On Friday the Supreme Court granted cert in a Voting Rights Act case from the D.C. Circuit, Shelby County v. Holder. The grant came three days after the general election and three years after the Supreme Court raised, in the words of Judge Tatel’s majority opinion, “serious questions about the continued constitutionality of section 5.” Despite those questions, the D.C. Circuit upheld Congress’s reauthorization of section 5 over Judge Williams’s dissent. SCOTUSblog. Washington Post.
Friday was a big day for Judge Williams. He also issued opinions in two Clean Air Act cases–vacating for lack of notice-and-comment the EPA’s determination that it had complied with a requirement to list (and set standards for) emitters of certain pollutants in Sierra Club v. EPA, and siding with the EPA in a challenge to its interpretation of the CAA and of its own Gold Mine Rule in Desert Citizens Against Pollution v. EPA. Greenwire; Greenwire (subscription required). [Update: Courthouse News Service; Courthouse News Service.]
The D.C. Circuit’s string of criminal reversals (can two be a string?) came to a screeching halt on Friday with affirmances in United States v. McDade (ineffective assistance of counsel) and United States v. Fields (no retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act’s crack disparity fix). But in McDade, Judge Rogers joined the other courts of appeals in permitting equitable tolling of AEDPA’s one-year bar, and in the aptly named United States v. Fair, she vacated a software piracy restitution award because the Government failed to introduce evidence of the software maker’s loss. Under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act, “the defendant’s gain is not an appropriate measure of the victim’s actual loss.”