Supreme Court Update: Collins v. Virginia & Lagos v. United States
We were expecting an avalanche of decisions today, but instead we got a mere flurry. In Collins v. Virginia (No. 16-1027), the Court held (8-1) that the automobile exception to the warrant requirement does not permit the warrantless entry of a home or its curtilage in order to search a vehicle stored therein; and in Lagos v. United States (No. 16-1519), the Court unanimously held that private investigation costs are not compensable under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act. (The Court also dismissed as improvidently granted City of Hays v. Vogt (No. 16-1495), leaving in place a circuit split over whether the Fifth Amendment is violated when statements are used at a probable-cause hearing, but not at a criminal trial.) That's two weeks in a row now where the Court has done very little to reduce its rather large backlog of undecided cases. There are now only four announced decision days before the end of the term, and 29 argued cases remaining. To be sure, the Court can (and often does) add extra decision days in June, but even so, there's a lot of work yet to be done.
We'll have summaries of today's decisions later in the week. But the relatively light load gives us an opportunity to catch up on recent cert grants. Although the Court is also way behind on this front, here are six new cases that it's accepted for next term:
Virginia Uranium v. Warren (16-1275) asks whether the Atomic Energy Act preempts a state law that facially regulates an activity outside the scope of the AEA, but has the purpose and effect of regulating activities that the AEA entrusts to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission;
Jam v. International Finance Corp. (No. 17-1011) asks whether the International Organizations Immunities Act confers the sam immunity on international organization as foreign governments have under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act;
Royal v. Murphy (No. 17-1107) asks whether the 1866 territorial boundaries of the Creek Nation constitutes an "Indian reservation" under 18 U.S.C. 1151(a);
Culbertson v. Berryhill (No. 17-773) asks whether the 25% fee cap for representation of an individual claiming Social Security benefits includes only fees for representation in court, or also fees for representation before the Social Security Administration;
BNSF Railway v. Loos (No. 17-1042) asks whether a railroad's payment to an employee for time lost from work is subject to employment taxes under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act; and
Air and Liquid Systems Corp. v. Devries (No. 17-1104) asks whether products-liability defendants can be held liable under maritime law for injuries caused by products they did not make, sell or distribute.
That brings the total number of cases set for OT18 to . . . nineteen. But given the difficulties The Nine seem to be having deciding anything this term, maybe it's best to take on a light load next year.
We'll be back soon with summaries of what the Court has decided. Stay tuned.