This week’s orders list is out.

The Allcat franchise-tax challenge has an argument date: October 24, 2011

Allcat Claims Service, L.P. and John Weakly v. Susan Combs, Comptroller of Public Accounts of the State of Texas, and Greg Abbott, Attorney General for the State of Texas, No. 11‑0589

This is the original proceeding challenging the Texas business-tax system. (Some articles about the case, and the initial briefs, are collected on this page.)

The Court will hear oral argument on Monday, October 24, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. That is the same week suggested by the Court’s previous briefing order in the case.

It is the only case on the argument calendar that day, and the Court is giving each side 30 minutes rather than the 20 minutes usually allotted to petitions.

Amicus argument permitted in a Jones Act (maritime injury) case

Weeks Marine, Inc. v. Maximino Garza, No. 10‑0435

The Court will be permitting a private amicus to participate in this oral argument. The case involves how to divide responsibility between an employee and the employer in a Jones Act maritime case. The specific question is about the “specific orders” doctrine, under which an employer is more responsible when they have limited the employee’s discretion.

The amicus (King Fisher Marine Services, L.P.) submitted an amicus brief advancing a different view of that doctrine than either party. The conclusion, however, is aligned with the employer. The Court’s order divides the argument so that the employer now has 15 minutes of time, the amicus 5 minutes, and the employee 20 minutes.