The Volokh Conspiracy

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South Texas College of Law SCOTUS Clinic Bests Yale Law School SCOTUS Clinic

In Houston Community College v. Wilson, Justice Gorsuch's unanimous decision faulted respondent for failing to file a cross petition.


On Thursday, the Supreme Court decided Houston Community College v. Wilson.  I'll take a point of personal privilege to highlight that the Petitioner was represented by Rick Morris, an alum of the South Texas College of Law Houston. And throughout the case, Rick worked closely with students at the South Texas College of Law Houston to prepare. Their work led to a unanimous majority opinion by Justice Gorsuch.

I am very, very proud of our students.

Respondent, on the other hand, was represented by McDermott Will & Emery and the Yale Law School Supreme Court Clinic. And Justice Gorsuch faulted Respondent for not filing a cross-petition:

But as merits briefing unfolded, Mr. Wilson did not just seek to defend the Fifth Circuit's judgment; he also sought to challenge it in part. Specifically, he argued that the Fifth Circuit erred to the extent that it upheld the Board's nonverbal punishments as consistent with the First Amendment. Generally, however, when a respondent in this Court seeks to alter a lower court's judgment, he must file and we must grant a cross-petition for review. See Genesis HealthCare Corp. v. Symczyk, 569 U. S. 66, 72 (2013). Mr. Wilson filed no such petition in this case. As a result, we decline to take up his challenge to the Fifth Circuit's judgment, and the only question before us remains the narrow one on which we granted certiorari: Does Mr. Wilson possess an actionable First Amendment claim arising from the Board's purely verbal censure?


At least in this case, a well-respected Houston law firm and the South Texas College of Law Houston bested a global law firm and Yale Law School. We'll take the victory. Rick now joins the ranks of other South Texas alum who argued at the Supreme Court, including Lynne Liberato.