Live blog of orders and opinions June 25...
 
8:55
Kali: 
Good morning everyone, thanks for joining us for the Live Blog this morning.
Monday June 25, 2012 8:55 Kali
8:56
Kali: 
Kevin Russell (who will be joining us this morning) has taken some photos from outside the Court this morning. Here's one http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/P6250001.jpg
Monday June 25, 2012 8:56 Kali
8:57
Amy Howe: 
Yes, good morning to all, and welcome to our Live Blog, sponsored by Bloomberg Law.
Monday June 25, 2012 8:57 Amy Howe
8:57
Kali: 
Here's another:http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/P6250005.jpg
Monday June 25, 2012 8:57 Kali
8:57
Amy Howe: 
We're under-rested and over-caffeinated here at SCOTUSblog HQ in Friendship Heights. This should be fun.
Monday June 25, 2012 8:57 Amy Howe
8:58
Amy Howe: 
We have 4000 readers already, which is amazing. And many of you are asking questions, which we will try very hard to respond to before the Court gets started at 10, but there are already dozens of comments and questions in the queue, so please be patient with us.
Monday June 25, 2012 8:58 Amy Howe
8:59
Amy Howe: 
To reiterate, today is the only day on which the Court is scheduled to sit to release opinions (as well as orders from last week's Conference), but it is very, very possible that it will add at least one more day. We don't know whether that will happen or what days they would be; the conventional wisdom is that they will finish up by Thursday at the latest, though.
Monday June 25, 2012 8:59 Amy Howe
9:00
Amy Howe: 
We don't know what opinions we are getting today. The conventional wisdom (which again is just speculation, albeit generally by people who follow the Court) is that the Court will do health care later in the week. But this is all just speculation; we could get any of the opinions remaining today.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:00 Amy Howe
9:01
Lyle: 
Good morning from the Court's press room.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:01 Lyle
9:01
Amy Howe: 
The Court will release orders from last week's Conference at 10 am and then move right into opinions. We get them as they are announced at the Court -- e.g., one at a time. The Court starts with the Justice with the least seniority and then moves up through the ranks in reverse order of seniority, finishing with the Chief Justice.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:01 Amy Howe
9:03
Amy Howe: 
We think it is slightly more likely that we will get an opinion in Arizona v. US today (again, however, this is all just speculation), particularly if there are only two opinion days this week. The conventional wisdom is that the Court would try to avoid doing Arizona and health care on the same day.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:03 Amy Howe
9:04
Kali: 
There are six remaining merits cases to be decided assuming one opinion is issued in health care. In case you missed Amy's "In Plain English" post over the weekend, here are the issues in the remaining cases.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:04 Kali
9:04
Amy Howe: 
Lyle can correct me, but we won't know whether the Court has scheduled additional days until they finish announcing opinions; if there are additional cases, we can expect an additional day or days. And then when the Court recesses, if there are additional days, the Court would announce when they would return again.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:04 Amy Howe
9:04
Kali: 
First American Financial Corp. v. Edwards  Plain English Issue: Whether lawsuits under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, which allows homebuyers to sue banks and title companies when they pay kickbacks for the closing of a mortgage loan, are constitutional if the kickback does not affect the price or quality of the services provided?
Monday June 25, 2012 9:04 Kali
9:05
Amy Howe: 
Thursday was the last scheduled Conference before the summer recess; however, the Court has traditionally held a "clean-up" conference after it has issued all of the opinions, and sometimes it grants one or two cases from that Conference.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:05 Amy Howe
9:05
Kali: 

United States v. Alvarez Argued on February 22, 2012

Plain English Issue: Whether a federal law that makes it a crime to lie about receiving military medals or honors violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right to free speech.

