Supreme Court rulings & orders for (5/21/18)

The Supreme Court decided two cases and granted four new cases today, plus they issued a call for the views of the Solicitor General in another case.

The two decided cases:

Epic Systems Corp. v Lewis

Held: Congress has instructed in the Arbitration Act that arbitration
agreements providing for individualized proceedings must be enforced,
and neither the Arbitration Act’s saving clause nor the NLRA
suggests otherwise. Pp. 5–25.

GORSUCH, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS,
C. J., and KENNEDY, THOMAS, and ALITO, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., filed a
concurring opinion. GINSBURG, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which

This is a major win for employers as employees can no longer bypass individualized arbitration agreements.

Upper Skagit Indian Tribe v Lundgren

Held: Yakima addressed not the scope of tribal sovereign immunity, but
a question of statutory interpretation of the Indian General Allotment
Act of 1887. That Act authorized the President to allot parcels
of reservation land to individual tribal members and directed the
United States eventually to issue fee patents to the allottees as private
individuals. In 1934, Congress reversed course but made no attempt
to withdraw the lands already conveyed. As a result, Indian
reservations sometimes contain both trust land held by the United
States and fee-patented land held by private parties. Yakima concerned
the tax consequences of this intermixture. This Court had
previously held that §6 of the General Allotment Act could no longer
be read as allowing States to impose in personam taxes on transactions
between Indians on fee-patented land within a reservation.
Moe v. Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Flathead Reservation,
425 U. S. 463, 479–481. The Court reached a different conclusion
in Yakima with respect to in rem state taxes, holding that the
state collection of property taxes on fee-patented land within reserva-
tions was still allowed under §6. 502 U. S., at 265. In short, Yakima
sought only to interpret a relic of a statute in light of a distinguishable
precedent; it resolved nothing about the law of sovereign immunity.

Acknowledging this, the Lundgrens now ask the Court to affirm on
an alternative, common-law ground: that the Tribe cannot assert
sovereign immunity because this suit relates to immovable property
located in Washington State, purchased by the Tribe in the same
manner as a private individual. Because this alternative argument
did not emerge until late in this case, the Washington Supreme Court
should address it in the first instance. Pp. 3–7.

187 Wash. 2d 857, 389 P. 3d 569, vacated and remanded.

GORSUCH, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS,
joined. ROBERTS, C. J., filed a concurring opinion, in which KENNEDY,
J., joined. THOMAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which ALITO, J.,

The four cases granted today:

(1) Pre-emption of state ban on uranium mining (case page in Virginia Uranium Inc. v. Warren here);
(2) Attorneys fees in social-security claimants’ cases (case page in Culbertson v. Berryhill here);
(3) Scope of immunity for international organizations (case page in Jam v. International Finance Corp. here);
(4) Whether Congress disestablished reservation of Creek Nation in Oklahoma, stripping Oklahoma of power to prosecute defendant in capital case (case page in Royal v. Murphy here).

The call for the views of the Solicitor General concerns a dispute between a city and a special utility district in Texas.

Absolutely ZERO surprise that Royal v Murphy was granted. Gorsuch is recused in this case, as he was on the Tenth Circuit when this case was under consideration.

Link to Scotusblog since some of the individual links didn’t work.