Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Supreme Court today announced three cases, one of which is interesting, in addition to hearing argument in an election speech case I discuss elsewhere.

The court ruled, 6-3, that AG Gonzales can't use federal regulation of prescription drugs to overturn Oregon's decision to allow assisted suicide. The case is narrowly disttinguishable from Ashcroft Gonzales v Raich in that it was based on statutory interpretation rather than explicitly on constitutional grounds. The court said if that's what congress meant, it would have said so. The dissent, joined by Roberts, said the court was making a constitutional decision and should have looked at the statute in the ways it usually does. I'm looking forward to reading Randy Barnett, the Volokhian conspirator who argued Raich. Nothing yet from Barnett, but good discussion at Volokh here.
The uninteresting case was about diversity jurisdiction for national banks.
Re the third case, I need to double check my notes. As always, scotusblog has the scoop, although as of now they haven't posted coverage of WRtL.

Word for the day: "afowl" - Thomas, dissenting in the above case. Or is it Scalia? It's more Scalia-esque. Howard says parrots aren't fowl.

I've sorted out what confused me before. Another interesting case was argued today, rather than decided. Jones v Flowers is about notice requirements before thwe government can steal your house for back taxes. The tax collector sent a registered mail to Mr. Jones, which he didn't pick up. What they didn't do was just mail him a regular letter as well, which probably would have been read by Mrs. Jones, who still lived there. I run into into this problem a lot - I have properties I can't pay the taxes on, and I get bunches of registered mail. For some reason my letter carrier never delievers these, just sends a pink slip saying come get it. I'm hikkiomri - I tend not to leave the house, so often I end up not getting these notices. I'm not confident the Supreme Court will sort out these pragmatic concerns.
I need to mail my rent check, but I actually don't know how much stamps costs these days - I heard it's gone up, but am not sure, or by how much.
Next month I'll sit down and go over my portfolio and bank account and figure out which of my properties to pay the back taxes on - I might keep about 10 out of 30.

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