Extra-record evidence and the Supreme Court

A couple of the Justices got a little bit exercised during the oral argument of City of Hays, Kansas v. Vogt, at the U.S. Supreme Court today.  Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Breyer had the following exchange in regard to Justice Breyer’s inquiry about extra-record evidence:


JUSTICE BREYER: And for that reason I’ve looked up whether you objected, because I do not see how the magistrate running the preliminary hearing can know what to do unless somebody tells him that these statements were taken in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

One, I don’t see where you ever did tell the magistrate that.

Two, looking at the transcript of the preliminary hearing, I couldn’t find any instance where any of the compelled statements were introduced into the preliminary hearing.

So what I would like you to do is to tell me what pages to look at in the preliminary transcript, which I have here, which will show that you did object or at least that some of the compelled statements were used?

MS. CORKRAN: So none of this is in the record and the reason it’s not -¬

JUSTICE BREYER: It may not be in the record –

MS. CORKRAN: Yeah. But I -¬

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: That’s an important point, isn’t it?


JUSTICE BREYER: Of course it’s an important point.


MS. CORKRAN: But the -¬

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Well, before we start having an extended exchange about material and something that’s not in the record, I — well, I guess I would just like to point out that it’s not in the record. There’s a reason we confine things to what’s in the record, including how do we know what this is if it’s not in the record.

MS. CORKRAN: But the —

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS:  How do we know that it’s been adequately — had a chance for people to object to it and all that?  It’s — it’s not just a passing comment that it’s not in the record.

JUSTICE BREYER: Nor is actually mine a passing comment because Article III of the Constitution says we are to take real cases and controversies. And to decide a major matter where, in fact, going from what is in the record to an earlier stage of this and discovering if it’s true, that there was no instance about which you are complaining, in my mind raises the question as to whether this is, in fact, an appropriate case or controversy for the Court to take.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: And we’re supposed to decide whether the cases are controversies according to law. And as far as I’m concerned coming in and saying I want to know about this thing that’s not in the record is no different from somebody else coming off the street and saying: Hey, wait a minute, I know what happened in this case.

So, go ahead and answer it.


CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: It’s a question that you’ve been presented with. Go ahead and answer it.

JUSTICE BREYER: You don’t have to answer it.


CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: No, no, feel free. I’m just saying I will discount the answers because it’s not something that’s in the record.


You can listen to the audio here:


See this earlier post about whether the Federal Circuit has equitable power to consult extra-record evidence: [Link]. 

Query:  Should a Brandeis Brief be considered extra-record evidence?

Query:  Did the Supreme Court rely on extra-record evidence in its assertion of a purported abstract idea in Alice v. CLS?

On their face, the claims before us are drawn to the concept of intermediated settlement, i.e., the use of a third party to mitigate settlement risk. Like the risk hedging in Bilski, the concept of intermediated settlement is “`a fundamental economic practice long prevalent in our system of commerce.'” Ibid.; see, e.g.,Emery, Speculation on the Stock and Produce Exchanges of the United States, in 7 Studies in History, Economics and Public Law 283, 346-356 (1896) (discussing the use of a “clearing-house” as an intermediary to reduce settlement risk). The use of a third-party intermediary (or “clearing house”) is also a building block of the modern economy. See, e.g., Yadav, The Problematic Case of Clearinghouses in Complex Markets, 101 Geo. L.J. 387, 406-412 (2013); J. Hull, Risk Management and Financial Institutions 103-104 (3d ed. 2012). Thus, intermediated settlement, like hedging, is an “abstract idea” beyond the scope of § 101.

Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Intern., 134 S. Ct. 2347, 2356 (2014).

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