Supreme Court Review 2015/2016 TERM
FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2016


A weekly discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court’s most recent opinions, oral arguments and grants of certiorari.

NOW PLAYING... May 10, 2016 May Congress Legislate a New Rule Courts Must Apply in a Particular Pending Case

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May Congress Legislate a New Rule Courts Must Apply in a Particular Pending Case (05/10/2016)

This case concerns nearly $2 billion of bonds in which Bank Markazi, the Central Bank of Iran, held an interest in Europe as part of its foreign currency reserves. Plaintiffs, who hold default judgments against Iran, tried to seize the assets. While the case was pending, Congress enacted §502 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, 22 U.S.C. §8772. By its terms, that statute applies only to this one case: to “the financial assets that are identified in and the subject of proceedings in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Peterson et al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran et al. “In order to ensure that Iran is held accountable for paying the judgments,” it provides that, notwithstanding any other state or federal law, the assets “shall be subject to execution” upon only two findings—essentially, that Bank Markazi has a beneficial interest in them and that no one else does. The question presented is: Whether §8772—a statute that effectively directs a particular result in a single pending case—violates the separation of powers.

May a State Challenge an Executive Branch Decision to Defer the Deportation of Entire Classes of Illegal Aliens (05/07/2016)

On this episode, we review the Court's oral arguments in United States v. Texas, which considers whether a State has Article III standing and a justiciable cause of action under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. § 500 et seq., to challenge the Secretary’s exercise of immigration enforcement discretion, simply because an increase in the number of immigrants receiving deferred action might ultimately increase the net costs of the State’s driver’s license program.

Decision - Heffernan v. Paterson, N.J. (04/30/2016)

On this episode we review the Court's decision in Heffernan v. Paterson, N.J., which considered whether the First Amendment bars the government from demoting a public employee based on a supervisor's perception that the employee supports a political candidate, even if that perception is inaccurate.

May States Criminalize the Refusal to Submit to a Breathalyzer Test? (04/23/2016)

On this episode, we review the oral arguments this week in three consolidated cases, known as Birchfield v. North Dakota, in which the Court considers whether in the absence of a warrant, a State may make it a crime for a person to refuse to take a chemical test to detect the presence of alcohol in the person’s blood.

The Full Faith and Credit Clause and Fairness (04/22/2016)

On this episode we review the Court's opinion this week in California Franchise Tax Board v. Hyatt, which considers whether the Constitution permits a Nevada Court to apply a rule of Nevada law that awards damages against California that are greater than it could award against its own state in similar circumstances.