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Supreme Court upholds federal regulation of national bank mortgage lending

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] handed down decisions in three cases Tuesday, including Watters v. Wachovia Bank [Duke Law case backgrounder; JURIST report], where the Court held that the National Bank Act [text] and regulations promulgated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency preempt state laws regulating mortgage lending by national banks and their operating subsidiaries, affirming the Sixth Circuit's decision [PDF text] in the case. Read the Court's opinion [text] per Justice Ginsburg, along with a dissent [text] from Justice Stevens. Justice Thomas did not participate in this case. AP has more.

In Global Crossing v. Metrophones [Duke Law case backgrounder], the Court held that Sections 201(b) and 207 [text] of the Communications Act [PDF text] create a private right of action allowing a provider of payphone services to sue a long distance carrier for allegedly violating regulations governing compensation for coinless payphone calls. Metrophones sued Global Crossing, a long distance carrier, arguing that Global Crossing violated Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations by failing to compensate Metrophones for coinless payphone calls, a practice determined by the FCC to be "unjust and unreasonable." The Court upheld the Ninth Circuit's decision [PDF text] in the case, which also held that that Metrophones could pursue the lawsuit. The Supreme Court determined that the FCC's "unreasonable practice" determination was lawful, and that the language of relevant Communications Act provisions allow a party injured by violations of Section 201(b) to bring a federal action for damages. Read the Court's opinion [text] per Justice Breyer, along with a dissent [text] from Justice Scalia and a second dissent [text] from Justice Thomas. AP has more.

Finally, in Zuni Public School District No. 89 v. Dept. of Education [Duke Law case backgrounder; JURIST report], the Court held that the US Department of Education properly applied an equalization public school funding formula in determining that New Mexico "equalized expenditures" for public school districts and could therefore offset federal Impact Aid [DOE backgrounder] funding by reducing state aid to individual school districts. The Court determined that the Department of Education is permitted by statute to refer to the the number of students in a school district as well as the amount of per-student expenditure in a school district when determining whether a state "equalizes expenditures" among public school districts. Read the Court's opinion [text] per Justice Breyer, along with a concurrence [text] from Justice Stevens, a second concurrence [text] from Justice Kennedy, a dissent [text] from Justice Scalia, and a second dissent [text] from Justice Souter.

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