Friday morning docket: another preemption case on tap

There will be little activity under the Capitol dome on this icy Washington day, as the Senate meets in only a pro forma session, and the House is out.

Today the justices of the Supreme Court are meeting in private conference (there may or may not be some orders released – we’ll let you know). UPDATE: Today’s only order involved the filing schedule in the government’s new appeal regarding Guantanamo detainees. More here from SCOTUSBlog.

But oral arguments resume next week at the Court, starting with the case Cuellar v. United States, No. 06-1456, where the Court will consider whether a federal money laundering statute requires proof that a defendant was trying to pass off dirty money as legitimate wealth.

Then, in Warner-Lambert Co. v. Kent, No. 06-1498, the justices will hear arguments in yet another case dealing with federal preemption, – this time considering whether plaintiffs may bring state law tort claims against a drug maker, claiming that the company made fraudulent representations to the FDA, or does federal law preempt such claims.

On Tuesday, the Court will hear arguments in Allison Engine Co. v. Sanders, No. 07-214, which asks whether a whistleblower must prove that a company made an actual false representation to the government to bring an action under the False Claims Act.

Then on Wednesday’s special extended 90-minute argument in the case Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker, No. 07-219, the Court considers whether a judge can award punitive damages under maritime law in the case arising out of the 1989 oil tanker spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound.

Meanwhile,

President Bush didn’t even wait to get off of the plane from his return trip from Africa to give the tumbs down to congressional Democrats’ proposed wiretap bill compromise. (AFP)

Sens. Kerry, Biden and Hagel were unharmed in an emergency helicopter landing in the mountains of Afghanistan. (AP)

The House will vote on the energy bill next week. (Reuters)

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