Halftime at the Supreme Court: Tom Goldstein Talks SCOTUS

On Wednesday, Supreme Court litigator Tom Goldstein--who also publishes the much lauded SCOTUSblog--joined us for a Bloomberg BNA webinar titled "Halftime at the Supreme Court." The event was meant to provide a refresher on the cases argued at the court so far this term, as well as a look forward at the arguments and decisions yet to come.

Halftime at the Supreme Court Tom Goldstein SCOTUSblog Webinar

We also touched briefly on issues barreling down on the court, including same-sex marriage and gun rights, as well as some of the larger themes emerging from the Roberts Court's jurisprudence. Towards the end of the discussion we talked a little bit about Goldstein's practice, how he got to where he is today and the role of amici in Supreme Court litigation.

A copy of the program can be purchased by following the link above. Below are a few highlights from the webinar addressing just some of the topics we covered. Also, Tom and his wife Amy Howe--the editor of SCOTUSblog--authored a companion article I recommend reading, titled "Mid-Term Update on the Supreme Court." Law Week subscribers can find it on our homepage or at 82 U.S.L.W. 1208.

  • Goldstein noted that the justices, "in more cases this term than I can ever recall, are being asked to revisit and overrule, or very strictly limit prior precedents." He called this the "great mystery of the term"--whether they will turn away from decisions that are 10, 20 and even 20 years old.
  • McCutcheon v. FEC: There have been six campaign finance challenges brought before the Roberts Court and they have all succeeded, Goldstein said. "I expect this one to be the next."
  • Schuette v. Coal. to Defend Affirmative Action: In this challenge to a Michigan constitutional amendment barring universities from instituting affirmative action policies, a majority of the court is "having none of it," Goldstein said. That same majority would have voted for the amendment if they could have, so there is "no way they are going to declare it unconstitutional."
  • Daimler AG v. Bauman (Decided 1/14/14): This personal jurisdiction case, which Goldstein's partner Kevin Russell argued on behalf of the plaintiffs, "became a much bigger deal than anybody realized," he said.
  • Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc.: If the court overrules Basic v. Levinson and the fraud-on-the-market theory, most securities fraud cases would be in grave trouble, Goldstein said.
  • Same-Sex Marriage: "It is on a freight train, a very fast moving freight train," back to SCOTUS. When it gets there it will be a "nail biter."
  • It's much harder to build a Supreme Court practice now then when I started, Goldstein said. Back then maybe only three firms had dedicated SCOTUS practices and it was seen as "unseemly" to go after cases. Now, if an appeals court decision looks like it might have a chance at review, the parties and their attorneys are going to hear from a lot of Supreme Court lawyers.