The Court Reporter got distracted this week and forgot to write an introductory paragraph. Call it a case of the summers. But that means we can get straight to this week's recap!
I Love My Calendar, Girl: It has generally been anticipated that October Term 2017 will be more interesting than October Term 2016 was. And now that we have the term’s first oral argument calendar—we know we’re off to a good start. Labor arbitration, partisan gerrymandering, the travel ban, terror proceeds … arguably the only day that doesn’t have a potential blockbuster is October 4. (And even these might have been a big deal in OT2016—Guns on U.S. Capitol grounds! A house party at a vacant property!)
Split Ticket: Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on much these days, and the problem is particularly acute when it comes to drawing voting district lines. Some would call this is a feature, not a bug. One thing they apparently can agree on, however, is the law firm representing them in two gerrymandering cases bouncing around the courts, including Gill v. Whitford, which as you can see from above will be argued October 3.
Are There Clean Hands in Digital World?: Customers who sought class status in a suit against Sony, EMI, Virgin Records and other labels (subscription required), alleging that the companies conspired to inflate the price of digital music downloads, were rebuffed in the Southern District of New York. The court, in part, said that determining which class members had “unclean hands” due to illegally downloading music would overwhelm common questions if the case were allowed to move forward as a class action. The Court Reporter can’t help but think of the heyday of Napster and just how unclean it may have left a lot of hands.
Off the Record, on the QT and Very Hush-Hush: The FBI can stop mobile phone companies and other service providers from disclosing subpoena requests for customer information (subscription required), the Ninth Circuit ruled. Privacy advocates lost on their argument that such restrictions violate the First Amendment. And that’s not the only thing under seal that has privacy advocates steamed at the Ninth Circuit. This one involves Glassdoor.com and subpoenas. I’d tell you more, but…there’s not a whole lot more we’re allowed to know, actually.
Things Saying “[X] is Coming” Are Coming: Perhaps the bauxite miners who were the last people in America to hear Cher’s “Believe” don’t know, but probably everyone else does—HBO’s hit show “Game of Thrones” began a new season recently. Perhaps eager to capitalize on its currency, Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum of the Eleventh Circuit began a recent opinion with an epigraph from Tyrion Lannister, one of the show’s (and the books’—Dear George R.R. Martin, You remember there are supposed to be books, too, right? Kthx, The Court Reporter) more prominent heroes? Anti-heroes? He’s complex. Okay, okay, so the quotation doesn’t really have anything to do with the case, but—look, dragons!
• Tell grandma she’s in. At least until October. (Well, maybe.)
• Justice Gorsuch takes up his new role as chair of the Supreme Court’s “cafeteria committee,” impossibly tasked with improving the fare at the court’s cantina. The role is given to the most junior justice, a tradition that started when Sandra Day O’Connor joined the court as the first female justice, because of course it did.
• Betty Dukes, whose name will forever be associated with a case “widely viewed as having made it harder to bring big employment class-action cases asserting discrimination based on sex, race or other factors,” died July 10.
• Kentucky looks to be out about $225,000 because Kim Davis refused to do part of her job.
And Now…Some Star Power: A long time ago in what now feels like a galaxy far, far away, the Court Reporter was at the Supreme Court covering, oh, some case or another, and rumor around the courthouse was that Natalie Portman, who once portrayed Padmé Amidala in some movie series or another, was in the audience. The Court Reporter didn’t see her and can’t confirm it, but she was there, rumor had it, to study for her role as Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the upcoming biopic “On the Basis of Sex,” which the Court Reporter would link you to on IMDB but it’s apparently behind a paywall and the content of the page can’t be confirmed and the Court Reporter knows better than to google anything including the word “sex” from a work computer. All of which is well and good except that now Portman is off the project and has been replaced by Felicity Jones, who was in a different Star Wars movie. But the real question, of course, is who will play the Court Reporter?
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