1792. Relating the opera to the First Amendment, Ginsburg noted that censorship standards in Verdi’s time did not allow a depiction of regicide—or of Gustav’s preference for male lovers—on stage, so Verdi had to make adjustments to the setting and plot.

  1. “E lucevan le stele” from “Tosca” by Giacomo Puccini

After refusing to betray his friend, Cavaradossi is sentenced to death by firing squad for treason. Ginsburg noted that certain inmates on death row have begun requesting execution by firing squad, but all those requests have been denied. Ginsburg also reported that the administration of the death penalty in the United States is now limited to a handful of counties in five states and that the number of executions has declined from 98 in 1999 to 20 in 2016.

  1. Seguidilla: “Près des remparts de Séville” from “Carmen” by Georges Bizet

José frees Carmen after she sings a song suggesting she will spend a night of dancing and passion with him. Ginsburg noted that 97.8 percent of federal district court convictions now occur through plea bargains (though perhaps arrived at less melodiously).

Ginsburg signs as witness to the contract between Belcore (left) and Nemorino.

  1. Act II Duet “Venti scudi?” from “L’elisir d’amore” by Gaetano Donizetti

In what Ginsburg called an example of the reason for contracts law, Nemorino signs a contract with Belcore (secretly his rival) to join the regiment in return for money to buy a love potion to win Adina’s affection.

  1. “I telegraph from Colfax, Louisiana” from “Appomattox” by Philip Glass

Morris Chester reports the massacre of one hundred black militiamen by the Ku Klux Klan. Ginsburg borrowed from her dissent in Shelby County v. Holder; “‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice’” if there is “‘a steadfast national commitment to see the task through to completion.’”

  1. Act II duet “Fu la sorte dell’armi” from “Aida” by Giuseppe Verdi

Pharoah’s daughter, Amneris, tricks Aida, a slave, into revealing her love for Radamès by claiming that Radamès has died. Ginsburg joked that nowadays, Aida could have sued for “intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

  1. Sextet “A nice dilemma we have here…Oh joy unbounded!” from “Trial by Jury” by Arthur Sullivan

Attempting to resolve a marriage dispute, the judge offers to marry the jilted bride himself. The singers looked to Ginsburg as they sang lines meant to refer to Angelina, the bride — “and she is a judge, and a good judge too.” Ginsburg noted that in last night’s performance, the jury consisted mainly of women, “who now enjoy almost equal citizenship status.”

Ginsburg officiates over the impromptu wedding of the judge and Angelina.

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SCOTUS Map: February and March 2017

February saw a majority of the Supreme Court justices escape Washington for warmer weather. On February 6, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the Rathbun Lecture on a Meaningful Life at Stanford University, where she encouraged students to “do something outside yourself.” “Something to repair tears in your community,” Ginsburg elaborated. “Something to make life a […]

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February saw a majority of the Supreme Court justices escape Washington for warmer weather.

On February 6, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the Rathbun Lecture on a Meaningful Life at Stanford University, where she encouraged students to “do something outside yourself.” “Something to repair tears in your community,” Ginsburg elaborated. “Something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you. That’s what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself, but for one’s community.” Full video of the event is accessible at Stanford’s YouTube page.

Ginsburg next traveled to Hawaii, where she served as the US Supreme Court Jurist-in-Residence at the University of Hawai’i at M­ānoa William S. Richardson School of Law from February 8-12. A short video of her visit is available online.

While in the Aloha State, the justice also took time to speak with local high school students participating in a “Courts in the Community” program. According to the Honolulu Civil Beat, one of the students asked Ginsburg about immigration, to which she replied: “I think of the US as a place that welcomes people from abroad who want to work and who are yearning to be free. It’s disheartening to see that there are some people who don’t agree with that view who think our borders should be closed. But it’s not the first time in U.S. history that has happened.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor traveled to the U.S. Virgin Islands to take part in the territory’s celebration of the Transfer Day Centennial. On February 8 and 9, she participated in two events hosted by the District Court of the U.S. Virgin Islands – one held on the island of St. Thomas, and one on St. Croix. Sotomayor received an honorary doctor of laws degree and spoke at a student convocation at the University of the Virgin Islands on February 9. “There is more than one way to fight discrimination,” she told the audience. “Discrimination exists for different reasons, is expressed in different ways, and therefore needs to be addressed in different ways.” The Virgin Islands Consortium provides a summary of the event.

