Urging the Justices to resolve the dispute over the use of school bathrooms by trangender students “once and for all,” today a Virginia school board asked the Supreme Court to examine a decision by a federal appeals court in favor of a transgender student who identifies as a boy and wants to be allowed to use the boys’ bathroom.  In June, a federal trial court ordered the school board to permit the student, “G.G.”, to use the boys’ bathrooms at Gloucester High School when school begins next month.  But the Supreme Court stepped in and put that ruling on hold, over the protests of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, to give the school board time to file a petition seeking review on the merits.  The board filed that petition today.  Continue reading »

Petition of the day

By on Aug 29, 2016 at 11:02 pm

The petition of the day is:


Issue: Whether the Multistate Tax Compact, a multistate agreement that addresses significant aspects of the state taxation of multistate businesses, has the status of a contract that binds its signatory States.

Monday round-up

By on Aug 29, 2016 at 10:34 am

Legal action related to transgender Americans and the likelihood that those disputes will end up at the Supreme Court continue to generate coverage. Cristian Farias of The Huffington Post reports on Texas’s lawsuit challenging the federal government’s recent instructions for schools on implementing transgender-inclusive policies, while at his eponymous blog Lyle Denniston reports on a ruling Friday by a federal judge in Winston-Salem blocking enforcement against three North Carolina residents challenging the state’s “bathroom bill” (H.B. 2) while the measure is tested in courts.


  • Jeff John Roberts of Fortune reports that Google has asked the Court to resolve a dispute over whether the Chrome browser infringes on someone else’s proprietary “web browser process,” a “nebulous phrase” the company would like the Court to define.
  • For the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association, Rory Little reviews the criminal cases from the Supreme Court’s past Term.
  • In an op-ed for Cleveland.com, Avidan Cover argues that there is a “Supreme Court Effect,” in which the “judiciary’s ongoing support for police officers’ unlimited discretion to stop and arrest people” emboldens officers to act aggressively while protecting them from civil and criminal liability for excessive force.
  • At his eponymous blog, Kenneth Jost compares contemporary class-action waivers, in which employers require by contract that employee disputes be resolved individually through arbitration, with “yellow dog” contracts, agreements declared illegal by Congress in 1932 in which employers required potential employees to promise not to join a union, on the grounds that both “similarly force workers to forgo a right seemingly guaranteed by federal labor law.”
  • For his Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen reports that, as a “precursor to asking for an emergency stay from the Supreme Court,” plaintiffs in Ohio have sought a stay from the Sixth Circuit of its recent ruling allowing Ohio to eliminate “Golden Week,” a week allowing early registration and voting for the November election.
Posted in Round-up

Petition of the day

By on Aug 26, 2016 at 11:11 pm

The petition of the day is:


Issue: (1) Whether the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act (“FEHBA”) preempts state laws that prevent carriers from seeking subrogation or reimbursement pursuant to their FEHBA contracts; and (2) whether FEHBA’s express-preemption provision, 5 U.S.C. § 8902(m)(1), which expressly “preempt[s] any State or local law” that would prevent enforcement of “the terms of any contract” between the Office of Personnel Management and a carrier which “relate to the nature, provision, or extent of coverage or benefits (including payments with respect to benefits)[,]” violates the Supremacy Clause.

Earlier this year, the Court threw out former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell’s conviction on federal corruption charges and sent the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  Both sides then asked the court of appeals to put the case on hold for thirty days.  The court of appeals agreed, instructing McDonnell and the federal government to “file a proposed briefing or a joint status report on or before August 29, 2016” – today.

In a filing today, the government and McDonnell’s lawyers asked the court to continue to keep the case on hold for three more weeks.  They explained that the two sides “have been conferring, and that process has progressed, but has not been completed in the Department of Justice.”  The filing also assured the court that the two sides would not ask to postpone proceedings in the case – suggesting that in three weeks we may know whether prosecutors intend to pursue charges against McDonnell (and his wife, Maureen) again.

Friday round-up

By on Aug 26, 2016 at 12:05 pm

Yesterday the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to leave in place a lower court ruling striking down North Carolina’s controversial election law, which included a requirement that voters provide a government-issued photo ID. Amy Howe covered the request for this blog, with other coverage coming from Lyle Denniston at his blog, Jessie Hellmann of The Hill, Pete Williams of NBC, and Rick Hasen at his Election Law Blog.

Continue reading »

Posted in Everything Else

Earlier this month, North Carolina asked the Justices to halt a lower-court ruling that blocked the implementation of its controversial 2013 election law – including provisions requiring voters to present a government-issued photo ID, reducing the number of days when voters can go to the polls before Election Day, and eliminating preregistration for young voters.  The state told the Court that, unless it is allowed to apply those three provisions to the November 2016 general elections, there would be “voter confusion” and “consequent incentive to remain away from the polls.”  Continue reading »

Event announcement

By on Aug 26, 2016 at 10:25 am

On Thursday, September 1, at 12:00 p.m., the DC Bar will host a seminar on Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Pauley, a Missouri church’s challenge to its exclusion from a state program that provides funding for rubber playground surfaces. Hannah Smith from The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Heather Weaver from the ACLU will serve as panelists, and this blog’s Amy Howe will moderate. More information and registration are available for the in-person presentation and the webinar.


Thursday round-up

By on Aug 25, 2016 at 7:45 am

Mark Sherman of the Associated Press (via PBS NewsHour) looks at the presidential candidates’ positions on Supreme Court nominees, while at Real Clear Politics William Bennett argues that – although there are “many good reasons” to support Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump – “nothing on the home front is more important than the Supreme Court.” Continue reading »

Posted in Round-up

Petition of the day

By on Aug 24, 2016 at 11:23 pm

The petition of the day is:


Issue: Whether 21 U.S.C. § 853(a)(1) mandates joint and several liability among co-conspirators for forfeiture of the reasonably foreseeable proceeds of a drug conspiracy.

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