Monday June 25, 2012 9:05 Kali
9:06
Amy Howe: 
Yes, to answer another popular question, we could hear something about the Montana campaign finance case, American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock, today; it was on last week's Conference.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:06 Amy Howe
9:07
Amy Howe: 
To answer another question, the opinions are released to the public as well, in a separate line. They are also released on the Court's own website within a few minutes after they are announced, although I would put the chances that the Court's website crashes at very high.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:07 Amy Howe
9:07
Tom: 
Thanks to you for taking the time, and thanks to the terrific sites that have linked to us. We really appreciate it.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:07 Tom
9:07
Tom: 
Special thanks go out to SCOTUSblog’s exclusive sponsor, Bloomberg Law. It’s a fantastic service, and they have been unbelievably good to us.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:07 Tom
9:07
Kali: 

Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs

Argued separately on March 20, 2012

Plain English Issue: Whether a sentence of life without parole for someone who was convicted of murder when he was fourteen violates the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

Monday June 25, 2012 9:07 Kali
9:08
Tom: 
To remind you of how this morning will play out, at 10am EDT the Court will release “orders” – i.e., it will act on the petitions for certiorari asking the Court to hear various cases. It will then immediately begin releasing opinions. We don’t know at this point how many there will be today.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:08 Tom
9:08
Amy Howe: 
To answer another popular question, there has been zero indication of any leaks from inside the Court about health care, which is not at all surprising.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:08 Amy Howe
9:08
Kali: 
Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida

Plain English Issue: (1) Whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to require virtually all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty; and (2) whether the Anti-Injunction Act, which prohibits taxpayers from filing a lawsuit to challenge a tax until the tax goes into effect and they are required to pay it, prohibits a challenge to the Act’s provision requiring virtually all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty until after the provision goes into effect in 2014.

Monday June 25, 2012 9:08 Kali
9:09
Kali: 
Nat’l Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius

Plain English Issue: (1) Whether Congress can require states to choose between complying with provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or losing federal funding for the Medicaid program; and (2) whether, if the Court concludes that the provision of the Act requiring virtually all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty is unconstitutional, the rest of the Act can remain in effect or must also be invalidated.

Monday June 25, 2012 9:09 Kali
9:09
Amy Howe: 
To answer another question, the Court will not be releasing the audio of the opinion announcement today. (There were requests that it do so, but no one expected the Court to accede to those requests.) The opinion announcements, which are the Justices reading summaries of the opinions, in all likelihood will be released sometime later this year.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:09 Amy Howe
9:10
Kevin Russell: 
Here's a prediction: the Court will decide First American Financial today, Justice Thomas will be the author, and the bank will win.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:10 Kevin Russell
9:10
Kali: 
Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services

Plain English Issue: (1) Whether Congress can require states to choose between complying with provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or losing federal funding for the Medicaid program; and (2) whether, if the Court concludes that the provision of the Act requiring virtually all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty is unconstitutional, the rest of the Act can remain in effect or must also be invalidated.

Monday June 25, 2012 9:10 Kali
9:10
Amy Howe: 
Yes, welcome to all of you waiting on the decision in First American. It's the real sleeper case of the Term.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:10 Amy Howe
9:11
Kali: 
Here is the last of the six, for those of you just joining us, scroll up to see the "Plain English" issues in all the remaining cases, including First American. 

Arizona v. United States Argued April 25, 2012 Plain English Issue: Whether an Arizona law that, among other things, requires police officers to check the immigration status of anyone whom they arrest, allows police to stop and arrest anyone whom they believe to be an illegal immigrant, makes it a crime for someone to be in the state without valid immigration papers, and makes it a crime to apply for or hold a job in Arizona without proper papers, is invalid because it is trumped by federal immigration laws. 

