On September 3, 2009, the D.C. Circuit granted the parties’ joint motion to voluntarily dismiss the petitions for review. The case had originally been filed after the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blocked California’s auto emissions standards by refusing to grant the State a waiver of federal preemption under the Clean Air Act. But after the election of President Obama in 2008, the EPA reconsidered that granted the waiver of federal preemption requested by the State of California and supported by CAC.
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In Campbell-Ewald Company v. Gomez, the Supreme Court considered, among other things, whether a defendant’s offer of judgment for “complete relief” to the lead plaintiff in a class action that has not yet been certified moots the plaintiff’s class claims even if the plaintiff has rejected the defendant’s offer.
On June 8, 2009, the Supreme Court released its opinion in Caperton v. Massey, a case raising the question of whether the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause requires an elected state judge to recuse himself when a litigant appearing before him has made substantial contributions to the judge’s election campaign.
Chaidez v. United States was an important case raising the question of whether the protections against constitutionally deficient assistance of counsel applied in the Supreme Court’s Padilla v. Kentucky ruling apply retroactively. In Padilla, in which CAC filed a brief, the Court, as CAC had urged, held that a lawyer’s misadvice as to the deportation consequences of a guilty plea fell below the standards of effective assistance of counsel guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment.
On July 23, 2012, CAC filed brief on our own behalf as well as on behalf of habeas scholars in the Supreme Court supporting petitioner Roselva Chaidez in her appeal of the violation of her constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment.
Disappointingly, on February 20, 2013 the Supreme Court handed down a 7-2 decision holding that Padilla did create a new rule, and that Ms. Chaidez and others convicted prior to that decision would not benefit from its protections from inadequate counsel.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor echoed CAC’s argument in her dissent, writing, "Padilla did nothing more than apply the existing rule of Strickland v. Washington in a new setting, the same way the Court has done repeatedly in the past: by surveying the relevant professional norms and concluding that they unequivocally required attorneys to provide advice about the immigration consequences of a guilty plea."
Read coverage of the case featuring analysis from CAC’s Elizabeth Wydra here.
In Chisholm v. Two Unnamed Petitioners, the U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to grant review to consider whether it violated the Due Process Clause for two Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices to have participated in a case that asked them to decide whether interest groups that had played a critical role in their own election (and with which they may have had even more direct involvement) had engaged in illegal conduct in connection with another campaign.
On July 31, 2009, CAC filed a brief with the League of Women Voters of the United States, explaining that the text and history of our Constitution make clear that campaign expenditures by corporations can be subject to greater regulation than expenditures by individuals. In a special session on Thursday, January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United, reversing the judgment of the D.C. Circuit Court.
On September 24, 2012, Constitutional Accountability Center filed a brief in support of the Respondents in Clapper v. Amnesty International USA, a case that raises important questions about the judiciary’s role as guardian of the Constitution in a time of ascendant government surveillance powers.
Unfortunately, on February 26, 2013, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court’s conservatives denied Amnesty International and the other Respondents standing to pursue their constitutional claims.
On March 20, 2012, the Supreme Court issued a deeply splintered and troubling ruling striking down an important part of the Family and Medical Leave Act as beyond the powers of Congress under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment.