Earlier this week the Court heard oral arguments in Puerto Rico v. Sanchez Valle, in which the Justices are considering whether Puerto Rico and the United States are separate sovereigns for purposes of the Double Jeopardy Clause. Coverage comes from Sam Baker of National Journal, who reports that Puerto Rico’s “unique and un­usu­al re­la­tion­ship with the U.S. flum­moxed the Su­preme Court on Wed­nes­day as it tried to de­term­ine wheth­er fed­er­al law and Pu­erto Ric­an law can, or should, co­ex­ist.” More commentary comes from Noah Feldman of Bloomberg View, who contends that, in “the modern era, we should recognize the inherent authority of Puerto Ricans to self-govern,” including by passing laws; and from Mark Joseph Stern, who at Slate concludes that the Court “likely can’t force the government to recognize Puerto Rico as the de facto state it is becoming. But it can help make the territory a little more equal.”

More commentary on Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the union fees case in which the Court heard oral arguments on Monday, comes in a podcast from the National Constitution Center, featuring Catherine Fisk and David Forte, and from Damon Root, who discusses stare decisis issues at Reason.com.


  • At PrawfsBlawg, Richard Re discusses Justice Clarence Thomas’s dissent from the denial of certiorari in a recent Second Amendment case and the question whether “lower courts have some authority to narrow Supreme Court precedent.”
  • In The Atlantic, Lawrence Norden discusses the Court and its campaign finance cases, concluding that “it is no exaggeration to say that the next appointments to the Supreme Court will have a profound impact on political power in the United States.”
  • At ACSblog, John Paul Schnapper-Casteras discusses the Chief Justice’s annual report on the federal judiciary and why his “invocation of dueling to discuss civil procedure rule changes,” although “tongue-in-cheek,” is nonetheless “particularly ill-fitting.”

Posted in Round-up

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 15, 2016, 9:51 AM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/01/friday-round-up-302/