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The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act allows Native American tribes to take over certain aid programs that would otherwise be the responsibility of the federal government. The Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin did just that, entering into a "self-determination contract" with the Indian Health Services.

Contracting tribes are eligible to receive money that the U.S. government would have spent on the program, but many have complained that the federal government has often failed to fully reimburse contract support cost. Those dissatisfied tribes include the Menominee, who sued after years of conflict with the federal government -- only to have some of their claims rejected for falling outside the statute of limitations. The tribe argued that equitable tolling should allow them to pursue their claims, but the Supreme Court unanimously rejected that argument on January 25th. Here's why.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court put the kibosh on a class action lawsuit by DirectTV customers. California courts, it ruled, must enforce a DirectTV arbitration agreement that prevented class-wide claims. It's the last opinion from the Court in 2015, and one of a number of recent cases emphasizing that state courts must give effect to arbitration agreements.

But that's wasn't the only news out of the High Court on Monday. In its first major action on the rights of gays and lesbians since last summer's Obergefell decision, the Supreme Court stepped in to a dispute between two lesbian parents, staying an Alabama order that would have denied one mother parental rights to her adopted children.

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?

Straw Purchasers, Political Speech, and Argentina's Bad Day

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.

Argentina Returns, Again Seeking Cert. in Bonds Case

We had a feeling they'd be back.

Last October, we noted that Argentina's first appeal to the Supreme Court was kicked, which wasn't particularly surprising since the appeal was filed before the Second Circuit handed down its decision (ordering Argentina to pay more than $1 billion in debt). While that petition was pending, the Second Circuit handed down its decision, and an appeal of that decision was expected.

Here it is: will the Supreme Court save Argentina from venture "vulture" capitalists, and possibly save that nation from economic collapse?

Contract Sets Timing in ERISA Claim; Clock Ticks Before Accrual

When does the timer begin to tick?

Julie Heimeshoff filed a claim for long-term disability benefits with Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., the administrator of Walmart's Group Long Term Disability Plan, due to her diagnosis of lupus and fibromyalgia. Her claim was denied after multiple doctors, hired by Hartford, found that even with her condition, she could continue to work her largely sedentary position as a senior public relations manager. The decision took nearly two years, after both sides hired multiple doctors and ordered multiple tests.

The governing ERISA plan requires the claimant to initiate judicial action within three years after "proof of loss" is due, i.e. when she was required to submit the relevant medical evidence. She filed suit three years after her final administrative appeal was denied (or approximately five years after the "proof of loss" was due). Her argument? The clock should start when the judicial cause of action accrues -- not before. And at first blush, her argument makes sense. After all, what happens if the administrative process and appeals eats up the entire term limit?

Unfortunately for her, the Supreme Court sided with the insurer, but for good reason.

Snippets: Online Sales Tax Cert. Denial, Frequent Flyer Arguments

It's been a busy early week on First Street, with the Court denying a case that affects anyone who purchases anything on the Internet, and with oral arguments in a frequent flyer dispute.

There were also a pair of decisions handed down by the Court in less exciting matters, namely taxation of partnerships and forum selection clauses in contract.

We're going to play a hunch here and guess that the vast majority of you are more interested in whether you'll pay tax on that online purchase, or whether you can get booted from a frequent flyer program without compensation (and with thousands of miles in your account) and we'll get back to the Court's less exciting opinions later this week.

A Few Notable Denials on the Court's First Official Day

Though the Court granted certiorari in eight cases last week, the first official day of business is today, and the court rung in the new term with a lengthy 94-page orders list, most of which were denials.

Though the court's jurisdiction is discretionary, there are always a few surprises on the denials sheet, as well as a few that we wish they would've taken up. Here are some of those rejected petitions:

Arbitration, Sentencing, Speech; SCOTUS Saving Best for Last

Today's Supreme Court opinions list is more disappointing than Ke$ha's new album. Vanity Fair cleverly quipped that SCOTUS "[c]ruelly" tricked the nation into reading about arbitration.

True indeed.

The opinion list consisted of a pro-business arbitration decision, a bench-slapping of the Ninth Circuit's approach to Armed Career Criminal Act sentencing, and an odd free speech for government funding case. (If you're waiting for the affirmative-action, marriage equality, or Defense of Marriage Act cases, they have yet to be released. Stay tuned, however, as next week is the final week in the Court's term. Expect a lot of decisions, and of course, a lot of blog posts.)

Here's a summary of Thursday's opinions:

Raisins, Arbitration, and Incarceration Decisions

Today was not the day where the Supreme Court stood up and affirmed equality. Nor was it the day that they ended affirmative action or a 1960s Voting Rights Act that continues oversight over southern states' elections. Nope. Today was the day of jurisdiction over raisons, narrow decisions on arbitration, and ex post facto application to incarceration non-laws.

If you were waiting for one of the pending landmark cases, we do have good news: more opinions are scheduled for Thursday.