Friday round-up

Yesterday the Supreme Court added 11 cases to its docket for the upcoming term, for a total of nine hours of oral argument. Amy Howe has this blog’s coverage, which first appeared at Howe on the Court. For The New York Times, Adam Liptak reports that one of the grants, in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, in which “the court will consider whether public-sector unions may require workers who are not members to help pay for collective bargaining,” “could deal a crushing blow to organized labor.” Additional coverage of the grant in Janus comes from Richard Wolf for USA Today, Lawrence Hurley at Reuters, Greg Stohr at Bloomberg, David Savage for the Los Angeles Times, Ariane de Vogue at CNN, Marcia Coyle for The National Law Journal, Jess Bravin for The Wall Street Journal, and Mark Walsh at Education Week’s School Law blog. Commentary comes from Brian Miller at Forbes, who calls the grant “good news for public employees who have been fighting for years for the right to decide for themselves whether or not to support a union,” Mark Joseph Stern at Slate, Ross Runkel at his eponymous blog, and Steven Schwinn at the Constitutional Law Prof Blog, who observes that a ruling against the union in this case will “mark the end of fair share and the likely demise of public sector unions.”

In The Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin reports that “Justice Neil Gorsuch waded into partisan controversy on the eve of his first full Supreme Court term, appearing Thursday at the Trump International Hotel to congratulate a conservative group on its 50th anniversary.” Additional coverage comes from Greg Stohr at Bloomberg, Adam Liptak for The New York Times, Josh Gerstein at Politico, Andrew Chung at Reuters, Ariane de Vogue at CNN, and Richard Wolf for USA Today, who reports that “Gorsuch’s willingness to speak at Trump International Hotel sparked objections from some ethics experts but support from others, reflecting the diversity of opinion he said should be celebrated.” In an op-ed for USA Today, Gabe Roth maintains that Gorsuch’s chosen forum exemplified the regrettable tendency of the justices to “stick to U.S. audiences whose ideologies closely follow their own,” and urges “the one supposedly apolitical branch [to] branch[] out and address[] the unexpected.”

At Bloomberg, Greg Stohr highlights the marquee cases on the Supreme Court term that begins on Monday, which “is full of ideologically divisive cases that could turn on a single vote.” Previews of October Term 2017 also come from David Savage for the Los Angeles Times, from Steven Mazie in The Economist, and in a livestream from the Counting to 5 podcast at 11:00 a.m. EDT today.

At the Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen lines up the reasons why Justice Anthony Kennedy might take one side or the other in partisan-gerrymandering case Gill v. Whitford, concluding that “the reporting [after next Tuesday’s oral argument] will tell us that he asked tough questions of both sides and seemed to be struggling, leaving us all to guess what will happen until the Spring.” Also at the Election Law Blog, Nicholas Stephanopolous highlights several articles that are relevant to key issues in Whitford in a series of posts, here, here, here and here. In an op-ed for the Sacramento Bee, Erwin Chemerinsky points out that “[p]artisan gerrymandering – where the political party controlling the legislature draws election districts to maximize seats for that party – is nothing new,” but that “what has changed are the sophisticated computer programs that make partisan gerrymandering far more effective than ever before.”

At Yahoo Finance, Roger Parloff observes that “[a]s unions have lost strength in the country, class actions have gained importance as a key means of vindicating employee rights,” so if “employers win a simple way to knock that weapon out of workers’ hands” by prevailing in Epic Systems v. Lewis, in which the court will decide whether labor laws forbid class-action waivers in employment contracts, “that will be a big deal.” Commentary on Epic Systems comes from Daniel Hemel at Slate, who argues that if the court rules for the employers, “the affected workers will—as a practical matter—find it nearly impossible to win back pay in cases involving wage law violations.”

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