Monday June 25, 2012 9:11 Kali
9:11
Amy Howe: 
To answer another question, the Court could push a case like health care over to the next Term, but it would be highly unusual for it to do so. It did push another case, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, over to next Term, but it ordered additional briefing on a new question.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:11 Amy Howe
9:12
Tom: 
We’ve ramped up the resources we’re throwing at the last week of the Term, by a lot.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:12 Tom
9:12
Tom: 
On the technical side, our Deputy Manager Max Mallory has been working night and day to make sure that we don’t crash.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:12 Tom
9:13
Tom: 
That’s important because the way things are trending, on the last day of the Term we may have 250,000 people on the liveblog at once.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:13 Tom
9:13
Tom: 
We hired a firm to redo a lot of the code that drives the blog. This weekend, we hired a second firm to do even more. So www.scotusblog.com should load more efficiently.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:13 Tom
9:14
Tom: 
We also moved the load of the liveblog off of the www.scotusblog.com site. This liveblog is run on an entirely different server run by a different company. The site is also obviously much simpler, without any of the other widgets and gizmos of the main site that slow down loading times.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:14 Tom
9:14
Tom: 
For the time being, the blog’s main site redirects to here. But if you’re sending anyone the links, use this one directly: http://scotusblog.wpengine.com/. That will save a step, and reduce the load on the main site.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:14 Tom
9:15
Tom: 
For the time being, the main site isn’t doing much. But you can access anything over there other than the main page. So we can give you a link, for example, to a case page. But we’re going to try and keep that to a minimum – again, to minimize the load on the servers.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:15 Tom
9:15
Tom: 
Instead, we’ve tried to identify ahead of time the kinds of earlier content of ours that we’ll want to provide. We’ve then pdf’d that and uploaded it to yet a third set of servers – the Amazon cloud. So we can give you links here, and they can handle that load without any problem.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:15 Tom
9:16
Tom: 
It has been quite an effort for Max, but hopefully all the work – and the roughly $10,000 we’re spending on everything – will pay off.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:16 Tom
9:16
Tom: 
Max will also be monitoring both of the sites through the morning. He has four sets of rosary beads. Say a prayer for him.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:16 Tom
9:17
Tom: 
The live blog will continue until the Court finishes the release of opinions. But if it decides the health care case, it will stay up until 1pm EDT. We’ll be writing regular posts in the meantime and posting pieces by the participants in our snap health care symposium; we’ll just put the urls for the posts (along with links to what others are writing) into the liveblog itself.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:17 Tom
9:17
Tom: 
Moving past the technology, we’ve staffed way, way up. Usually, the liveblog for us is Lyle dictating developments to Amy by phone from the press area. We’re still doing that, but now it is all hands on deck for us.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:17 Tom
9:17
Tom: 
To remind you of how this morning will play out, at 10am EDT the Court will release “orders” – i.e., it will act on the petitions for certiorari asking the Court to hear various cases. It will then immediately begin releasing opinions. We don’t know at this point how many there will be today.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:17 Tom
9:21
Tom: 
If you want to want to see the issues in all the remaining cases in Plain English, here is a pdf.
Monday June 25, 2012 9:21 Tom
9:22
Tom: 

This morning, I’ll be participating actively, along with Amy, Kevin Russell and Tejinder Singh.

Monday June 25, 2012 9:22 Tom
9:22
Tom: 

Amy will be answering your questions before the argument, then will handle getting word from Lyle onto the blog, as usual.  In addition, if the Court decides either the Arizona immigration case or health care, she will quickly put out a “Plain English” summary of the decision.

Monday June 25, 2012 9:22 Tom
9:22
Tom: 

My responsibilities are split.  I’m handling the orders, which we’ll get right at 10am EDT.  The Court had a really large number of serious petitions before it at last Thursday’s conference, and it will act on most of those petitions this morning.  I’ll be getting you information on those grants.

Monday June 25, 2012 9:22 Tom
9:22
Tom: 

The only exception will be if the Court summarily reverses the Montana Supreme Court in the campaign finance case.  If that happens, Lyle will have responsibility for it.  That is, unless health care comes down the same day.  In that instance, the site will melt and this will all be moot.

Monday June 25, 2012 9:22 Tom
9:23
Tom: 

Kevin and Tejinder have dual responsibilities.  Before the Court starts at 10am, they will join Amy in answering your questions.  That will start after I finish these introductory notes and provide you with links to some of our prior content; I’m mostly done.

Monday June 25, 2012 9:23 Tom
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