Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Here is a quick recap of the opinions announced today. Amy Howe from SCOTUSblog summarizes the cases, followed by a link to today's opinions. Remaining merits cases: In Plain English : SCOTUSblog:
Argued on April 24, 2012
Plain English Issue: (1) Whether the Quiet Title Act, which provides that the United States may not be sued in disputes about the title to land held in trust for Indian Tribes, applies to all lawsuits involving land in which the United States “claims an interest,” or whether it instead applies only when the plaintiff claims title to the land; and (2) whether an individual’s right to sue under federal law can be based on either (i) his ability to “police” an agency’s compliance with the law or (ii) interests protected by a different federal statute than the one on which suit is based.
8-1 Decision affirming the Court of Appeals with Justice Sotomayor dissenting. The opinion in Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish v. Patchak is here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-246.pdf.
Argued on April 18, 2012
Plain English Issue: When Congress has authorized Native American tribes to take over federal programs from the government and receive reimbursement, but it has also capped the amount of money that can be spent for costs to administer and support the contracts for those federal programs, must a tribe still be fully reimbursed for its costs, or should the federal government instead divide the available funds among the tribes, even if that means that the tribes will receive less than their full costs?
5-4 decision in favor of the Tribe being paid for the full amount of contract support. The opinion in Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter is here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-551.pdf.
Argued on December 6, 2011
Plain English Issue: Whether a court violates a criminal defendant’s rights under the Confrontation Clause – which provides that in all criminal cases, a defendant has the right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him” – by allowing an expert witness to testify about the results of DNA testing conducted by another analyst who has not appeared as a witness at the trial.
A complex decision with several concurrences that add up to a 5-4 decision. The opinion in Williams v. illinois is here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-8505.pdf.
Argued on April 16, 2012
Plain English Issue: (1) Whether courts should defer to the Secretary of Labor’s interpretation of the “outside sales exemption” of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which excuses companies from having to pay overtime for their “outside salesmen,” and its related regulations; and (2) whether the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “outside sales exemption” applies to pharmaceutical sales representatives.
5-4 decision with concurrences that pharmaceutical salespeople are exempt from the federal wage-and-hour law. The opinion in Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham is here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-204.pdf
The orders issued today do NOT include American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock, the Montana Supreme Court challenge to Citizens United v. FEC. The next regularly scheduled orders day is next Monday. The anticipation builds.
UPDATE: Lyle Denniston reports at SCOTUSblog, Campaign finance case re-set:
The Supreme Court will take another look at the Montana campaign finance case at its private Conference on Thursday, according to the Court’s electronic docket.
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Also relisted for the Thursday Conference are two petitions on the constitutionality of displaying a large Christian cross on public land on a hill, Mount Soledad, above San Diego (11-998 and 11-1115).