Average Joe SCOTUS: Kisor v. Wilkie

James Kisor, retired marine, and damn fine American went to fight in the Vietnam conflict years ago. As a result, he suffered PTSD. So he went to the VA for disability benefits, and was denied.

Under statute 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(a), if a petitioner has new evidence, their denial may be reopened, and considered in light of the new information provided. So Kisor was like, “Listen here you motherfuckers, I deserve my benefits, and here’s why.”

The information Kisor submitted was not new evidence, however. It was evidence he had at the time of his first evaluation, it was just not in his file, and thus not considered at the time. It was Kisor’s Form 214 and the Combat History documents.

Since it wasn’t new information, but just previously not submitted information, we had what is known as a technicality. And the government loves technicalities, instead of just doing the right thing. They basically argued that those two documents do not prove PTSD, and therefore weren’t sufficient reason to provide him the relief he sought, and denied his shit again.

The Court of Appeals and Federal Circuit court couldn’t be bothered to help Kisor, either. So off to SCOTUS we go.

The issue at hand, largely seemed to be, was that if the VA writes its regulations, it should be the one interpreting them based on how they wrote them, and not others laws congress may have written in a different manner, since the VA knew what the fuck they meant to do when they wrote it. They cited Auer v. Robbins, 519 U.S. 452 (1997) as case history, which basically told salaried cops seeing overtime under federal labor rules, to go fuck themselves and their overtime requests. That the police department had it’s rules on what a salaried employee is, and they don’t get no fucking overtime.

So in order for Kisor to win, they’d have to overrule that case, and  Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co., 325 U.S. 410 (1945).

They didn’t. Unanimous decision for Kisor, while not opting to overrule Auer or Bowles.

You can read about the case or hear oral arguments here.

Another well written explanation from Cato here.


Average Joe SCOTUS: Emulex Corp. v. Varjabedian

Tech company Emulex Corp. was about to merge with Avago Technologies Wireless Manufacturing. Typically, when a company does this, it notifies shareholders about the intention to do so, and tells them all the deets. They then get to vote accordingly.

Avago hired Goldman Sachs to review the deal and advise if it was a fair deal for shareholders. Goldman Sachs was like, “Hey, as deals go, it’s OK. They’re not totally fucking you in the ass or anything, but it ain’t great, either.”

So some shareholders decided to sue Emulex and Avago , believing they were some lying motherfuckers saying that they were all like, “this is a sweet deal” when in fact it was a shitty ass deal.

Lower courts had decided the case, and the ninth circuit had contradicted all the other lower courts which had reviewed.

Once SCOTUS heard all the arguments, they apparently were bored AF, and decided to say that the lower courts had been some lazy mother fuckers and not even properly considered whether the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 Section 14(e) even allows private entities to sue for this shit. So they sent it back, and went golfing. No decision.

Read about the case and hear oral arguments here.

Read about the arguments here