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Thursday, May 06, 2021

Oral arguments

With the exams about over, I come to my favorite days of the semester today and tomorrow: Oral Arguments in my Fed Courts and Civil Rights classes. Each student argues one case before SCOTUS and serves as Justice on one case as a final project; the cases are recent decisions from lower courts. Ordinarily, the class spends the day in the courtroom watching one another and we bring in lunch and coffee; this semester will be via Zoom, hopefully for the last time.

This is a fun exercise. It gives students another chance to do oral advocacy, which many do not do after 1L legal writing. It allows me to engage the students to see how well they can talk about material, outside the formalities of a paper. The list of this year's cases is after the jump (case numbers are made up, usually representing key dates in my family).

Federal Courts:

New Hampshire v. Massachusetts, No. 21-0526

      Motion for Leave to File Bill of Complaint on Original Jurisdiction

      Issue Presented: Whether this Court must and should exercise original jurisdiction over an action by one state challenging another state’s collection of income tax from non-residents.

 Shands Teaching Hosp. & Clinic v. Morgan, No. 21-0520

      Issues Presented: Whether a federal district court has subject matter jurisdiction over action for a declaratory judgment that plaintiff has no obligation to comply with state law to disclose medical records because state law is preempted by federal law.

Waterfront Comm’n of New York Harbor v. Murphy, No. 21-1028

      Issue Presented: Whether an interstate compact agency can sue a state official under the doctrine of Ex Parte Young to prevent that official from implementing a state law that would be preempted by the terms of a congressionally approved interstate compact.

Nike, Inc. v. Fleet Feet, Inc., No. 21-1227

      Issues Presented:

      (1) Whether appeal of preliminary injunction becomes moot where the injunction restrains defendant from designating “confusingly similar” marks, where the time period in which the defendant wanted to use the challenged mark has passed.

      (2) Whether, if the appeal is moot, vacatur of a preliminary injunction is proper under United States v. Munsingwear, Inc.


Civil Rights:

Campbell v. Reisch, No. 21-0526

      Issue Presented: Whether an elected state representative acts under color of law in blocking an individual from accessing the social-media account she uses to publicize performance and accomplishments as a state representative.

Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, No. 21-1028 (Diamond v. Pennsylvania State Education Ass’n, No. 21-1227 (Consolidated))

      Issues Presented:

        Whether public-employee labor unions acted under color of state law in collecting fair-share fees from non-union members pursuant to state law mandating such fees, so as to be subject to suit for damages under § 1983 for violating the First Amendment.

        Whether § 1983 recognizes a good-faith immunity allowing public-employee labor unions that act under color of state law in collecting fair-share fees from non-union members pursuant to state laws mandating such fees to avoid liability for damages for violating the First Amendment.

Fowler v. Irish, No. 21-0520 (Robinson v. Webster County, No. 21-0303 (Consolidated))

      Issue Presented: Whether state officials can be liable under substantive due process for injuries caused by non-governmental third persons, contrary to this Court’s decision in DeShaney, under a “state-created danger” theory.

Nance v. Commissioner, No. 21-0423

      Issue Presented: Whether death-row inmate’s claim that state’s lethal-injection protocol would cause undue suffering in violation of the Eighth Amendment and seeking to require the state to employ an alternative method of execution is cognizable under § 1983.

Polk County v. J.K.J. No. 21-0515

      Issue Presented: Whether a municipality can be liable under Monell for sexual assaults of detainees committed by a corrections officer, where county policy prohibited sexual contact between guards and inmates and the county knew of sexual assaults by other officers but not the officer involved.

Mack v. Yost, No. 21-1216

      Issue Presented: Whether federal inmate can seek damages for First Amendment retaliation under Bivens against prison officials who fired him from his paid prison job for complaining about anti-Muslim harassment by correctional officers.

Thomas v. Freed, No. 21-0428

      Issue Presented: Whether § 1983 action challenging state’s failure to return excess proceeds from foreclosure sale of real property is barred by the Tax Injunction Act, § 1341.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 6, 2021 at 09:31 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink


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