Monthly Archives: October 2012

Legal News of the Day: Fifth Circuit Upholds Ban on Sale of Handguns to Those Under 21

On Thursday, in a unanimous decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the ban restricting federally licensed firearms dealers from selling handguns to those under the age of 21, finding that the statute passed an intermediate scrutiny standard and that the law was rationally related to a legitimate state interest.  The National Rifle Association (NRA) had challenged 18 U.S.C. § 922, part of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, on the grounds that it violates both Second Amendment rights, as laid out in District of Columbia v. Heller, as well as equal protection rights. For more on this decision, including some history on challenges of state gun laws, check out this Jurist article.

Legal News of the Day: Global Wiretapping Oral Arguments at SCOTUS

Weather permitting, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this morning in the case of Clapper v. Amnesty International USA.  The issue in this case is whether the respondents have the necessary Article III standing to seek relief because they proffered no evidence that they had ever been monitored or that they every would be (particularly since the 2008 law at question, which expanded the government’s authority to secretly monitor international communications expressly prohibits the government from targeting U.S. citizens).  For much more on this case, check out SCOTUSBlog’s analysis.

Also on the Court’s docket: oral arguments in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., which considers whether a U.S. copyright holder can bar the importation of “gray-market” products made and legally acquired oversea.  For much more, see here.

Legal News of the Day: Samsung Infringed Four Apple Patents

On Wednesday, the U.S. International Trade Commission made a preliminary ruling that Samsung violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by infringing four of Apple’s intellectual property patents.  One patent related to Apple’s touch-screen technology.  The ruling now waits for approval from a full commission.  For more on the litigation between Apple and Samsung around the world, check this out.

Legal News of the Day: Fisher v. University of Texas Argued Yesterday

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in what is perhaps the most-talked about case reaching the Court this month, Fisher v. University of Texas.  For an overview of how the arguments played out, check out the “Will Grutter Be Reshaped?” article on SCOTUSBlog.

The audio recording of the oral arguments will be released on Friday (and then will be put up at the Oyez Project, but in the mean time, you can listen to Professors Carolyn Shapiro and Sheldon Nahmod discuss the arguments made.


History of Per Curiam Opinions

Ever wondered how a court comes to use the designation per curiam (“by the court”) for an opinion, rather than the name of a particular author? In a recent thought-provoking piece on SCOTUSblog, Professor Ira Robbins of American University provides a history of the practice, as well as some perspective on its modern usage. Find out more here. [Hat tip to our own Candle Wester for forwarding the link!]

Legal News of the Day: This Week at the Supreme Court

This week, the Supreme Court will hear four oral arguments.

Today (Tuesday), the court will hear two cases concerning the scope of the right to counsel and other rights in death penalty cases in federal habeas courts, where the mental competency of the person convicted is in question.  The first, Tibbals v. Carter, has to do with competency and how long a federal habeas case can be delayed until an individual is found to be mentally competent to proceed.  The second, Ryan v. Gonzales, considers whether a indigent capital state inmate pursuing federal habeas relief can stay the federal habeas proceedings he initiated if he is not competent to assist counsel.  For an in-depth look at the background of these two cases, see this SCOTUSblog article.

Wednesday, the court will hear Fisher v. University of Texas, which will examined whether the University of Texas is permitted to use race in its admissions decisions.  For a preview of this argument, check out this article.   The court will also hear the oral arguments for Moncrieffe v. Holder; the case considers what the legal standard is for deporting a non-citizen convicted of possessing a small amount of marijuana, when there is no evidence that he received any money in any transaction.  As one article has phrased it, the case will turn on whether facts matter in this type of case, or whether there is simply a “hard-and-fast” legal rule.

If you want to listen to the oral arguments from last week’s cases, visit the Oyez Project.

Background documents for Fisher v. University of Texas

The reference librarians of the Tarlton Law Library have assembled a research guide for the pending U.S. Supreme Court case, Fisher v. University of Texas. Oral arguments are scheduled for October 10, 2012. The guide can be found here:

The guide includes the text of selected court documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. The guide also includes news coverage and law review articles about the Fisher case, and some basic information on UT student body profiles and statistics since 2008.

Tarlton’s librarians will continue to follow the case and update the guide as new articles are published.

SC State Register Free Online!

Hurray for public access! The current SC State Register just became accessible for free on the South Carolina Legislature website. South Carolina citizens can now track regulations proposed by administrative agencies without a fee.  Current monthly issues and annual indexes of the State Register are available in PDF format, along with archived volumes dating back to1999.