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With all the attention given to the Supreme Court's recent rulings on Obamacare, same-sex marriage, and the death penalty, it was easy to overlook several other important decisions. For example, last Thursday, the Supreme Court recognized that housing policies which have a disproportionate impact of certain groups can violate the Fair Housing Act.

The ruling is the first time the Supreme Court has approved disparate impact claims, though they have been used widely for decades. The decision allows advocates to maintain a major tool in fighting housing discrimination, where intentional discrimination can often be hard to establish.

The Supreme Court ruled today that a government program that sought to prop up the price of raisins by seizing excess production is a taking that requires just compensation. Under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act, a New Deal era attempt to protect agricultural markets, government-backed agricultural boards can set "marketing orders," under which a certain amount of a crop is set aside and sold off-market.

Since the raisins are actually seized, that constitutes a physical appropriation and a per se taking. The fact that the farmers retain an interest in the raisins and that they are compensated through higher market prices does not matter, according to the Court.

In a unanimous decision released Monday, the Supreme Court held that debtors in bankruptcy cannot void a second mortgage lien on a wholly underwater property. The case was Bank of America v. Caulkett, which involved two debtors who each owned houses with a senior and junior mortgage lien. Both mortgages were underwater meaning that the amount owed on the senior mortgage was higher than the value of the home.

If the houses were sold in bankruptcy, the junior mortgage holder would receive nothing. The families sought to void the junior mortgage liens under section 506 of the Bankruptcy Code, which voids liens that are "not an allowed secured claim."

SCOTUS Exercises Equitable Power in Kansas Water Rights Dispute

In a fractured opinion authored by Justice Elena Kagan, the Supreme Court sided with Kansas in a battle over water rights in the Republican River Basin.

Kagan, along with the Court's four liberals, signed on to the whole opinion. Chief Justice Roberts agreed, but only to parts I and III. Justice Scalia concurred and dissented separately, and Justice Thomas concurred and dissented in part, joined by Justice Alito, Roberts, and Scalia.

Got all that?

SCOTUS: Borrower Can Rescind Mortgage Just by Sending a Letter

How do you have to "notify" a creditor of an intent to rescind a mortgage? Five circuits to decide the issue held that "notify" meant filing a lawsuit, while three said that a written notice was sufficient.

A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court today agreed with the minority, holding that a simple letter notifying the creditor of the intent to rescind is good enough to rescind the loan.

SCOTUS Grants 3 New Cases, Lets Texas Voter ID Law Stand (for Now)

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.

Roundup: 'Interim' Marriages, More Marriage Cases, Cal. Cert. x2?

What a week! And we were worried that we'd be topic dry once the Supreme Court's summer session hit.

As is our usual Friday bit, we're going to do a roundup of Supreme Court-related headlines. This time, Utah is seeking a stay on "interim" marriages (same-sex couples married before the Supreme Court's grant of a stay), the Tenth Circuit rules against Oklahoma's ban, and Florida gets its first pro-gay marriage opinion.

And then there's California: foie gras and the death penalty.

Securities Class Actions, Greenhouse Gas, And Bank Fraud Mens Rea

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:

Today's Notable Denials, SCOTUS Snoozers, and More Odd Lineups

Were you one of those people who loved logic games? I was.

As an LSAT teacher, I did every logic game ever released, including the weird non-standard games from the 1980s. Despite my affinity for logic games, however, today's batch of opinions was no fun at all: pluralities, partial concurrences and dissents, and one decision sure to titillate Court-watchers: a unanimous opinion dealing with the bankruptcy courts' ability to hear "core" and "non-core" matters as defined in Stern. (And no, there won't be a quiz on that last part.)

But it wasn't all mind-numbing news -- there were notable denials, interesting cross-ideological splits in the Court, and more. Here's the quick version of the day's news:

SCOTUS's Productive Weekend Leads to Four New Opinions

Memorial Day weekend: a time for remembrance, barbequing with family, and perhaps, for the Supreme Court to catch up on backlogged business?

This morning, the Court released decisions in four pending cases, running the gamut of capital punishment for the intellectually disabled, excessive force in police chase shootings, free speech of presidential protestors, and Indian gaming and sovereignty.

It's a mixed bag, and a lot of interesting reading.