Supreme Court Review 2017/2018 TERM


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

NOW PLAYING... December 4, 2017 Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association
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Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (12/04/2017)

The Court's decision in New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992), held that the Constitution's fundamental federal structure does not permit Congress to "directly…compel the States to require or prohibit [certain] acts." In September 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act ("PASPA"), 28 U.S.C. § 3701 et seq., against a constitutional challenge under New York by construing PASPA's proscription against States "authoriz[ing]" sports wagering "by law" narrowly to prohibit only the "affirmative 'authorization by law' of gambling schemes," and not repeals by States of existing sports wagering prohibitions. After New Jersey then proceeded to repeal certain of its prohibitions on sports wagering in specified venues in the State, the en banc court reversed course and interpreted PASPA as making it “unlawful” for New Jersey to repeal its prohibitions and affirmed an injunction that requires the State to reinstate the repealed state-law prohibitions. The court then held that it was constitutional for federal law to dictate the extent to which States must maintain their prohibitions on sports wagering. The question presented is: Does a federal statute that prohibits modification or repeal of state-law prohibitions on private conduct impermissibly commandeer the regulatory power of States in contravention of New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992)?

Decision - Future Dangerousness Based on Race (03/04/2017)

On this episode we review the Court's recent decision in Buck v. Davis, wherein the Court considers whether Mr. Buck's trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for knowingly presenting an “expert” who testified that Mr. Buck was more likely to be dangerous in the future because he is Black, where future dangerousness was both a prerequisite for a death sentence and the central issue at sentencing.

Transgender Bathroom Update - Engineering a Delay (12/22/2016)

On this episode we consider a delay granted by the Court in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., a case which the Supreme Court was expected to hear this Term concerning whether states are bound by a Department of Education interpretation of Title IX and 34 C.F.R. § 106.33, which provides that a funding recipient providing sex-separated facilities must “generally treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.”

Police Use of Force: The Provocation Rule (12/21/2016)

On this episode we review the Court's recent grant of review to the case of Los Angeles County v. Mendez, which considers the merits of the Ninth Circuit's application of its "Provocation Rule" and whether that rule conflicts with Supreme Court precedent. Under the “provocation” rule, an officer may be held responsible for an otherwise reasonable use of force where the officer intentionally or recklessly provoked a violent confrontation, and the provocation was itself an independent Fourth Amendment violation.

Use of Current Medical Standards to Revisit Prior Disability Determinations in Death Penalty Cases (12/03/2016)

Whether it violates the Eighth Amendment and this Court’s decisions in Hall v. Florida and Atkins v. Virginia to prohibit the use of current medical standards on intellectual disability, and require the use of outdated medical standards, in determining whether an individual may be executed.