Archive for the ‘SCOTUS’ Category

Argentina: SCOTUS rules for the creditors

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Two, not one, rulings regarding the 2001 defaulted bonds, upholding U.S. contract law; As I had mentioned earlier,

This is an interesting case, not just because Argentina initially had to issue the bonds with a guarantee that they would pay them in full because the country had already defaulted, but also because it may set a precedent for any future sovereign debt or municipal debt restructurings.

High Court Sides With Holdout Creditors in Argentina Debt Case
The U.S. Supreme Court handed Argentina a pair of legal setbacks in cases stemming from its 2001 default, a major blow for the country in its lengthy battle with holdout creditors

The first,

In one highly anticipated case, the justices rejected Argentina’s request that the high court intervene in litigation with holdout hedge funds that had refused to accept the country’s debt-restructuring offers.

The Supreme Court, without comment, left in place a lower-court ruling that said Argentina can’t make payments on its restructured debt unless it also pays the holdouts.

And then there’s the disclosure case,

In a second related case, the high court ruled that bank records about Argentina’s international assets can be made available to one holdout creditor seeking to collect on court judgments stemming from the default.

To add to the double whammy, the decision was 7 to 1; Lyle Denniston of SCOTUS blog explains,

Besides refusing to hear Argentina’s plea that U.S. courts had no authority to command how it, as a sovereign nation, deals with holders of its external debt, the Court silently turned aside a plea by Argentina to get an interpretation by New York state courts of just what legal obligations of equal treatment Argentina has undertaken in selling the now-defaulted bonds.

In contrast to the simple denial of those issues, the Court issued a full-dress opinion on the separate question of how wide an opportunity the holders of defaulted bonds would have to gather information from two banks about the location of Argentina’s financial assets overseas.

In an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court rejected Argentina’s argument that those bondholders could only seek information about assets that that country keeps in the United States. Argentina had relied upon a 1976 U.S. law seeking to insulate foreign governments from some legal obligations in U.S. courts.

For one thing, Justice Scalia noted, Argentina had given up its immunity to demands for information about its assets that could be used to cover its obligations on debts. But, in addition, Scalia wrote, the 1976 law on foreign immunity simply says nothing at all about giving foreign governments immunity to demands that they produce information that may be necessary to satisfy a debt obligation they had undertaken.

This means the investors can get access to a wide number of bank records to locate financial assets overseas that they might be able to seize as compensation.

Argentina had sent a delegation to meet with Nancy Pelosi last week to discuss the debt,

Hours earlier, the Argentine delegation had lunch with former US solicitor-general Paul Clement — a legal adviser for the Argentine position against the hedge funds that have refused to restructure the country’s defaulted debt — and representatives from the Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton law firm.

Justice Sotomayor had recused herself.

You can read the decision in full here.

Related headlines:
Argentina debt crisis fears grow after US supreme court ruling
Share prices fall 6% as US court refuses appeal against decision in favour of creditors who bought up debt worth $1.3bn

Argentina’s bond drama: pathway to peace or a new Falklands?

Argentina Loses US Supreme Court Appeal In Key Hedge Fund Case, Now In Its 12th Year

Cristina Fernández will address the nation on television at 9 pm local time tonight.

“Positive discrimination”

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

My latest at Da Tech Guy, “Positive discrimination”,

But I pose to Justice Sotomayor this question, does race matter when Asian (East Asian and Indian) students are denied admission to top colleges because quotas favor a different minority?

Go read the whole thing.

Argentina: SCOTUS hearing Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

As previously mentioned, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on the defaulted debt case, Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital. NML is trying to collect $1.6 billion in judgments it has won in U.S. court cases against Argentina.

The justices were skeptical:

Argentina got a skeptical reception at the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices considered whether two banks must turn over details about the country’s assets as part of a multibillion-dollar fight over defaulted government bonds.
. . .
The bondholders’ attorney, Theodore Olson, told the justices that Argentina, when it issued the bonds, agreed to submit to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. Had it not done so, “it never would have been able to borrow any money in the United States,” Olson said.

