The Court granted four cert petitions yesterday morning.  The issues presented in those petitions included bankruptcy matters, the Court of Federal Claims’ jurisdiction, the first-sale doctrine of the Copyright Act and in what circumstances an employer is liable based on the unlawful intent of officials who caused or influenced but did not make the ultimate employment decision.  See Ransom v. MBNA, America Bank, No. 09-907; United States v. Tohono O’odham Nation, No. 09-846; Costco v. Omega, No. 08-1423; and Staub v. Proctor Hospital, No. 09-400.

[Note: the petition, brief in opposition and reply brief in Ransom were printed at Cockle].

The Court also heard argument in cases raising Constitutional questions.  In Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, No. 08-1371, the Court must decide whether student’s First Amendment rights are violated when a public university denies school funding and benefits to a religious student organization because that organization requires members to agree with its core religious beliefs.  The second case—City of Ontario v. Quon, No. 08-1332—involves whether individuals who used government-issued pagers have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of texts sent on those pagers.

The blogosphere continues to buzz over Justice Stevens’s replacement and the affect of his absence.  The Washington Post has, in recent days, reported on both Judge Diane Wood and Solicitor General Kagan.  And Bloomberg profiles the final member of the so-called “shortlist”: Judge Merrick Garland. Finally, Tom Goldstein at SCOTUS Blog explains at length how Justice Stevens’s departure could impact Supreme Court decision making especially in the areas of executive power and preemption.