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The Supreme Court's latest orders list is out, with three very interesting grants. First, what happens to a convict's guns? Can a court order them transferred or sold to a buyer of the convict's choice? Second, can a Batson issue be dealt with ex parte? And in the third grant, the Court explores the possibility of a facial challenge to a hotel records law under the Fourth Amendment.

In other news: The Court let another state voting law stay in effect, this time in Texas, in the strongest test of the Purcell v. Gonzalez holding yet. A district court had held that the law had a discriminatory purpose, and blocked it, but the Fifth Circuit, citing Purcell, reversed the trial court.

On Monday, the Supreme Court heard its first oral argument of the October 2014 term. The facts of Heien v. North Carolina are straightforward. Vazquez was driving Heien's car; Heien was sleeping in the back seat. A police officer thought Vazquez looked "stiff and nervous" as he drove by, so the officer followed him. The officer noticed one of the car's brake lights was out, so the officer pulled Vazquez over, issued a citation for the light, and asked for permission to search the car. Boom: drugs.

The issue is that the North Carolina statute in question requires only that a car have a working brake light, not two working brake lights (though the same statute also says all the lights -- plural -- have to be in working order). The state supreme court had never interpreted the law, but a state appellate court was hearing a case on that very issue. Thus, the question presented was "[w]hether a police officer's mistake of law can provide the individualized suspicion that the Fourth Amendment requires to justify a traffic stop."

Last week, we blogged about the Big Fall Conference (aka long conference) at the U.S. Supreme Court. After a summer's worth of backlog clogs up the docket with around 2,000 certiorari petitions, the clerks of the Court sort through the chaff, the justices review their recommendations, and less than one percent are granted cert.

Of the 1,845 listed for Monday's BFC, and SCOTUSblog's "Petitions We're Watching" list, here are a few that we're particularly interested in, covering everything from equality (in marriage and employment) to juvenile sentencing:

Ten years after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review their case, and 30 years after they were convicted, two half-brothers have been cleared of a 1983 sexual assault and murder thanks to DNA. Henry Lee "Buddy" McCollum, 50, has spent three decades on death row, while Leon Brown, 46, was serving a life sentence. Both are expected to be released today, reports The New York Times.

Their case is notable for a number of reasons: McCollum's low IQ, said to be in the 60s, puts him at or near the territory for categorical ineligibility due to his intellectual disability. Brown, who also faced the death penalty at the time, was only 15 when the crime was committed (and would also now be ineligible for execution). And though there have been a handful of death row exonerations in the past, this case looks particularly weak in retrospect -- a coerced confession, an overlooked suspect, and little to no other evidence.

But most of all, it is a sarcastic quip about McCollum's case by Justice Antonin Scalia that's attracting attention.

A motion for relief filed halfway through an execution. Why have you never heard of such things? It's probably because most executions don't last two hours -- lethal injections typically take about 10 minutes.

More interesting than the motion itself was the awkward conference call where the judge heard both sides and seemed close to intervening before convicted murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood was pronounced dead in Arizona. As the call ended, the judge noted that this only delays the issue, and that this would have consequences for other plaintiffs.

Indeed. And though the legal arguments here were rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court, one wonders how long it'll be before the issue finally (and perhaps inevitably) climbs its way back onto the docket.

This was a wee bit unexpected.

Late last week, the Ninth Circuit blocked the execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood, at least temporarily, while he pursued First Amendment right-of-access claims regarding Arizona's drugs of choice for lethal injection. On Monday, eleven judges dissented from the denial of en banc rehearing, with Judge Kozinski writing a separate dissent mocking the death penalty generally.

Then the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and vacated the injunction. And then the Arizona Supreme Court issued a stay. And then they didn't.

How many times have you stared at Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and thought to yourself, "I can't help but wonder ... isn't RBG just an older Carrier Bradshaw?" Of course you have not. But if you understand that reference at all, you'll love the newest Supreme Court parody making the rounds around the Internet.

If you don't, well, we have a list of interesting cases set for the fall. Also, even though we just talked about the death penalty on Friday, the courts are ridin' again, west sidin' again, with the Ninth Circuit staying an execution pending a challenge to a state's secret lethal injection drugs. It's an issue that we've seen crop up repeatedly, nationwide, over the last couple of years, and now, it's a circuit split.

It's also the second anti-death penalty ruling to come from the Ninth Circuit's territory (the other decision was from a district court in California) in less than a week, both of which could end up on the Supreme Court's docket.

A simple title for a simple case with a simple resolution:

Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans "the privacies of life," [...] The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple -- get a warrant.

That's right: in terms of the Fourth Amendment, the smartphone and even the flip-phone, with all of the data they contain, are not akin to patting down a pack of cigarettes in a suspect's pocket.

Looking for today's opinions in ABC v. Aereo and Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer? Check out our additional SCOTUS coverage on our Technologist and In House blogs, respectively.

It's another busy Monday on First Street, with opinions handed down in cases involving securities class actions ("fraud on the market"), EPA greenhouse gas regulation (can they do that?) and the mental state of mind required to be convicted of a federal bank fraud statute.

It's a weird assortment of cases, and probably not the ones you were hoping for, but if environmentalism, holding corporations accountable, or making a federal case out of passing bad checks is your thing, read on for the roundup:

Now we're getting to the good stuff. Last week, we helped your insomnia by recapping the juice man's juiceless juice and incomprehensible cross-ideological splits -- not the sort of stuff that anyone but SCOTUS diehards can sit through without being rendered unconscious through boredom.

Fortunately, Monday has arrived, and with it, a questionable gun straw-purchaser holding, an opinion that will allow Ohio's terrible political speech restriction to be challenged, and maybe, just maybe, the collapse of a nation's economy thanks to SCOTUS and Wall Street vultures creditors.