However, there’s The problem when a pitfall opens

The Supreme Court spent most of a half-hour on Monday staying entirely away from a pitfall in the law that governs debt collection, but then that trap suddenly opened widely, and nearly swallowed the case of Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital Ltd. What made the difference? The Court began worrying a lot about the identity of the debtor — the sovereign nation of Argentina.

To a remarkable extent, this was an argument in which the front half and the second half did not seem to be on the same page. In the end, though, it appeared that the second part might well turn out to be controlling, and Argentina could get some special treatment as a debtor — because it is a nation, not an ordinary debtor.

Read the rest of Lyle Denniston’s post here.

Argentina: Still in the hole for $185 million

Friday, March 7th, 2014

The Supreme Court on Wednesday revived a $185 million arbitration award British energy company BG Group PLC won against Argentina in 2007.

The high court, in an opinion by Justice Stephen Breyer, reversed a lower-court ruling that said the arbitration process that led to the award was invalid.

The case dates back to Argentina’s 2001-2002 economic crisis. BG alleged the Argentine government destroyed its investments in the country’s natural-gas distribution sector through a series of state actions. The company also said Argentina threatened businesses with serious penalties if they challenged the government’s crisis-era actions in that country’s courts.” target=”_blank”>The high court, in an opinion by Justice Stephen Breyer, reversed a lower-court ruling that said the arbitration process that led to the award was invalid.

The case dates back to Argentina’s 2001-2002 economic crisis. BG alleged the Argentine government destroyed its investments in the country’s natural-gas distribution sector through a series of state actions. The company also said Argentina threatened businesses with serious penalties if they challenged the government’s crisis-era actions in that country’s courts.

The BG Group case, by the way, is not the defaulted bonds case.

Argentina: SCOTUS to hear defaulted bonds case

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Supreme Court to Consider Argentina Appeal
Case Centers on Repayment of Defaulted Bonds

Argentina is asking the high court to consider a ruling last October by the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York that would block the South American country from making payments on its current bonds unless it also pays hedge funds that own defaulted Argentine bonds.

Argentina’s more than decadelong legal battle with creditors follows its decision to stop paying about $100 billion in public debt in 2001, which at the time was the largest sovereign default in history. The country later restructured about 93% of its debt by offering investors new bonds in heavily discounted debt exchanges in 2005 and 2010.

Amy Howe of SCOTUS blog points out,

At Forbes, Rich Samp discusses the pending cert. petition in Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital Ltd., in which Argentina has asked the Court to review whether post-judgment discovery in aid of enforcing a judgment against a foreign state can be ordered with respect to all assets of a foreign state regardless of their location or use.  Samp (who filed an amicus brief in support of the bondholders opposing Argentina in the Second Circuit) concludes that “Argentina faces a daunting task in convincing four Supreme Court justices to vote to grant” the petition, and adds that its “task is made even more difficult by the possibility that Justice Sotomayor may recuse herself, thereby reducing the pool of justices from which it needs to find four votes.”

It would be particularly ironic if Justice Sotomayor would recuse herself because of the Argentinian government’s concerted effort to forge close relations with her.

This is an interesting case, not just because Argentina initially had to issue the bonds with a guarantee that they would pay them in full because the country had already defaulted, but also because it may set a precedent for any future sovereign debt or municipal debt restructurings.

Puerto Rico is ineligible for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy protection because any debt overhaul would have to be treated as a foreign obligation, analysts say.

#SCOTUS: Individual mandate is a tax

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

The SCOTUS has spoken.

SCOTUS blog is on cover it live,

The bottom line: the entire ACA is upheld, with the exception that the federal government’s power to terminate states’ Medicaid funds is narrowly read.

Power Line also live. Chief Justice Alito was the deciding factor, according to Fox News.

The other day I was reading about The Dangerous Synergy Between The Nanny State And Universal Health Care.

SCOTUS blog’s liveblogging

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Completed live blog of orders and opinions. Apparently, no Obamacare ruling today.

Chelsea Clinton, NBC reporter

Monday, November 14th, 2011

The first stop on the Chelsea political carreer?
Chelsea Clinton to Report for NBC

The appointment was immediate. Ms. Clinton will begin work on stories that NBC expects to use as part of its “Making a Difference” series, which runs on “NBC Nightly News,” said Steve Capus, president of NBC News.

