March 1, 2023

Posted by orrinj at 5:23 PM


Unusual Groupings of Justices Decide Two Cases Involving Contradictory Applications of Textualism - SCOTUS Today  (National Law Review, February 28, 2023)

The day's second case, Bittner v. United States, also offers an interesting array of Justices. The case concerns the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and its implementing regulations that require U.S. persons with certain financial interests in foreign accounts to file an annual report known as an "FBAR"--the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. The statute imposes a maximum $10,000 penalty for non-willful violations of the law. The government argued that penalties for such violations apply to each account not accurately or timely reported (Bittner had five such accounts), while Bittner argued that the BSA authorizes a $10,000 maximum penalty per report, not per account. Justice Gorsuch delivered the opinion of the Court in favor of Bittner's interpretation of the law, i.e., that non-willful violations are to be penalized on a per-report basis. However, he was joined only by four other Justices, the Chief Justice and Justices Alito, Kavanaugh, and the putatively liberal Justice Jackson, who even joined Justice Gorsuch in a separate opinion expatiating on the background of the statute and case law history. In the opposite corner of the ring, we find a group of dissenters led by Justice Barrett, who was joined by Justices Thomas, Sotomayor, and Kagan, who argued for the per-account penalty theory. 

The non-Ideologues are a majority.

Posted by orrinj at 5:11 PM


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Blinken Eyes U.S. Inroads in Central Asia as Ukraine Rattles Nerves (Shaun Tandon, 3/01/23,  AFP)

Days after the anniversary of the Ukraine invasion, the top U.S. diplomat will hold talks Tuesday in Kazakhstan and then Uzbekistan and meet jointly with foreign ministers of all five ex-Soviet Central Asian states in Kazakhstan's capital Astana.

Donald Lu, the top U.S. diplomat for South and Central Asia, said the United States was realistic that the five nations were not going to end their relationships with Russia or their other giant neighbor, China, which has been boosting its own presence.

But he said Blinken would show that the United States is a "reliable partner" and different from Moscow and Beijing.

"We have something to offer in terms of engagement economically, but we also have something to offer in terms of the values that we bring to the table," Lu told reporters.

History Ends everywhere.