Good morning, everyone! Welcome to the special Mardi Gras edition of our live blog, sponsored by Bloomberg Law.
We are expecting one or more opinions in argued cases today. As (almost) always, we don't know what opinions we will get today; we will find out as the decisions are relayed to us by our reporter at the Court, Lyle Denniston.
Good morning from the Court
Until then (and, I suspect, after), we can continue our parlor game of "is the Chief writing McCutcheon and Kennedy is writing Schuette, or the other way around?" I am firmly in the Chief writing McCutcheon camp, although many smarter people (including, but not limited to, this blog's John Elwood) hold the opposite view.
Lots of comments about the grant of review yesterday in Holt v. Hobbs, a challenge to a prison ban on beards. The petition for certiorari was filed pro se by Holt, and --as you can see on our case page for the case -- it is handwritten. We don't expect the case to be argued until next Term -- October, in all likelihood, or perhaps November.
The Court announces on an opinion "hot line" when it will have opinions. Day of the conference.
However, by the time the case got to the reply brief stage, Holt was very ably represented by counsel -- the University of Virginia's Douglas Laycock. So he already has a lawyer and won't need to get him one. And to answer yet another question, unless Holt is out of prison by then, it's unlikely that he will attend . . . there's no entitlement to attend just because his case is being argued.
Buzzer: five minutes to Court time.
A one box day; probably means no more than 2 opinions.
To answer another question, I would expect some of the as-yet-undecided but lower-profile cases from the November and December sittings; some of the unanimous January cases would also be fair game. I personally don't think we will get McCutcheon today, but we will know soon enough . . . ..
We have the first opinion. It is Lawson v. FMR LLC. The decision of the First Circuit is reversed and remanded. The Court appears to be divided w/r/to some of the holdings. Ginsburg writes for the Court, joined by Roberts, Breyer and Kagan, with partial support from Scalia and Thomas. Scalia concurs in part and in the judgment, joined by Thomas. Sotomayor dissents, joined by Alito and Kennedy.
The Court holds that the whistleblower protection provison of the statute includes employees of a public company’s private contractors and subcontractors.
We will have at least one more opinion. Lawson was a November case.
At issue in Lawson was the whistleblower provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
Rosemond v. US is the only other "lower-profile" case left from either the October or November sittings. "Higher-profile" cases remaining from those sittings are McCutcheon, Schuette, Bond, and Town of Greece.
Next opinion is Law v. Siegel. The Court is unanimous. The Ninth Circuit is reversed. Scalia writes for the Court.
The Court holds that the bankruptcy court exceeded its authority when it ordered that the $75,000 protected by the debtor's homestead exemption was available to pay the bankruptcy trustee's attorney's fees.
That is the second and final opinion for the day. Law was argued on January 13, so although it was unanimous it was still a quick turnaround.
Speaking of quick turnarounds, the always speedy and insightful Ronald Mann will hopefully have our analysis of the decision.
That is it for today, although we will be back here again at the same time for more opinions, and the Schuette/McCutcheon fun can continue.
That's all for today. We will be back here tomorrow at 9:45 sharp for another live blog; thanks so much for joining us!