Since the nightly news need more fluff?

Mr. Capus said Ms. Clinton had said to him, “That’s the kind of thing, if this were to happen, that I would really like to do.” He added, “It’s not about Chelsea Clinton saying, ‘Here I am; I want to be a TV star.’ ”

Of course not. It’s all about politics.

Cripes Suzette has a list of topics for Chelsea’s show.

In more serious news, the Supreme Court will review ObamaCare individual mandate. Ed Morrissey writes,

The timing is highly consequential.  It means that Obama almost certainly won’t get a chance to name a new court member before the Supremes decide whether the Commerce Clause is an opening through which Congress can force any kind of regulation and mandate.  If they end up supporting ObamaCare, Barack Obama will claim vindication for the next few months of the campaign for his re-election bid.  If they strike it down, Obama loses his signature achievement and has to explain that for the next few months leading up to the election — and explaining is not winning.

UpdateNational Journal reports that the Supreme Court has requested that both sides address three questions in their submissions: the individual mandate, severability, and jurisdiction.  This looks promising for opponents on first blush, as it focuses on just how much of the law a negative ruling would invalidate, and under what circumstances.  The 11th Circuit ruled that the individual mandate could not be severed from the rest of the law.  Jurisdiction refers to standing in a suit against a law that has yet to take effect.

More from Sean Hackbarth.


With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Exhibit A:
Marc Thiessen writes about The GOP’s counterinsurgency by spenders

With the departure of Sen. Arlen Specter to the Democratic Party, it seemed as if Republican moderates were a dying breed. All that was left of the troika that put President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus over the top were the women from Maine — Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Olympia Snowe. But then Sen. Scott Brown arrived in January, and he has hewed a centrist course — recently joining Collins and Snowe in providing the GOP votes needed to pass both President Obama’s big spending “jobs” bill (a.k.a. “son of stimulus”) and his financial regulation bill filled with budget gimmicks that will eventually add more than $5 billion to the deficit. Judging from the comments on Brown’s Facebook page, many Tea Party activists believe they were duped. But the Republican senator from Massachusetts is simply voting like, well, a Massachusetts Republican.

Others may soon join the big-spending ranks. In Delaware, one of the most liberal Republicans in the House, Rep. Mike Castle, is the favorite to become the state’s next senator. And in Illinois, moderate Republican Rep. Mark Kirk holds a narrow lead in the Illinois Senate race for Obama’s seat. Both have weak records on fiscal issues. Castle rates a lowly “C” from the National Taxpayers Union, while Kirk gets a slightly better “C+” rating.

In North Dakota, Republican Gov. John Hoeven has a huge lead over his Democratic opponent and will almost certainly be elected to replace retiring Sen. Byron Dorgan. Hoeven is a solid conservative on many issues, and he would certainly be an improvement over Dorgan. But he is a big spender. According to the Cato Institute, he has raised per capita spending by almost 7 percent annually since 2003. In just two legislative sessions beginning in 2007, Hoeven presided over a whopping 60 percent increase in spending. Last year, North Dakota Democrats even launched ads declaring Hoeven the “biggest spender in North Dakota history.” While he is not a deficit spender, he is not, suffice it to say, a spending hawk in the Tea Party mold.

Then there is Rep. Roy Blunt, who is running slightly ahead Secretary of State Robin Carnahan in Missouri. Like Hoeven, Blunt is a conservative on many fronts — but spending is not one of them. Blunt has been a prolific earmarker during his 12 years in Congress. In 2010 alone, he has requested $153 million in earmarks — prompting Carnahan to swear off all earmarks in a bid to get to the right of Blunt on fiscal issues. Carnahan campaigns as if she were the Tea Party candidate, accusing Blunt of having “become famous for his pork-barrel spending” and calling him a “prodigious porkmeister.”

Exhibit B:
Senate votes 60-40 to advance jobless benefits legislation

Two Republicans, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, voted to end the filibuster. Ben Nelson of Nebraska was the lone Democrat to break with his party and vote to sustain it.

Exhibit C:
Lindsey Graham is not wise

No… really… he pretty much admitted it:

Elena Kagan now has at least one Republican vote for confirmation to the Supreme Court: that of Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who said Tuesday that she was not someone he would have chosen “but the person who did choose – President Obama – I think chose wisely.’’

