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Nov 062013

Today, the Supreme Court hears arguments about (1) the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and (2) when actions brought by a state fall under the Class Actions Fairness Act:

(1)   Town of Greece v. Galloway [see our preview at]

  • Does a town violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by starting its board meetings with prayer?

(2)  Mississippi v. AU Optronics Corp. [see our preview at]

  • When is a state’s parens patriae action a “mass action” under the Class Action Fairness Act, and therefore removable to federal court?


Nov 052013

Today, the Supreme Court hears arguments about (1)   (2) the intersection of Congress’ treaty power and federal criminal law; and (3) federal questions in state administrative procedures:

(1)  Medtronic, Inc. v. Boston Scientific Corp. [see our preview at]

  • Does the burden of proving patent infringement in a declaratory judgment action fall upon the licensee or licensor?

(2)  Bond v. United States [see our preview at]

  • Do the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses, read in connection with the treaty power, allow a statute that was enacted by Congress to enforce a treaty to serve as a valid basis for prosecuting a criminal defendant in Federal District Court?

(3)  Sprint Communications Co. v. Jacobs [see our preview at]

  • Should federal courts abstain from remedial actions—state administrative proceedings initiated by a private party—involving a federal question?
Nov 042013

Today, the Supreme Court hears arguments about (1) the Fair Labor Standards Act and (2) the outer limits of personal jurisdiction and venue:

(1) Sandifer v. United State Steel Corp. [see our preview at]

  • Should workers be compensated for time spent putting on and taking off safety gear, when the applicable collective bargaining agreement excludes time spent “changing clothes” from the compensable workday and that exclusion is permitted by section 203(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act?

(2) Walden v. Fiore [see our preview at]

  • Can a court exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant whose only contact with the forum state is his knowledge that the plaintiffs had contacts with the state?
  • Is the district where a plaintiff suffered injury a proper venue if all of the alleged events giving rise to the claim were committed by the defendant in a different district?

Today, the Supreme Court hears arguments about the Constitutional limits on (1) freezing a criminal defendant’s assets without a pretrial hearing; and (2) a state’s use of mental health exam results as rebuttal testimony:

(1) Kaley v. United States [see our preview at]

  • Do the Fifth and Sixth Amendments require a pretrial, adversarial hearing, at which the defendant may challenge the underlying charges before the government can freeze assets needed by the defendant to retain counsel of choice?

(2) Kansas v. Cheever [see our preview at]

  • When a defendant presents expert testimony that he was not in the required mental-state to commit a capital offense because of methamphetamine use, does the State violate the defendant’s right against self-incrimination by presenting rebuttal testimony based on a court-ordered mental evaluation of the defendant?


Today, the Supreme Court hears arguments about (1) prohibitions on considering race in public university admissions; (2) the jurisdiction of federal courts over certain foreign corporations; and (3) the statue of limitations for judicial review on denied disability benefits claims:

(1) Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action [see our preview at]

  • Does a state violate the Equal Protection Clause or political-restructuring doctrine by amending the state constitution to prohibit public universities and schools from using race in their admissions processes?

(2) DaimlerChrysler AG v. Bauman [see our preview at]

  • Does a federal court have jurisdiction over a foreign corporation not incorporated in the forum state solely because the corporation’s indirect corporate subsidiary performs services for the corporation in the forum state?

(3) Heimshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co.  [see our preview at]

  • Does the statute of limitations for judicial review of an adverse determination on a disability benefits claim begin to accrue at the time specified by an insurance policy or when the claimant files an ERISA disability claim?
Oct 092013

Today, the Supreme Court hears arguments about (1) tax law and the jurisdiction of federal district courts; and (2) the intersection of contracts and the rules governing proper venue for resolving disputes:

(1)  US v. Woods  [see our preview at]

  • Does a district court have jurisdiction to determine whether an overstatement penalty should be applied in a partnership-level proceeding?
  • Does the overstatement penalty apply to an underpayment in federal income tax where the transaction lacks economic substance because the sole purpose of the transaction was to inflate the taxpayer’s basis in property?

(2)  Atlantic Marine Construction Co. v. US Dist. Court for the Western Dist. of TX  [see our preview at]

  • Can forum-selection clauses render statutorily proper venue improper?
  • How much weight should courts give forum-selection clauses under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a)?
Oct 082013

Today at SCOTUS:

(1)  How should a court adjudicate a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel when the defendant accepted a plea deal?

– See our preview of Burt v. Titlow at

(2)  Do aggregate limits on individual political campaign contributions violate the First Amendment?

– See our preview McCutcheon v. FEC at

Oct 072013

Today at SCOTUS:

(1) When is a misrepresentation “material” enough to satisfy the “in connection with” requirement for SLUSA’s preclusion?

- See our preview of  Chabourne & Parke LLP v. TroiceWillis of Colo Inc. v. Troice; Proskauer Rose LLP v. Troice at 

(2) Age discrimination and the Equal Protection Clause.

- See our preview of Madigan v. Levin a


Sep 162013

The LII is hiring a new systems administrator.  We’re looking for a combination of old-school configuration-management, maintenance and troubleshooting skills alongside creativity and newfangled notions about building a sophisticated infrastructure to support Semantic Web publishing and Linked Data.  The environment is fast-paced, demanding, infested with smart people, and very much about learning to fly planes while flying planes.  It’s also whatever the opposite of “impersonal” is, and usually fun.

Come join us in Ithaca.  The formal job description and application are here.

Aug 012013

Today, we will be (re)joined by Craig NewtonCraig Newton ‘07, who will be the LII’s new Associate Director for Content Development.   While a student at the Law School, Craig was the Editor-in-Chief of the LII Supreme Court Bulletin.  He has spent the last several years working as an IP litigator for Cooley LLP in San Diego.  An Annapolis graduate, Craig had a first career as a naval officer before attending law school.  He will coordinate and supervise all editorial activities at the LII,  working with us on a series of projects to improve and expand our offerings, including the WEX legal encyclopedia/dictionary,  the constellation of materials surrounding the US Constitution, and our ever-more capable editions of the US Code and the Code of Federal Regulations.  He and  Associate Director for Technology Sara Frug will be working together at the intersection of legal content and engineering to improve search and navigation features, as well as on a number of experiments intended to make our content more discoverable and more usable.

With the addition of Craig — and of consulting designer Manolo Bevia – the LII crew now numbers 9 1/4, delivering services to over 20 million unique visitors each year.