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There is a possibility of opinions on Thursday at 10 a.m. We will begin live-blogging at 9 a.m. at this link, where readers can also sign up for an email reminder when we start the live blog.
Our statistics page presents the data on each sitting – the cases (14 remain undecided) and the majority-opinion authors.

Briefly Mentioned :

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Justice Elena Kagan has called for a response in the sanctuary-cities case from Chicago to the federal government’s request that the Supreme Court limit the reach of a nationwide injunction barring the government from imposing conditions on federal grants for police.

[Note: This post was originally published at 1:40 p.m.]

Last summer, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called Gill v. Whitford, a partisan-gerrymandering challenge to the state legislative maps drawn by Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature, one of the most important cases of the term. The court heard oral argument in the case in October; two months later, it agreed to take on Benisek v. Lamone, a partisan-gerrymandering challenge to a single federal congressional district drawn by Democratic officials in Maryland. With those two cases on their docket, there were high hopes that the justices would finally weigh in definitively on challenges to the practice of purposely drawing maps to favor one party at the expense of another – either by holding that courts should steer clear of such claims or by laying out standards for courts to use in evaluating them. But the justices did neither. Instead, they sent the Wisconsin case back to the lower court for a new look at whether the challengers in the case have the legal right to bring their challenge at all; they also declined, while saying nothing about the merits, to disturb a ruling by a federal court in Maryland that left the congressional map in place for the 2018 election.

Chief Justice Roberts announces opinion in Gill v. Whitford (Art Lien)

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Extreme heat has descended on Washington, and outside the Supreme Court building there is a long line of tourists and others seeking seats to the courtroom, or perhaps just entry into the building and its hearty air conditioning.

Earlier this morning, a friend spotted Justice Neil Gorsuch arriving for work and being let out of an SUV in the company of a small dog. The justice and the dog got out in front of the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building on First Street Northeast, evidently to allow for a short “constitutional” walk to the court building.

Chief Justice Roberts announces opinions in two partisan-gerrymandering cases (Art Lien)

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This morning the Supreme Court issued orders from the justices’ private conference last week. The justices added five new cases to their merits docket for next term, and they called for the views of the U.S. solicitor general in a challenge to California’s ban on foie gras, but they did not act on Arlene’s Flowers v. Washington, the case of a florist who argues that requiring her to create custom floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding would violate her religious beliefs.

The justices agreed to review a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in an important antitrust case against computer giant Apple. The plaintiffs in the case, purchasers of iPhones and iPhone apps, argue that Apple monopolized the market for the apps by requiring app developers to sell their apps exclusively to Apple’s App Store and then charging those developers a 30-percent commission on each sale. The iPhone users contend that, as a result, they paid more for the apps than if they had bought them elsewhere, and they asked a federal court in California to award them, under federal antitrust law, three times the amount that Apple allegedly overcharged them.

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We live-blogged as the Supreme Court released orders from the June 14 conference and opinions in argued cases.

The justices granted certiorari in five cases: Sturgeon v. FrostGarza v. IdahoLorenzo v. SECTimbs v. Indiana and Apple v. Pepper.

The justices released their decisions in Rosales-Mireles v. United StatesChavez-Meza v. United StatesLozman v. Riviera BeachGill v. Whitford and Benisek v. Lamone.

Dan Epps and Ian Samuel of First Mondays guest-blogged from 9 to 9:30 a.m.

The transcript of the live blog is available below and at this link.


Posted in Live

OT2017 #29: “Average Joe”

By on Jun 18, 2018 at 8:44 am

Live from New York, it’s First Mondays! Many thanks to Shearman & Sterling for hosting us.

We have some more opinions as the Supreme Court attempts to finish OT2017 on time. First, we’ll discuss #KaganStyle in Sveen v. Melin, along with what the decision means for a certain advocate’s win-loss record. We’ll also talk about why registering to vote shouldn’t be so difficult, what happens when an eight-member court is equally divided, how to keep things chill at the polls, and which version of the dictionary is the best version.

Monday round-up

By on Jun 18, 2018 at 7:02 am

Last week the justices released their annual financial disclosure reports; Amy Howe has this blog’s coverage, which first appeared at Howe on the Court. At The Daily Caller, Kevin Daley reports that the disclosures reflect that “[s]tock-holding justices of the U.S. Supreme Court are continuing a gradual sell-off of their shares.”

For the Tribune News Service (via Governing), Erin Golden reports that in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, the court last week “struck down a Minnesota law that prohibits people from wearing political clothing or buttons at polling places, calling the ban overly broad but leaving room for the state to impose narrower restrictions.” In an op-ed for The Hill, Wen Fa hails the decision as “a strike against laws giving government officials too much discretion to censor viewpoints they don’t like.”

