March 22, 2006


Justices Limit Jurisdiction of States in Investor Suits (Reuters, 3/22/06)

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Merrill Lynch on Tuesday in a decision limiting shareholders' ability to bring certain class-action lawsuits in state courts.

The justices found that a 1998 law required that the suits be brought in the federal courts rather than state courts.

An 8-to-0 ruling, written by Justice John Paul Stevens, said, "The magnitude of the federal interest in protecting the integrity and efficient operation of the market for nationally traded securities cannot be overstated." [...]

A lawyer who represented Merrill in the case, Jay B. Kasner of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, said the "decision impacts all public companies by closing an enormous loophole created by plaintiffs, which would have led to an avalanche of state law securities-fraud class actions accompanying virtually every federal securities class action."

Note both another unanimous opinion under the new Chief and that this is a matter that the Democrats' bagmen care about mightily.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 22, 2006 9:13 AM

Yes, two unanimous decisions, both against the Democratic position - all within 6 months of Roberts taking over as Chief. The worm may finally have turned on the Supreme Court. I certainly hope that Stevens retires during Bush's term, but it may not be necessary.

Posted by: L. Rogers at March 22, 2006 9:37 AM

Note that he assigned the opinion to the liberal wing and then got the conservatives to sign it.

Posted by: oj at March 22, 2006 9:49 AM

OJ, I did notice that. Unbelievably shrewd. The liberal wing likes to expand federal authority whenever it can, and Roberts just took that and ran with it. I liked him well enough when he was nominated, but I though he was a bit of a cipher. He's turning out better than I ever thought.

Posted by: Lisa at March 22, 2006 11:31 AM

We may note that almost the only area in which Federal subject-matter jurisdiction has been contracting is with respect to the right to keep and bear arms.

The real test is going to be when the Court takes on federalism challenges to Federal laws protecting and expanding gun rights. What we shall be looking for is the heads-I-win, tails-you-lose solution, wherein Commerce Clause jurisdiction over intra-state gun matters continues to be found lacking, while Federal pro-gun laws, such as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act are upheld.

Gun-grabbers would moan, and do that other thing they do when they moan, but it is doctrinally possible.

Hail victory.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 22, 2006 1:04 PM


In your dreams--and mine, too. :-) Though mine also include stuff like mandated CCW reciprocity. :-) :-)

Posted by: Kirk Parker at March 22, 2006 3:25 PM