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SCOTUS Recap: Grants, Denials, and Oral Arguments

By Robyn Hagan Cain on November 07, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Supreme Court had a busy morning that included oral arguments, two per curiam opinions, and an orders list. Let's review the high points together.

This morning, the Court heard oral arguments in Zivotofsky v. Clinton and Kawashima v. Holder.

Zivotofsky examines whether the political question doctrine deprives a federal court of jurisdiction to enforce a statute that explicitly directs how the Secretary of State can record the birthplace of an American citizen on a Consular Report of Birth Abroad and on a passport.

American parents in this case want their Jerusalem-born son's passport to list his place of birth as "Jerusalem, Israel." The U.S. Consulate, respecting the U.S. neutrality policy toward Jerusalem, listed the place of birth as "Jerusalem."

Kawashima addresses whether filing a false statement on a tax return amounts to an aggravated felony for immigrant removal purposes.

The two per curiam opinions released today are KPMG LLP v. Cocchi and Bobby v. Dixon. In KPMG, the Court remanded Madoff-fraud related claims to a Florida court, telling the court to re-examine whether several investors' claims should be handled through arbitration. In Bobby, the court reinstated an Ohio man's murder conviction, finding that the Sixth Circuit improperly held that police coerced the defendant's confession in violation of Miranda.

In today's orders, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in three cases: Magner v. Gallagher, regarding disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act, and Jackson v. Hobbs and Miller v. Alabama, examining capital murder sentencing for juveniles. The Court will hear Jackson and Miller in tandem.

The Supreme Court denied certiorari in Buck v. Thaler, a death penalty case that some, including denial dissenters Justices Sotomayor and Kagan, suggest was tainted with racial overtones and misleading remarks from the defendant's own expert witness. Justices Alito, Scalia, and Breyer issued a statement respecting the denial.

The Court also denied cert in what would have been one of the more entertaining cases of the term, Pilgrim Films & TV v. Montz, better known as the Ghost Hunters case.

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