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This week at the court

By on Jun 17, 2018 at 12:00 pm

On Monday the Supreme Court released orders from the June 14 conference and opinions in argued cases.

The justices granted certiorari in five cases: Sturgeon v. Frost, Garza v. Idaho, Lorenzo v. SEC, Timbs v. Indiana and Apple v. Pepper.

The justices released their decisions in Rosales-Mireles v. United States, Chavez-Meza v. United States, Lozman v. Riviera Beach, Gill v. Whitford and Benisek v. Lamone.

On Thursday, there is a possibility of opinions at 10 a.m. The justices will meet for their June 21 conference; our list of “petitions to watch” for that conference will be available soon.


Petitions of the day

By on Jun 15, 2018 at 6:00 pm

The petitions of the day are:


Issue: Whether the prohibition in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1), against employment discrimination “because of . . . sex” encompasses discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation.


Issue: Whether discrimination against an employee because of sexual orientation constitutes prohibited employment discrimination “because of . . . sex” within the meaning of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2.

Yesterday the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts released the 2017 financial disclosure reports for the justices of the Supreme Court. The reports are relatively opaque – they indicate the value of investments only in a wide range, for example – and do not include the value of the real estate in which the justices make their homes. But they nonetheless shed light on the justices’ investment holdings (including potential conflicts of interest) and travel, their work outside the court, and even the gifts that they receive.

Here are a few highlights from the reports:

  • Some justices received income from books that they have written (or plan to write). Justice Neil Gorsuch reported just over $9,000 in royalties for his book, “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia” – not bad for an academic book, much less one published nine years ago. (Interest in the book no doubt increased after Gorsuch’s nomination and confirmation last year, as court watchers (including me) purchased the book to try to glean a hint of Gorsuch’s views on assisted suicide and, perhaps, abortion.) But Gorsuch’s income from royalties was dwarfed by that of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who received over $110,000 that she described as “advances against royalties for two books.”
  • Justice Stephen Breyer had perhaps the most interesting side job, as a juror for the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. Other justices taught law school, served on the board of trustees for Colonial Williamsburg (Justice Anthony Kennedy), and served as a governing director of iCivics (Sotomayor), the civics-education group founded by retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
  • Breyer’s service as a juror for the Pritzker took him to Mexico City and Lima, Peru. Here too, though, Sotomayor has the advantage in the “most exotic travel” category: She went to Arusha, Tanzania, with the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative.
  • They own a lot of stocks, bonds and rental properties. In case you were wondering, Chief Justice John Roberts still owns one-eighth of a cottage in Knocklong, County Limerick, Ireland; no word on whether it’s available for vacationers on Airbnb.
  • They don’t have a lot of debt. The only justice to report a liability was Sotomayor: a mortgage (in the $250,000 to $500,000 range) on her rental property in New York, which is valued at between $1 million and $5 million.
  • Roberts was the only justice to report a gift: an inscribed football helmet, valued at $579, from federal judges in Mississippi.
  • Kennedy, who has spent 43 years as a federal judge (on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit beginning in 1975 and on the Supreme Court since 1988) seemingly has the simplest investment portfolio of any of the justices: His report indicates that he has cash in a bank account and three whole-life-insurance policies.

This post was originally published at Howe on the Court.


Friday round-up

By on Jun 15, 2018 at 7:30 am

Yesterday the Supreme Court issued opinions in two cases. Mark Walsh has a “view” from the courtroom for this blog. In Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, the justices held 7-2 that a Minnesota law banning political apparel at polling places is facially overbroad under the First Amendment. Amy Howe has this blog’s opinion analysis. Subscript provides a graphic explainer for the decision. At Good Judgment, Ryan Adler remarks that “this was not the crowd’s best day” for forecasting the result. For USA Today, Richard Wolf reports that the “decision struck down a century-old Minnesota law that was challenged by a voter temporarily turned away for wearing a Tea Party shirt and a ‘Please I.D. Me’ button.” For The Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin and Brent Kendall report that the justices held “that Minnesota went too far in banning all political buttons and apparel at polling stations, but said more limited electioneering restrictions most other states enforce are acceptable.” Additional coverage comes from Bill Mears at Fox News, Kevin Daley at The Daily Caller, Mark Walsh at Education Week’s School Law Blog, Pete Williams at NBC News, Andrew Chung at Reuters, Josh Gerstein at Politico, Adam Liptak for The New York Times, and Robert Barnes for The Washington Post.

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