Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

For Thursday

Tuesday audio. Papers are due at the start of class on Thursday. Papers on the final Abstention doctrines are due next Tuesday at noon. Papers on Congressional Control will be due on Monday, November 29 (day after the Thanksgiving Break) at noon.

We will pick up with the "no untruths" idea. Can Congress dictate interpretation/application/methodology/etc. for interpretation of statutes? What is the principle in Plaut and how is it different than Klein (and the interpretations of Klein)? Look at the FISA Amendments Act, the PLCAA, and the Schiavo law; be ready to talk about whether they comport with the various principles of Klein? Does FRCP 60(b) raise Klein or Plaut problems? Why or why not?

Please note that the standing order and schedule for oral arguments has been posted.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Response to "Rooker-Feldman Barred?"

I see a few reasons why, unfortunately, a § 1983 action would be unsuccessful in this case. Especially including the fact that the Judge apparently found Jesus after social media lost its collective mind. He changed the judgment to temporarily allow the parents to keep the child. The judgment did still include his concerns about children being raised by homosexual parents.

To begin with, Rooker-Feldman applies because the parents, dissatisfied with the state court judgment, are prohibited from going to federal court to have the state court judgment overturned. Rooker-Feldman applies when the injury to be redressed is the state court judgment, which is precisely the parents’ injury here. Telief would only come from the judgment being set aside, a power the federal court does not have.

Now let’s imagine that Rooker-Feldman does not apply. The parents could try to bring a § 1983 action, but it would be against the judge, who has absolute judicial immunity when acting within his jurisdiction and in his judicial capacity. The immunity covers § 1983 actions for damages, but not for prospective injunctive relief. So the parents could sue for prospective injunctive relief to keep the judge from applying his version of the law in the future. Because the judge only temporarily returned the child to the parents, this prospective injunctive relief would be important.

Jumping back to reality, regardless of how the parents frame it, the injury is in the decision and Rooker-Feldman bars a federal court from hearing the case.

Oral Arguments

Here is the schedule for oral arguments. Here is the Standing Order of the Court on oral arguments.

Please note that arguments will be in RDB 1000 (the Large Courtroom).

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Rooker-Feldman barred?

A seemingly blatantly unconstitutional federal court order. Should the couple be able to file a § 1983 action?

A monkey, an animal rights organization and a primatologist walk into a federal court

Thus begins the argument section of the motion to dismiss in the copyright infringement lawsuit filed on behalf of a crested macaque whose "selfies" (the manaque pressed the shutter of a camera he pulled away from a photographer) were published by the camera owner. We discussed this case briefly in class when discussing standing. The motion argues both lack of standing and failure to state a claim, both based on the argument that copyright protections do not extend to non-human animals. As we discussed in class, under Lexmark, statutory standing is a merits question about the scope of the cause of action, so the better basis for dismissal is failure to state a claim.

For Tuesday

Thursday audio.

We will begin Tuesday with some review problems on Rooker-Feldman and Abstention generally. Read Marie and the RF discussion. Read the complaint and opinion in Tyler v. Commonwealth (both on Blog); what are the arguments in the case for Younger and RF? Commentaries on the last Abstention topic will be due on Tuesday, November 24 (you can drop it outside my office).

We then turn to When Does Congress "Decide" a Case, which will focus on Klein and Plaut. What, according to the brilliant analysis cited in the book, are the three possible meanings of Klein? Does Klein have any real force after Robertson? Why didn't the law at issue in Plaut not violate Klein? Review the sample legislation (listed in Syllabus) and decide whether it violates Klein and why or why not.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Ripeness Commentary


For Thursday

Tuesday audio. Pullman Commentaries are due at the beginning of class on Thursday. Younger Commentaries will

We will continue with Abstention, covering Colorado River, International Comity, and Rooker-Feldman. Read all of Marie v. Moser as a nice review of Rooker, as well as Pullman and Younger. What are the general rules for concurrent litigation? How and why does Colorado depart from them? What is the underlying idea behind Rooker-Feldman and when does/should it apply? Review the complaint and district court opinion in Tyler v. Commonwealth? Was the court right to abstain on Younger grounds? How does Rooker-Feldman apply to that case?

Can/Should federal courts enjoin pending foreign proceedings? How might § 2283 guide this analysis? Consider the following:

A wins a multi-million dollar antitrust judgment in federal court against X, a Japanese company. Japanese law provides that a person held liable under US antitrust law can bring a suit to "claw back" the amount paid in a judgment. So X sues A in Japan, seeking to claw back the US judgment. Can the federal court enjoin this Japanese action?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Foster v. Chatman

This is the audio of the oral argument in Foster v. Chatman, which involves a challenge to a prosecutor using peremptory challenges to remove African-Americans from the jury. It is worth listening to the first five-or-so minutes of both sides' arguments, which address a question the Court first ordered them to address last week--to what court of a state is the writ of certiorari directed under § 1257.

This was a state habeas corpus case. The prisoner brought his petition in the state trial court, which denied the petition; he then sought review in the Georgia Supreme Court, which did not hear the case or address the merits, apparently on an implicit finding that the petition lacked merit. So the question is whether this is the denial of discretionary review (in which case the writ runs to the last state court to give reasoned consideration) or whether it is the court hearing and rejecting the claim on its merits (in which case the writ runs to the highest court).

More in the procedural weeds than has been our focus this semester. But a nice illustration of how some of this plays out on the ground.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

For Tuesday

Thursday audio.

Do not go on to Colorado River or the other abstention doctrines; our Younger discussion will take the entire class. Note that the panel for Colorado River Abstention includes all the remaining abstention readings--International Comity, Rooker-Feldman, and Burford. The Review, discussing Marie v. Moser, is for everyone. Also, please note that the assigned pages for Rooker are 796-801 (there was a missing digit on the syllabus).

We will continue with Younger Abstention. How does the Court justify extending Younger to civil and administrative proceedings? How does Sprint pull back on Younger's scope? What is important about Samuels v. Mackell and does the Court's explanation make sense? Aside from the explicit exceptions, when can a party argue that abstention is not warranted? Pay close attention to the time line in Miranda. I expect to finish Younger on Thursday.

A side issue in reading Doran and Steffel: What is the scope of any injunction the federal plaintiffs (Steffel/Salem Inn and Tim-Rob) might obtain in this case? How does that injunction affect or protect Steffel's friend or M&L?