The Long Conference Orders List, Part One

It’s one of my favorite days of Fall — the release of the orders list from the Supreme Court’s long conference — the day that cert petitions and other motions have been waiting for all summer. The Court has split the orders list into two, releasing grants (and a few other time-sensitive things) today, and leaving the rest for next week, so it’s hard to tell what’s happened to many of the most-watched cases that weren’t granting today. But a few things interested me on today’s list:

— A grant in United States v. Castleman, a criminal case apparently implicating two different important circuit splits about the definition of a “crime of violence” under one of the federal gun-possession statutes. One is whether a crime has the “use of force” as an element if it only requires a touching (as common law battery did). The other is whether a crime has the “use of force” as an element if it only requires the defendant to “cause bodily injury” without regard to the mechanism. I am inclined to think the answer to both is “no,” but I’ll be reading the briefs before I make my mind up.

— A grant in Petrella v. MGM, a case about whether the equitable defense of “laches” is available in copyright suits in addition to the three-year statute of limitations.

— A cert denial in Gore v. Crews, a capital case notable largely because it’s the only cert denial on the list. All of the other denials will be put off until Monday. I assume this one was released early so that Florida can hurry up the execution.

UPDATE: Apparently, Mr. Gore has been executed.

— And the Court ruled on Stephen Sachs’s motion to participate as an amicus curiae in oral argument in Atlantic Marine (previously and previously). It denied the motion, which is not at all surprising. But it also added an unusual sentence to the order: “The parties, however, should be prepared to address at oral argument the arguments raised in the brief of Professor Stephen E. Sachs as amicus curiae in support of neither party.” That suggests that the Court is taking Sachs’s argument seriously, which it should, since that argument is probably correct.