SCOTUS’s First American Financial Corp. v. Edwards Ruling: What’s the Holdup?

When Justice Elena Kagan announced a ruling in which she wrote the majority opinion yesterday, she quipped, “This is a case about sovereign immunity and prudential standing — maybe not what you’ve all come for today.”

It would seem obvious to even the most casual Supreme Court observer which still-pending case Justice Kagan was subtly referencing.

She meant, of course, First American Financial v. Edwards.

Ok, perhaps that’s not the case to which she alluded, but the two parties in interest, as well as the numerous entities which filed amicus briefs, have to be wondering what’s taking the Court so long on Edwards – 29 weeks and counting, the longest pending case left on the docket. The case sounds at first glance like a real snoozer – whether certain homebuyers can sue banks and title companies under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

But it may be end up being the sleeper of the 2011 term because Edwards addresses the critical, broad issue of whether a federal statute can confer on plaintiffs standing to sue where those plaintiffs are otherwise unable to establish “injury-in-fact” through traditional Article III standing analysis.

To learn more about Edwards, we suggest you take a few moments to read WLF’s four-page “On the Merits” publication where our own Chief Counsel, Richard Samp, writes the “majority opinion” reversing the Ninth Circuit, and Scott R. Bauries, an assistant professor of law at the University of Kentucky College of Law, writes the “dissent”.

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