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Snippets: Cert. Denials, Plaza Protests, Oral Argument Schedule

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By William Peacock, Esq. on October 14, 2014 1:11 PM

Well, after much waiting, and a Columbus Day holiday, the Supreme Court's latest orders list is in -- and it's more of a letdown than the second "Sex and the City" movie.

Meanwhile, people are still protesting the fact that you can't protest on the marble plaza in front of the Court. A case challenging that rule is still pending in the D.C. Circuit.

And finally, we'll take a peek at this week's oral arguments schedule.

Orders List: No Foie Gras, No EFFing FOIA Request

What happened in this week's orders list? A whole heck of a lot of denials, including a challenge to California's foie gras ban and the Electronic Frontier Foundation's attempt to get its hand on an Office of Legal Counsel memo that reportedly justifies the ability to gather phone data without a court order.

The most notable order was a denial of certiorari in Jones v. United States, an order Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Ginsburg (an odd trio, if we do say so) dissented from. The case involves three men who were convicted of drug dealing, but not conspiracy. A judge basically sentenced them for both, despite only being convicted on the former charge, based on the evidence presented for the latter charge.

Scalia argued that this case was the proper vehicle to address a long-standing extension of Apprendi and Alleyene. Unfortunately, the issue of whether facts that make a sentence substantively reasonable have to be supported by a jury verdict or a defendant's admissions will have to wait.

Plaza Protests

We've written about the Court's ironic ban on free speech on its plaza before: Last year, D.C. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell opened the plaza to protests, finding the ban unconstitutional.

The appeal of that decision is set for argument in the D.C. Circuit later this year. The New York Times' Adam Liptak recounts the interesting background of the case, as well as the precedent for the ban. He also includes this money quote from the late Justice Thurgood Marshall's dissent in the 1983 case that last addressed the ban:

"It would be ironic indeed if an exception to the Constitution were to be recognized for the very institution that has the chief responsibility for protecting constitutional rights."

This Week's Oral Arguments

  • Kansas v. Nebraska and Colorado (today): A water rights dispute between the three states. SCOTUSblog has more.
  • North Carolina Bd. of Dental Examiners v. FTC (today): A dispute over professional regulation and state-sanctioned anticompetitive behavior by dentists in the teeth-whitening business. Our Fourth Circuit blog has more.
  • Teva Pharmaceuticals v. Sandoz (October 15): A dispute about drug patents that has evolved into a discussion of proper review standards for appellate courts -- does the Federal Circuit have to play by everyone else's rules? Our Federal Circuit blog has more.
  • Jennings v. Stephens (October 15): An argument about what a victorious habeas relief seeker can argue on appeal when defending the judgment in his favor. SCOTUSblog has more.

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