Supreme Court roundup

Obama’s limp win rate at SCOTUS

The Obama administration won only 50.5 percent of its cases before the Supreme Court, an unusually low rate historically. The number can be seen as an outlier, or as “part of a trend that started after the Reagan administration, which won 75 percent of the time. Each succeeding president did worse than the last. President George Bush won 70 percent of his cases, President Bill Clinton 63 percent and President George W. Bush 60 percent.” [Adam Liptak, New York Times; earlier here, here, etc.]

Emoluments Clause suit likely to run aground on standing

A fresh-outta-the-gate lawsuit asks the courts to step in to prevent President Donald Trump from violating the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause through his business dealings. So, Josh Blackman asks, what’s its argument for standing under Article III? Basically, it’s that “because CREW is spending time on Trump’s emolument issue, they are not able to do things they would otherwise do.” That’s remarkably weak, even under what’s left of such liberal precedents as Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman (1982), and unlikely to persuade the courts. The ACLU is biding its time while preparing a stronger eventual case for standing by looking for a hotel or other competitor that can plausibly claim to have lost business because of transactions involving the Trump Organization and foreign states that (it expects to argue) violate the clause. Even if litigants succeed in obtaining standing in some case, they will still face a daunting barrier in the state of the doctrine on justiciability and political questions, which could lead the courts to step back and defer to Congress as the appropriate branch to devise a remedy. Earlier here.

More: Jonathan Adler on Twitter comes to similar conclusions about standing — “It’s as if complaint is just a PR exercise” — and notes that Prof. Erwin Chemerinsky, who backs the new suit, argued earlier that Texas and other states, for lack of injury, had no standing to challenge the Obama administration’s DAPA immigration action. “If no standing because Texas had ‘choice’ not to issue drivers licenses, CREW has a choice not to worry about emoluments.” And from Derek Muller:

Food roundup

  • Sugar, fat, and the state’s role in nutritional misinformation: Cato Unbound with Gary Taubes and commenters;
  • Montreal authorities ban new restaurants in some neighborhoods, which seems to be just fine with owners of some incumbent eateries [Baylen Linnekin]
  • Among other ominous trends for the hip-restaurant sector, including customer burnout and advance of food delivery apps, health insurance and wage mandates sure don’t help [Kevin Alexander, Thrillist]
  • Latest slack-fill class action alleges there’s too much air in box of Nestle Raisinets [TMZ] Behind wave of class actions over food/beverage labeling, packaging [Jessica Karmasek, Legal NewsLine]
  • What could go wrong? Scotland considers joining Ukraine in enacting a legal right to food [Mental Floss]
  • Restaurant in Turin, Italy, asks diners to sign waiver before consuming hot-pepper-laden dish [La Stampa, in Italian]

On exiting, Nanny dims the lights

“With midnight regulation, Obama Energy Department just outlawed your three-way bulb,” reports Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner. The new rule, announced Thursday on the departing administration’s last full day, effectively revokes an exception that had allowed for sales of conventional incandescent bulbs in several specialty categories, including three-ways and decorative forms such as globes. Earlier here.

About that “Mnuchin’s bank foreclosed on widow over 27 cents” tale

Last month Politico reported that Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin’s bank “filed to take a 90-year-old woman’s house after a 27-cent payment error.” Ted Frank writes that four minutes of fact checking would have shown the story wrong. “A. Widow was never foreclosed on and never lost her home. B. It wasn’t Mnuchin’s bank that brought the suit….The story on its face made no sense. No court permits that kind of foreclosure, and banks lose money on the deal.” The story was widely spread in the media (CNN, Vanity Fair, The Hill) and popped up again at Mnuchin’s confirmation hearing for Treasury secretary.