Professor Brian Murchison Reviews Supreme Court Term

Prof. Brian Murchison
Prof. Brian Murchison

In a talk entitled “Institutions Under the Microscope,” Professor Brian Murchison reviewed cases decided in the 2015-16 U.S. Supreme Court Term as guest of the Federal Bar Association chapter in Roanoke on August 25, 2016.  This was Murchison’s fourth annual review for the FBA, whose members include federal judges and practitioners in the Roanoke area.

The talk was simulcast to attorneys in Charlottesville.   Among the cases Murchison discussed were:   Williams v. Pennsylvania (finding that a state supreme court justice’s refusal to recuse himself in a case in which he had been involved as a district attorney decades earlier amounted to a violation of a death row prisoner’s due process rights in a current appeal); Luis v. United States (deciding that an indictee’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel of choice outweighed the government’s interest in freezing assets unrelated to the charged crime);  Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co. (finding that an agency’s Jurisdictional Determination under the Clean Water Act amounted to final agency action and hence was reviewable); Blake v. Ross (holding that an inmate suing corrections guards need only exhaust internal prison remedies that are “available” in the sense of “capable of use to obtain some relief”); Encino Motorcars v. Novarro (declining to defer to a superficially explained agency interpretation of a federal labor statute);  Bank Markazi v. Peterson (finding no separation of powers flaw in a federal statute that changed applicable law for a pending case and was outcome-determinative); McDonnell v. United States (vacating convictions of former Virginia governor under federal bribery statute).

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