The above is today’s order list which contains no Calls for the Views of the Solicitor General and no new grants. However, there are some interesting concurrences and dissents at the end of the order list today, particularly one by Justice Thomas in relation to a death penalty case.
Three decisions in argued cases were handed down today.
Holding : Respondents, who purchased apps for their iPhones though Apple’s App Store, were direct purchasers from Apple under Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois and may sue Apple for allegedly monopolizing the retail market for the sale of iPhone apps.
Judgment : Affirmed, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Kavanaugh on May 13, 2019. Justice Gorsuch filed a dissenting opinion, in which Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas and Alito joined.
This decision is rather interesting in a number of ways. First, the 9th Circuit was affirmed. Justice Kavanaugh joined with the liberal block as the deciding vote. And Justice Ginsburg, as the senior Justice in the majority, assigned the writing of the decision to Justice Kavanaugh.
Holding : Nevada v. Hall is overruled; states retain their sovereign immunity from private suits brought in courts of other states.
Judgment : Reversed and remanded, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Thomas on May 13, 2019. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined.
Glad to see this one. I have always believed Nevada v Hall was wrongly decided and this case closes the door to lawsuits against States in the courts of other States. I also like how Justice Thomas properly dealt with the issue of stare decisis.
With the historical record and precedent against him, Hyatt defends Hall on the basis of stare decisis. But stare decisis is “‘not an inexorable command,’” Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U. S. 223, 233 (2009), and we have held that it is “at its weakest when we interpret the Constitution because our interpretation can be altered only by constitutional amendment,” Agostini v. Felton, 521 U. S. 203, 235 (1997). The Court’s precedents identify a number of factors to consider, four of which warrant mention here: the quality of the decision’s reasoning; its consistency with related decisions; legal developments since the decision; and reliance on the decision. See Janus v. State, County, and Municipal Employees, 585 U. S. ___, – (2018) (slip op., at 34–35); United States v. Gaudin, 515 U. S. 506, 521 (1995). The first three factors support our decision to overrule Hall. We have already explained that Hall failed to account for the historical understanding of state sovereign immunity and that it failed to consider how the deprivation of traditional diplomatic tools reordered the States’ relationships with one another. We have also demonstrated that Hall stands as an outlier in our sovereign immunity jurisprudence, particularly when compared to more recent decisions.
As to the fourth factor, we acknowledge that some plaintiffs, such as Hyatt, have relied on Hall by suing sovereign States. Because of our decision to overrule Hall, Hyatt unfortunately will suffer the loss of two decades of litigation expenses and a final judgment against the Board for its egregious conduct. But in virtually every case that overrules a controlling precedent, the party relying on that precedent will incur the loss of litigation expenses and a favorable decision below. Those case-specific costs are not among the reliance interests that would persuade us to adhere to an incorrect resolution of an important constitutional question.
Disclosure : Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel on an amicus brief in support of the respondent in this case.
Holding : The limitations period in 31 U.S.C. §3731(b)(2) – which provides that a False Claims Act action must be brought within three years after the “the official of the United States charged with responsibility to act in the circumstances” knew or should have known the relevant facts, but not more than 10 years after the violation – applies in a qui tam suit in which the federal government has declined to intervene; the relator in a nonintervened suit is not “the official of the United States” whose knowledge triggers §3731(b)(2)’s limitations period.
Judgment : Affirmed, 9-0, in an opinion by Justice Thomas on May 13, 2019.
Nothing really needs to be said about this last case.
Supreme Court next meets in conference on Thursday, May 17 and will issue its next order list and decisions on Monday, May 20.