Tag Archives: Supreme Court

Free One-Hour Briefing on Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and the Roberts Court’s Vision of a Post-Racial America

May 19, 2014, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (E.D.T.)

In April, the United States Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to Michigan’s statewide ban on race and sex-based affirmative action. Although the vote was 6-2, the ruling produced no majority opinion for the Court. The plurality opinion repudiated the reasoning, but not the results, of an earlier line of decisions that had forbidden states from transferring authority over programs that benefit racial minorities from local to state decision makers. The ruling also produced a sharp disagreement over the continuing need for affirmative action and the social meaning of opposition to affirmative action.

Please join Cornell University Law School Professors Michael C. Dorf and Aziz F. Rana as they discuss:

  • The rise and fall of the “political process” doctrine that was repudiated in Schuette;
  • The constitutional status of race-conscious government decision making;
  • How Schuette fits with various Justices’ views about whether we are living in a “post-racial” society; and
  • The practical implications of Schuette.

Don’t miss this important free presentation!

Free One-Hour Briefing on Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.

May 8, 2013, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm (E.D.T.)

On April 17, 2013, the Supreme Court held in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. that the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), which allows suits in federal courts for violations of international law (including international human rights law), is subject to the presumption against extraterritoriality. Chief Justice Roberts’s five-justice majority dismissed the Kiobel case, ruling that cases under the ATS must “touch and concern” the United States, and that the “mere corporate presence” of a foreign multinational was insufficient to allow the presumption to be rebutted. The Kiobel case involved allegations that Royal Dutch/Shell, a Dutch/British conglomerate, was complicit in crimes against humanity and other abuses in Nigeria in the 1990s; although the lower courts had found that Shell was sufficiently present in the U.S. to be subject to personal jurisdiction, the Supreme Court ruled that this was not enough to proceed under the ATS. Justice Kennedy’s brief concurrence, however, suggested that many questions remain open after this decision, indicating that the majority opinion may not automatically be read to extend beyond the facts presented. A concurrence by Justice Alito and Justice Thomas argued that ATS suits should only be allowed where conduct within the United States violates international law, but the majority did not go this far. A separate concurrence in the judgment by Justice Breyer, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan, argued that the presumption against extraterritoriality should not apply, but that nonetheless some international law basis for jurisdiction needed to be present, and that it was lacking here. The Court declined to address the original question certified – whether corporations were subject to suit under the ATS.
Join Paul L. Hoffman, a partner at Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris Hoffman & Harrison, LLP, who argued the case before the Second Circuit and the Supreme Court on behalf of the Kiobel plaintiffs, and Marco Simons, Legal Director of EarthRights International, which submitted several amicus briefs at all stages of the Kiobel case, as they discuss the case and its implications, including:

  • What is the status of corporate liability for ATS suits after Kiobel
  • What sorts of cases might meet the new “touch and concern” test, i.e., cases involving U.S. defendants, defendants residing in the U.S., substantial conduct within the U.S., or cases that would go forward in the U.S. regardless of ATS claims
  • What other avenues for bringing suits to remedy international human rights violations remain

To register, click here.

Marmet Health Care Center vs. Brown

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion on Marmet Health Care Center vs. Brown. In issuing the opinion, the Court reaffirmed its recent decisions about applying the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) to negligence and wrongful death actions when an arbitration clause is present in the care agreement. In Marmet Health Care Center vs. Brown, the Court concluded that when extant, such agreements can be enforced.

Interested in more information on arbitration? Check out one of PLI’s treatises on the subject:  American Arbitration: Principles and Practice.

A Justice in His Own Words

Making Our Democracy Work, A Judge’s View, by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was released yesterday.  NPR reviewed the book and supplied an excerpt, click here to read it.  The book is a “combination of history and legal philosophy. It argues that there are no easy, color-by-the-numbers answers to many legal questions and that to suggest there are is an illusion.”  The book also delves into the difference of legal opinions that Breyer has had with Justice Antonin Scalia.

Interested in learning more about the Supreme Court and their significant cases?  Every year PLI holds its Supreme Court Review and publishes the accompanying course handbook by the same name.  The 12th Annual Supreme Court review will be published on October 30, 2010.  Click here to learn more.