Artis v District of Columbia

Artis sought review of the decision holding the time to refile provision in 28 USC 1367(d) is a grace period not a tolling statute and thus her refiled state law claims were time bared. The Court, resolving a split of appellate authority on the issue, reversed 5-4. The majority held that “tolled” in 1367(d) is generally understood to suspend the running of a limitations period in both dictionary definitions and Court precedent and reading it to only allow a 30 day period after dismissal to refile is problematic as it strains the phrase “period of limitations” and leads the absurd result on a time barred when field claim being allowed after dismissal. It held the legislative history does not given any indication Congress intended to adopt a grace period regime, that the extra 30 day period serves the purpose of allowing plaintiffs who file near the end of a limitations period to refile in state court and 1367(d) also allows plaintiffs in sates with more generous grace periods. The majority rejected District’s constitutional change holding 1367(d) is constitutional under the necessary and proper clause as incidental to the creation dn regulation of lower federal courts and is  substantive statue under Court precedent and thus not an infringement of state rights. Gorsuch, joined by Kennedy, Thomas and Alito, dissented arguing 1367(d) is a grace period statute as it covers cases filed in the wrong court within a limitations period and grace period remedies are standard in those circumstances, the text of 1367(d) points to a grace period reading as it uses “tooled” and “tolling” in the same sentence and the tolling reference clearly refers to grace periods after dismissal in state law, the majority opinion replaces a simple scheme with two grace periods with a complex scheme involving calculation of litigation periods , serves no federal interests and intrudes into state interests by imposing a federal solution to a state limitations period problem and thus fails to keep the federal government within its boundaries.

District of Columbia v Wesby

District and 5 police officers sought review of the denial of the officers’ qualified immunity motions and the finding there was no probable cause to arrest Wesby and the other plaintiffs. The Court, with Sotomayor concurring in part and in judgment and Ginsberg concurring in judgment, reversed. As to probable cause, the majority held that the officers had probable cause to arrest for unlawful entry as the house in question was vacant, had minimal furniture, little sign of habitation or of a person moving in and a loud party was ongoing at 1 am, there was the smell of marijuana, the floor was filthy, the living room had been converted into a strip club and several people present hid when  the officers arrived, those present gave vague and implausible answers about who gave them permission to be in the house  and the person allegedly giving permission refused to return to the house for  fear of arrest all of which supported a reasonable inference Wesby and the others knew they lacked permission to be at the house. The majority faulted the DC Circuit for concluding otherwise holding it erred in viewing the evidence in isolation and discounting any facts which had an innocent explanation. Alternatively, the majority held the officers were entitled to qualified immunity on these facts because there was no circuit or Court precedent involving sufficiently similar facts and treating belief of invitation to the house as uncontroverted fact failed to consider reasonable inferences and this approach was not settled law either. Sotomayor agreed that qualified immunity applied here, but argued the majority erred in reaching the probable cause issue. Ginsberg agree there was no settled law and thus qualified immunity was appropriate, but, argued the Court’s approach of ignoring officer state of mind in evaluating probable cause should be revisited.

National Association of Manufactures et al. v department of Defense et al.

Association sought review of the 6th Circuit decision denying its motion to dismiss challenges to a rule defining the phrase “waters of the United States” for lack of jurisdiction. The Court unanimously reversed. It held that the rule in question was not reviewable at the circuit court level under 1369(b)(1)(E) because the rule did not set or otherwise involve numerical limits to the discharge of effluents, was not reviewable under 1369(b)(1(F) because the rule has nothing to do with permits and held the government’s proposed legal effects and functional equivalent rules were contrary to the text of 1369 and would render several parts of the Clean Water Act superfluous. It held the policy considerations of avoiding bifurcated review, promoting judicial efficiency and avoiding conflicting decisions at the district court level cannot overcome the plain language of 1369.