Election, jury selection, and capital distribution

It’s New Hampshire Presidential Primary Morning, and two precincts have already tallied their votes, with Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain coming out on top, according to CNN. Since those hamlet towns constitute only one-tenth of an iota of New Hampshire’s population, I don’t think either senator is popping the bubbly just yet.

As the candidates stump in the Granite State, back in Washington the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases:

In the first, at 10 a.m., the justices will consider whether a federal criminal defendant’s counsel’s oral consent to have a United States magistrate judge preside over jury selection is binding on the defendant when the record does not reflect the defendant’s own knowing and voluntary waiver of his constitutional right to have an Article III judge preside over jury selection. (Gonzales v. U.S., 06-11612)

In the second, which starts at about 11 a.m., the Court will ponder whether the return of capital rule applies automatically when a company without earnings or profits distributes money to a shareholder, or must the taxpayer produce contemporaneous evidence that the money was treated as a return of capital when distributed. (Boulware v. United States, 06-1509).

 UPDATE: The Court today also issued a dicision in John R. Sand & Gravel v. U.S., holding that in Court of Federal Claims actions, claims of timeliness under the court’s statute of limitations must be considered sua sponte regardless of whether a party waives the issue. Read the opinion on the Court’s website here. [PDF file].

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