The Supreme Court will hear arguments today and tomorrow on four separate issues. Today’s two cases are of limited interest, involving when the clock starts for certain appeals, and the second, whether President Obama’s appointment of Judges from one type of court to another type, violates the “dual-office holding ban.”
On Wednesday, the Court will address whether automobile “service advisors” are entitled to time and a half pay under federal law and whether lawyers act inappropriately if they announce, against their client’s wishes, that their client is guilty.
Hall v. Hall Sam and Elsa Hall, the children of the departed Ethelyn Hall, have had suits in multiple courts concerning the assets of their mother, and whether Sam stole from Ethelyn, and/or Elsa turned their mother against Sam exercising undue influence. The suits were in Florida, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and commenced both during and after Ethelyn’s life.
The question for the Court is when a party may appeal part of a decision in consolidated litigation that resolves some, but not all of the claims presented.
Dalmazzi v. United States, Cox v. United States, Ortiz v. United States These are consolidated cases that seek to resolve the same issue; whether judges sitting on the United States Court of Military Commission Review can also be judges who already serve as appellate judges on military courts? If not, are people convicted by those courts then entitled to new hearings?
This case has a real twist for court watchers. One of the issues presented is whether the United States Supreme Court itself has the power to review Court of Appeals for Armed Forces cases at all. The argument against is that since it is part of the executive branch, it does not exercise judicial power. Well here’ the twist – since both the government lawyers and the service members suing for new trials both think the court does have the power to address these claims, the Supreme Court has a law professor from Virginia permission to make the opposite case in court.
Aditya Bamzai, a University of Virginia law professor, filed the only amicus, or “friend of the court” brief in this case. ScotusBlog reports:
Bamzai will have just 10 of the 70 minutes of argument time, but they could be a pivotal 10 minutes: If the justices agree with him, it would scuttle the case.
Encino Motorcars v. Navarro Some “service advisors” at Mercedes-Benz of Encino are not happy because they don’t get paid time-and-a-half overtime pay for working more than 40 hours per week. They claim the Fair Labor Standards Act requires their employer to do so. This is one for those who relish statutory construction debates. More’s the pity that no one will be addressing how exactly the Fair Labor Standards Act is constitutional in the first place.
McCoy v. Louisiana Did Robert McCoy shoot and kill Christine Young, Willie Young, and Gregory Colston in 2008? His lawyer said yes, he did. Larry English told Mr. McCoy that pleading guilty was his only chance. Mr. McCoy then tried to fire English, but the court wouldn’t allow it. English went ahead, against the wishes of his client, and told the jury McCoy was guilty of the killings. English’s gambit failed, and McCoy was sentenced to death for his three first degree murder convictions.
Mr. McCoy argues that this decision was his alone to make and merely accepting legal representation does not mean accepting any and every decision an attorney makes. The State of Louisiana says Mr. McCoy should have represented himself if he wanted to make these sorts of decisions, and because he chose to be represented by an attorney, at least initially, he is bound, life or death, by the decisions his attorney made, his will notwithstanding.