Meanwhile, Justice Anthony Kennedy and Justice Samuel Alito spent some time in Southern California. Kennedy spoke at an Association of Business Trial Lawyers event on February 9. Alito gave the keynote speech at the Chapman Law Review’s Annual Symposium on February 10. A brief summary and pictures are posted on Chapman University’s website.

Two justices accepted awards on February 11: Alito received the Statesmanship Award at the Claremont Institute’s 2017 Annual Dinner in honor of Sir Winston S. Churchill, while Justice Stephen Breyer was honored with the Tau Epsilon Rho Law Society’s Benjamin Nathan Cardozo Memorial Award in Sarasota, Florida. There, Breyer kept his remarks vague and apolitical, answering a question about President Donald Trump’s temporary immigration ban by saying, “I’m interested and I’ve read some of the things, some of the papers involved.” The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that Breyer was also asked for his reaction to Trump’s comments about the judiciary, to which he responded, “I have no thoughts that I would express.”

On Valentine’s Day, Kennedy decried the current state of civic discourse while speaking at the California Civic Learning Summit 2.0 in his hometown of Sacramento, calling it “intemperate, irrational, hostile, divisive, insulting, unprincipled.” To avoid being interpreted as singling out certain government officials, the Sacramento Bee writes, Kennedy made sure to clarify that he was not referring to “political dialogue.” “I’m talking about our whole culture of dialogue—reviews of movies, comments on books, advice for young people. We have a duty to show that democracy works through a discourse that’s exciting and admirable, that’s inspiring.”

Also on Valentine’s Day, Alito headlined a Federalist Society “fireside chat” in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

There were a few February events that did not take place in warm-weather locales: On February 11, Justice Clarence Thomas gave the keynote address at the Yale Law School Federalist Society’s conference celebrating his 25 years on the Supreme Court. Yale Daily News has a recap of Thomas’ surprise appearance.

Breyer returned to Boston to participate in a February 13 French Cultural Center discussion about courtroom art. In a very Breyer move, the justice spoke in French for the entirety of the event. Photos from the night are available on the French Cultural Center’s Facebook page.

At a February 23 Newseum event in Washington, Ginsburg offered a cautiously optimistic assessment of today’s political climate. “I would say that we are not experiencing the best of times, but there’s hope in seeing how the public is reacting to it.” According to CNN, Ginsburg had this to say about Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit: “I think he is very easy to get along with. He writes very well.” Additional coverage comes from the GW Hatchet.

Looking at the justices’ March events:

  • As part of the Washington National Opera’s “Justice at the Opera” program, Ginsburg provided commentary for selected scenes and arias that were performed by young artists yesterday evening.
  • Sotomayor participated in a March 9 Q&A with law students at the University of California, Berkeley, where she jokingly used the phrase “alternative facts” to describe critics’ comments about her intelligence in the run-up to her 2009 nomination to the court. According to SFGate, Sotomayor told the audience, “I’m not the smartest person in the Supreme Court room.” However, she continued, “I give myself credit for having a vision of how the law affects people.” Further coverage of the event comes from the Associated Press.
  • Sotomayor is set to speak to students at Stanford University today.
  • Chief Justice John Roberts shares the stage with Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and several other federal judges today for a panel on Judge Henry J. Friendly, the appellate judge for whom Roberts and Garland both clerked.
  • On March 15, Alito speaks at an Advocati Christi event for St. Paul Inside the Walls, a Catholic organization in Madison, New Jersey.
  • On March 23, Alito delivers a lecture on the Constitution as part of the Heritage Center of the Union League of Philadelphia’s Liberty Series.

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Event announcement

Event announcementOn March 16 at 12 p.m. PST, the Bay Area Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society will host a panel discussion on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch and the future of the Supreme Court. Speakers will include Jim Brosnahan and Kristin Linsley; Rory Little will serve as moderator. More information about and registration […]

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Event announcement

On March 16 at 12 p.m. PST, the Bay Area Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society will host a panel discussion on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch and the future of the Supreme Court. Speakers will include Jim Brosnahan and Kristin Linsley; Rory Little will serve as moderator. More information about and registration for this event, which will be held at the San Francisco office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, are available at this link.

