Two College of Law professors cited in SCOTUS decisions

Two professors at the S.J. Quinney College of Law were cited in decisions released this week by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins,  the U.S. Supreme Court gave a victory to Spokeo Inc. The online people-search company had been defending itself to avoid a class action lawsuit for including inaccurate information in its database. The court, in a 6-2 decision, threw out an appeals court ruling in favor of lead plaintiff Thomas Robins, who sued the company in California claiming his Spokeo entry had negatively affected his job-seeking because it contained bad information. Law professor Andy Hessick wrote an amicus brief in the case. Justice Clarence Thomas cited Hessick in part of the decision. image.hml

Justice Thomas wrote: “where one private party has alleged that another private party violated his private rights, there is generally  no danger that the private party’s suit is an impermissible attempt to police the activity of the political branches or, more broadly, that the legislative branch has impermissibly delegated law enforcement authority from the executive

to a private individual. See Hessick, Standing, Injury in Fact, and Private Rights, 93 Cornell L. Rev. 275, 317–321 (2008).”


In the second case involving a College of Law faculty member, the Supreme Court  denied certiorari in the United Student Aid Funds, Inc. v. Bible. The case relates to whether federal courts should defer to agency interpretations of an agency’s own regulations.amy-wildermuth

Justice Thomas dissented from the denial of cert and included the following citation, which noted research from law professor Amy Wildermuth: “The doctrine has metastasized, see Knudsen & Wildermuth, Unearthing the Lost History of Seminole Rock, 65 Emory L. J. 47, 54–68 (2015) (discussing Seminole Rock’s humble origins), and today “amounts to a transfer of the judge’s exercise of interpretive judgment to the agency,” Mortgage Bankers, supra, at ___ (slip op., at 13) (opinion of THOMAS, J.).”