Argument analysis: Is the government pushing a bridge too far regarding federal drug prosecutions?

Tuesday’s argument in McFadden v. United States was conducted at such a high level of abstraction that it is hard to know how it will translate into specifics in trial courts and real-world cases. What was clear is that the Court will reverse and remand, likely for a new trial based on clearer jury instructions regarding the requisite mens rea in federal drug cases. But it also seemed to be clear that the government is asking for a general rule far broader than the Court is likely to endorse. Ultimately this is a case where we have to wait for the opinion to know more precisely what proper jury instructions should specifically say.
Facts of this case and the jury instruction question they present
As previewed here, McFadden sold “bath salts” which (as Justice Antonin Scalia put it at

Original SCOTUS article

Opinion analysis: Clear statements, sovereign immunity, and timeliness

In United States v. Wong, decided together with United States v. June, the Court concluded, yet again, that a statute of limitations is a “claim-processing rule” and subject to equitable tolling, rather than a limit on the court’s adjudicative jurisdiction which allows for no tolling. But because these cases involved the Federal Tort Claims Act and waiver of federal sovereign immunity, it produced a five-to-four split, unusual for the Court’s recent, generally unanimous jurisdictionality jurisprudence.
Although June and Wong were not consolidated, the United States filed substantially identical briefs in both cases and everyone agreed that the same arguments applied in both and that the outcomes of both must necessarily be the same. At issue in Wong’s case was a wrongful imprisonment claim arising from her detention by the INS in 1999; she failed to file the claim

Original SCOTUS article

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