Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Company LLC v. Owens - Oral Argument - October 07, 2014

Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Company LLC v. Owens

Media for Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Company LLC v. Owens

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - December 15, 2014 in Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Company LLC v. Owens

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 07, 2014 in Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Company LLC v. Owens

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

We'll hear argument next in Case 13-719, Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Company v. Owens.

Mr. Berreth.

Nowell D. Berreth:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

In Section 1446(a) Congress established a pleading standard for the notice of removal, not a demand for proof.

The plain language in Section 1446(a) tells us this.

The plain language of Section 1446(a) provides that a notice of removal shall contain a short and plain statement of the grounds for removal.

And that mirrors language that has been used in Rule 8 for more than 80 years and that has never been held to require evidence with the complaint.

Antonin Scalia:

Well, how do we know that the reason the court of appeals did -- did not -- or sustained the refusal to take it, how do we know that the reason was that they disagree with you on what the standard -- what the court of appeals' reason was?

How can we--

Nowell D. Berreth:

Well, we know that the court of appeals let stand a district court decision.

Antonin Scalia:

--Right, and so your -- your -- your job is to argue that that was an abuse of discretion, because the statute says that they may, right?

They may--

Nowell D. Berreth:

Well, an abuse of discretion -- an abuse of discretion is not necessary to be shown here.

It can be shown here, because what the circuit court did here was let stand a decision that did many things.

And it's an unusual situation in the law, Justice Scalia.

It let stand a decision of the district court that flouted the plain language of the statute.

Anthony M. Kennedy:

Is it always an abuse of discretion for the court of appeals to let an erroneous decision stand?

Nowell D. Berreth:

Not necessarily always.

In a case like this, however, when the decision that was let -- let to stand flouted the plain language of the statute, is a situation where if it's not corrected by this Court, it may never be corrected.

And what the -- the problem that will never be corrected is this lack of uniformity among the circuits on a matter that's so clearly established by Congress.

Congress does not require there to be evidence in a notice of removal.

And defendants in Florida or defendants in California don't have to include evidence within 30 days in their notice of removal.

Defendants in the six States at issue in this case do.

They are treated differently.

Elena Kagan:

Well, that seems a little extreme to say it may never be corrected.

I mean, this was a decision that was made by eight judges.

There are now twelve judges.

Maybe the additional four will make a difference.

Maybe even those eight will think twice about it the next time around.

I mean, in fact we just don't know, right, because we don't know why they acted the way they acted.