The Yale Law Journal Online: New Summary Judgment Essays

The Yale Law Journal Online has just published three essays on the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Douglas v. Independent Living Center of Southern California, Inc. , No. 09-958 (U.S. Feb. 22, 2012), (to be reported at 132 S. Ct. 1204). These essays are part of an ongoing series called “Summary Judgment,” featuring short commentaries on recent Supreme Court cases.

In Preemption as a Judicial End-Run Around the Administrative Process?, Catherine M. Sharkey uses Douglas to explore two important questions: first, “whether courts can act as ‘prompters,’ pushing federal agencies to discharge their duty to weigh in on potential conflicts between federal and state law”; and second, “whether a synergistic relationship can exist between courts and agencies in making such conflict determinations.” She finds that courts do engage in “agency-forcing” measures and that “Douglas only skims the surface of the potentially rich interface between the administrative process and preemption challenges.”

In Douglas and the Fate of Ex Parte Young, Stephen I. Vladeck examines Chief Justice Roberts’s sweeping dissent in Douglas to understand better the majority’s reasons for not deciding the question on which the Court granted certiorari. He concludes that Justice Kennedy may ultimately be sympathetic with the dissent’s approach but joined the majority to defer making the “momentous” decision to limit injunctive relief available to private plaintiffs under the Supremacy Clause.

Finally, in Medicaid Preemption Claims in Douglas Avert the Astra Abyss, Rochelle Bobroff discusses the relationship between Douglas and the Court’s little-noticed decision in Astra USA, Inc. v. Santa Clara County, 131 S. Ct. 1342 (2011). Both the majority and the dissent rely on this precedent, but they interpret it in strikingly different ways. Bobroff concludes that Douglas “does not prevent court access to enforce Medicaid, but the threat of the dissent’s interpretation of Astra still looms.”

Preferred citations:

Catherine M. Sharkey, Preemption as a Judicial End-Run Around the Administrative Process?, 122 YALE L.J. ONLINE 1 (2012),

Stephen I. Vladeck, Douglas and the Fate of Ex Parte Young, 122 YALE L.J. ONLINE 13 (2012),

Rochelle Bobroff, Medicaid Preemption Claims in Douglas Avert the Astra Abyss, 122 YALE L.J. ONLINE 19 (2012),

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