I couldn’t find a picture that had Kagan in it which is extremely too bad since she was my favorite asker of questions.
All the women spoke often – Kagan was clear and forthright, Sotomayor was also clear but not quite as concise, Ginsburg was harder to understand and took longer to ask her question but was always on point. The men were as advertised – Thomas was mute, Roberts was collegial, Alito was snarky, etc etc.
The two cases I heard, so arcane, from the filings:
First Arizona taxpayers challenged the constitutionality of Arizona’s tuition tax credit in an Arizona federal district court. They alleged the tax credit violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because it funneled money to private religious schools. The district court dismissed the case. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that the taxpayers had standing to bring their suit and had alleged a viable Establishment Clause claim.
Question: 1) Do the plaintiffs lack standing because they cannot allege that the Arizona tuition tax credit involves the appropriation or expenditure of state funds? 2) Does the plaintiffs’ theory of their injury in fact – that they are injured by Arizona’s reduced revenue as a result of the tax credit – constitute injury in fact sufficient to create standing? 3) Do the plaintiffs have standing to challenge the decision of private taxpayers as to where they spend their money?
Second Three members of the Williamson family were involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle. Delbert and Alexa wore lap/shoulder seatbelts and survived, while Thanh wore a lap-only seatbelt and died. Subsequently, they sued Mazda Motor of America for strict products liability, negligence, deceit, and wrongful death in a California state court. The court dismissed the claims, holding that federal law precluded a state court tort action “to the extent the theory of liability [was rooted in] the lap-only seat belt.” On appeal, a California appellate court affirmed, holding that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) regulation allowing minivan rear seats to have either lap-only or lap/shoulder seat belts preempted state court wrongful death actions. Question: Does the NHTSA regulation allowing vehicle manufacturers to install either lap-only or lap/shoulder seatbelts in certain seating positions impliedly preempt a state-law claim alleging that the manufacturer should have installed lap/shoulder seatbelts in one of its seating positions?