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Athletic associations, sentencing guidelines and shareholder lawsuits, oh my!

supreme2.jpgFor the time being, at least, we’ve had to abandon our Supreme Court Updates - life and our real day jobs are just sucking up too much time for me and Dustin. But here are some links relating to yesterday’s three Supreme Court decisions for those who care about such things.

It ain’t often that you see an article on ESPN’s website about the Supremes, but that’s what happens when the Court rules that “athletic associations can enforce limits on recruiting high school athletes without violating coaches’ free speech rights” (that case was Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Assn. v. Brentwood Academy).

Meanwhile the Court also ruled (in Rita v. U.S.) “that a federal criminal sentence within the Guidelines may be presumed to be reasonable when the case is on appeal,” although that presumption is not binding (i.e., it’s rebuttable). Some think this decision “has something for everyone except” for the criminal defendant, and that it’s going to create more confusion, rather than help settle post-Booker sentencing issues. Actually, others also think this is no good for the criminals , noting that this ruling will make “it harder … for most defendants to challenge their federal prison sentences.”

Finally, the Court looked at securities law (in Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues and Rights) and suits filed by investors. The Court held that, in order for a plaintiff to be entitled to a “strong” inference that the defendants acted with a wrongful intent, the underlying inference can’t just be “plausible or reasonable,” but must be “cogent and at least as compelling as any opposing inference” which would suggested that there wasn’t an intent to defraud investors. This is a blow to investors wanting to bring such lawsuits claiming fraudulent business practices, because it makes it harder for the plaintiff’s lawsuit to survive the early stages of litigation. Exciting, ain’t it? Well, the WSJ Law Blog points out some of the “exciting” battle between the Scalia and Stevens over statutory interpretation. In fact, Scalia got downright snarky, citing jade falcons. ….What? That’s not exciting either. Y’all are a difficult bunch to please.