Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Supreme Court Term Opens With Action On Cert. Petitions and More

The U.S. Supreme Court opened its October 2016 Term on Monday, with the first oral arguments this morning. Here is a round-up of a number of developments leading up to, and occurring on, opening day.

Last Thursday, in advance of opening day, the Court granted review in eight cases (Order List), one of which was McLane Co. v. EEOC, No. 15-1248 (cert. granted limited to one question, 9/29/2016). (SCOTUSblog case page).  While the case involves EEOC charges of gender and age discrimination, the procedural issue which the court will decide may affect EEOC religious discrimination cases as well.  At issue is whether a district court’s decision to quash or enforce an EEOC subpoena should be reviewed de novo, or whether an appellate court should instead give more deference to the district court's decision. SHRM reports on the case.

As reported by the National Law Journal, on Sunday, the annual Red Mass was held (photos) at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C.  It was attended by Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Alito and Breyer.  The late Justice Scalia's son gave a reading from the Bible at the ceremony.

On Monday, the Court issued its usual lengthy opening-day list of certiorari denials. This year's list of cases covered 64 pages of the 71-page Oct. 3 Order List.  Among the cases in which review was denied was Klingenschmitt v. United States, (Docket No. 15-1445). In a decision by the Court of Federal Claims (see prior posting) which was summarily affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the court rejected claims by a Navy Chaplain that he was that he was wrongfully discharged from the Navy. The refusal to recertify Klingenschmitt as a chaplain culminated a long-running battle between him and the military over military regulations requiring chaplains to deliver inclusive prayers at military event.