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Trump to nominate Francisco to serve as solicitor general

Trump to nominate Francisco to serve as solicitor generalPresident Donald Trump has announced that he plans to nominate Noel Francisco, who is currently serving as the acting solicitor general after originally being named the principal deputy solicitor general, to serve as the solicitor general. The announcement comes nearly a month after Charles Cooper, a prominent Washington lawyer who was regarded as the front […]

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Trump to nominate Francisco to serve as solicitor general

President Donald Trump has announced that he plans to nominate Noel Francisco, who is currently serving as the acting solicitor general after originally being named the principal deputy solicitor general, to serve as the solicitor general. The announcement comes nearly a month after Charles Cooper, a prominent Washington lawyer who was regarded as the front runner to fill the slot, announced that he was withdrawing from consideration.

Before joining the Trump administration, Francisco was a partner in the Washington office of Jones Day. During his stint in private practice, he argued several high-profile cases at the court, including Governor Robert McDonnell’s successful challenge to his bribery conviction, a bottling company’s challenge to the constitutionality of recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, and a challenge to the accommodation offered by the federal government to religious nonprofits that objected to providing their female employees with health insurance that includes access to certain forms of birth control. Before joining Jones Day, Francisco served in the George W. Bush administration, in both the White House and the Office of Legal Counsel.

Jeffrey Wall, a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell, will be named the principal deputy solicitor general. Wall has argued at the court 11 times, both while in private practice and in his prior job as an assistant to the solicitor general.

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Event announcements

Event announcementsOn March 7 at 12 p.m., the Heritage Foundation will host a discussion entitled, “What Kind of Judge is Neil Gorsuch? A Closer Look at His Cases.” Speakers will include Michael Carvin, Boyden Gray and Ed Whelan; Elizabeth Slattery will serve as moderator. More information about this event, which will also be live-streamed, is available […]

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Event announcements

On March 7 at 12 p.m., the Heritage Foundation will host a discussion entitled, “What Kind of Judge is Neil Gorsuch? A Closer Look at His Cases.” Speakers will include Michael Carvin, Boyden Gray and Ed Whelan; Elizabeth Slattery will serve as moderator. More information about this event, which will also be live-streamed, is available on the foundation’s website.

Additionally, on March 13 at 12 p.m., the Heritage Foundation will host a different discussion entitled, “Who Is Neil Gorsuch? A Closer Look at Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee.” Mark Hansen will keynote; Janie Nitze, Matt Owen and Eric Tung will serve as panelists; and Elizabeth Slattery will moderate. More information about this event, which will be live-streamed as well, is available on the foundation’s website.

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What now? Court asks parties to weigh in on next steps in transgender bathroom case

What now? Court asks parties to weigh in on next steps in transgender bathroom caseThis evening the Supreme Court asked both sides in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., a challenge to a Virginia school board’s bathroom policy, to submit letters to the court discussing “how the case should proceed in light of” yesterday’s revocation of the Obama administration’s prior guidance. In that guidance, the federal government had interpreted […]

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What now? Court asks parties to weigh in on next steps in transgender bathroom case

This evening the Supreme Court asked both sides in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., a challenge to a Virginia school board’s bathroom policy, to submit letters to the court discussing “how the case should proceed in light of” yesterday’s revocation of the Obama administration’s prior guidance. In that guidance, the federal government had interpreted a 1975 regulation to require schools to “treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit had relied heavily on the now-revoked guidance in striking down the school board’s policy, which instead required students to use the bathroom that corresponds with the sex that they were assigned at birth.

Both the school board and G.G. – the plaintiff in the case, who identifies as a boy and wants to be allowed to use the boys’ bathroom – had previously advised the court that the case should still proceed even if the Obama administration’s guidance were withdrawn. Even without the guidance, they contended, the justices could and should decide whether the board’s policy violates Title IX, a federal civil rights law that bars discrimination in education. Today’s request, which appears as an entry in the court’s docket for the case, suggests that the court would like to hear more about that argument and why, in the parties’ view, the case should still go forward even now that the guidance at the heart of the 4th Circuit’s ruling is no longer valid.

The deadline for the board and G.G. to file their letters is 2 p.m. next Wednesday, March 1. The case has been scheduled for oral argument on Tuesday, March 28.

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