So… if Obama chose wisely… and you would not have chosen her… then that makes your choice… something other than wise.


In the news just now:
Senate Panel Backs Kagan Nomination

The committee vote was 13-6, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) joining all the panel’s Democrats in supporting Ms. Kagan’s nomination. Last year, Mr. Graham was also the only senator on the committee to break ranks with his party and vote in favor of Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

“I’m going to vote for [Ms. Kagan] because I believe the last election had consequences,” Mr. Graham told the committee shortly before its vote. “This president chose someone who is qualified, who has the experience and knowledge to serve on the Supreme Court.”

He added, “What’s in Elena Kagan’s heart is that of a good person who has a philosophy I disagree with.”

Heart. HEART! Just what a Supreme Court Justice needs, first and foremost.

As the Republicans continue to place themselves as the party of losers maybe Graham could take over the part of the Coach on the road production of Damned Yankees:


Power Line on Kagan’s abortion stance

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

John Hinderaker analyzes Kagan on Partial-Birth Abortion, Take Two. After quoting the exchange between Orrin Hatch and Elena Kagan, Hinderaker writes,

Let’s break that down. First, Kagan was a vigorous advocate for partial-birth abortion. Her memo to her superiors in the Clinton administration said that it “would be disaster” if the ACOG report came out in its original form, saying that the panel “could identify no circumstances under which [the partial-birth] procedure … would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.” Today, Kagan tried to spin that statement, but her attempt was disingenuous. In her memo, she obviously referred to the political consequences if this respected physicians’ group were to acknowledge that partial-birth abortion is never medically necessary–that was the “disaster” that she tried to avert.

Second, in my post yesterday, I misunderstood one fact. I thought that Kagan’s “suggested option,” “An intact D&X [the medical term for the procedure], however, may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman,” was substituted for the ACOG panel’s original language, “[we] could identify no circumstances under which [the partial-birth] procedure … would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.” That was not correct; rather, as Kagan said, both of those sentences were included in the final version of the report. While they certainly point in opposite directions, they are not technically inconsistent.

Third, Kagan’s responses failed to deny the essence of the scandal. On the contrary, she admitted that on behalf of the Clinton administration, she worked behind the scenes to influence the supposedly “scientific” verdict of the ACOG so as to make it more friendly to partial-birth abortion. Her claim that she was merely trying to “clarify” or remind ACOG of what that group really thought is a classic lawyer’s dodge. It stands unrebutted that Kagan drafted pro-partial-birth abortion language and sent it to an ACOG political operative, with the result that Kagan’s language was included in the final version of the panel’s report, even though Kagan is not an obstetrician or gynecologist, and has no expertise in any relevant field. Rather, Kagan was acting as a political representative of the Clinton administration.

This is tremendously important. The ACOG report played a vital role both in public opinion about the partial-birth abortion issue, and in the federal courts’ approach to that issue

Shannen Coffin is more specific:

There is little question that Kagan’s edit changed the substance of the ACOG statement, not merely its policy implications. Previously, the draft had read that there were no suchmedical circumstances in which it was the only method to save the health or life of a woman; Kagan inserted language to water down or hedge thatmedical opinion, asserting — notwithstanding what her notes had shown regarding the lack of evidence regarding such circumstances — that the procedure still “may be the best or most appropriate procedure in particular circumstances.” That is not a statement of policy; it is a statement ofmedical opinion.

Any attempt to downplay the significance of these revisions misses the mark. Remember that it was Kagan’s specific language the Supreme Court seized upon in striking down the Nebraska ban. As that opinion concluded, “Casey’s words ‘appropriatemedical judgment’ must embody the judicial need to tolerate responsible differences of medical opinion — differences of a sort that the American Medical Association and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ statements together indicate are present here.” The Court relied on ACOG’s policy statement (which ACOG expanded on in its amicus brief) to find a division of medical opinion

Hinderaker concludes,

Ms. Kagan’s career appears to be that of a left-wing political operative, not that of a lawyer or legal scholar devoted to an objective application of the laws.

Go read both links in full.