OA248: The Cert(iorari) Show!

Today’s episode features a deep dive into a bunch of different issues around granting the writ of certiorari — “cert” — and some of the intricacies of how the Trump administration is trying to take advantage of the activist Supreme Court.  Oh, and we also tackle a lawsuit that’s being grossly misrepresented by the media.

We begin with a discussion of the unique procedure of “cert before judgment.”  What is it, how rare is it, and… why is the Trump administration trying to deploy it with alarming frequency?  Listen and find out!

Then, we revisit litigation regarding the census that we first discussed back in Episode 232, and the administration’s effort to… get cert before judgment (of course).

Our main segment looks at something Andrew has never seen before:  essentially, a four-justice dissent from a denial of certiorari.  Why is this weird?  Listen and find out as we dissect that very opinion in Kennedy v. Bremerton School Dist.

Next, we tackle a recent clickbaity headline involving a dishwasher allegedly showered with money for “skipping work to go to church.”  Find out why the reporting on this case has been totally irresponsible and what really happened.

After all that, it’s time for the answer to Thomas Takes The Bar Exam #111, which involved a contract for defective water bottles.  As always, remember to follow our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and like our Facebook Page so that you too can play along with #TTTBE!


None!  If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

  1. “Cert before judgment” is governed by Supreme Court Rule 11.
  2. We first discussed the census litigation back in Episode 232.  You can read the motion to dismiss the writ of certiorari as improvidently granted, as well as the U.S. reply.
  3. Click here to read the “statement” regarding the denial of cert in Kennedy v. Bremerton School Dist.
  4. Click here to read the CBS news report on the Hilton lawsuit, and here to read the (even worse) reporting by the Friendly Atheist blog.
  5. By contrast, you can read the actual Jean Pierre Hilton overtime lawsuit and the jury’s verdict.  Oh, and here’s the EEOC’s statement limiting punitive damages in retaliation cases to just $300,000 (not $21 million).

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