In an interview with Bloomberg BNA, Professor Steven Schwinn predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to remand rather than rule on a case about administrative remedies under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. The court originally granted certiorari in Ross v. Blake, No. 15-339, to determine whether a circuit court could create a special circumstances exception under the Prison Litigation Reform Act for an inmate who thought he had exhausted his administrative remedies before filing a civil claim, but did not actually comply . New documents lodged with the court the day oral arguments raised a question as to whether the state of Maryland’s guidance to inmates was so confusing that the state effectively failed to provide any remedy at all.
“My guess is that the justices would split along their feelings on how available the federal courts should be,” Schwinn said. “Progressives seem to be favoring access. The conservatives didn’t ask many questions, but that seems to assume they’re not going to look for opportunities to find exceptions to the PLRA.”