Court-related news and commentary focus on the tenure of Chief Justice John Roberts, who took his seat on the Court ten years ago today. In the ABA Journal, Mark Walsh looks back at the Chief Justice’s tenure thus far and concludes that he is taking “the long view,” while Richard Wolf of USA Today describes the Roberts Court as “[l]eaning right on guns but left on gays, right on race and religion but left on health care reform.” And Lisa Soronen of the State and Local Legal Center looks at the Roberts Court from the perspective of state and local governments. Continue reading »
The petition of the day is:
Issue: (1) Whether a state official’s demand for all significant donors to a nonprofit organization, as a precondition to engaging in constitutionally-protected speech, constitutes a First Amendment injury; and (2) whether the “exacting scrutiny” standard applied in compelled disclosure cases permits state officials to demand donor information based upon generalized “law enforcement” interests, without making any specific showing of need.
The Supreme Court on Monday afternoon told lawyers involved in a new case on the constitutionality of a congressional election district in Virginia to file new briefs on whether the case can go forward in the Court. In a one-paragraph order issued along with two other procedural orders after the first Conference in advance of the new Term, the Court questioned whether current and former members of the House had a legal right to pursue their appeal. The Court has not yet agreed to hear the case, but it is in a form that would require the Court to act on it if it were properly filed..
At the core of the case of Wittman v. Personhuballah is whether a sprawling District 3 was designed unconstitutionally because of the role that race played in drawing its boundaries. The only House district in Virginia with a majority of minority population, it starts north of Richmond and skips various cities on its way southward into the area around Norfolk and Newport News. It is now represented by a black Democrat, Rep. Bobby Scott. Its form has been described as resembling a “grasping claw.”
The first Monday in October will bring the Justices a refreshing gem of a case in Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore. Herein nothing of same-sex marriage, capital punishment, affirmative action, or the like. Rather, as simple and straightforward a question of statutory interpretation as a fresh-from-the-court-of-appeals clerk could desire.
- In the Los Angeles Times, David Savage reports that Chief Justice John Roberts “finds himself in the crosshairs of right-leaning pundits and GOP presidential hopefuls who brand him a disappointment and openly question his conservative credentials because of the one case of the six in which he voted with the court’s liberals.”
- In an op-ed for The New York Times, Jeffrey Fisher argues that the Court should make public the Justices’ votes on cert. petitions; given the Court’s “significant role in shaping so much of our national policy,” he suggests, “it does not seem too much to ask to know which justices are putting which issues on the court’s docket.”
- In the ABA Journal, Debra Cassens Weiss reports on recent remarks by Justice Antonin Scalia suggesting that he “‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the death penalty.”
- The Georgetown University Law Center hosted a preview (video) of the upcoming Term, focusing on seven of the major cases that are or could be on the Court’s docket.
- At Jost on Justice, Kenneth Jost discusses the resistance by public officials to the Court’s June decision striking down state bans on same-sex marriage, and he argues that the “discord they have stirred up shows once again the wisdom of trying to keep religion and politics, church and state, apart.”
If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at] scotusblog.com.
On September 30, UC Hastings will host a panel discussion on the upcoming Supreme Court Term. Speakers will include Judge Consuelo Maria Callahan of the Ninth Circuit, Tom Gede of Morgan Lewis, and Elizabeth Hillman and Rory Little of UC Hastings. More details about the event are available on the law school website.
The petition of the day is:
Issue: Whether the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Federal Government are separate sovereigns for purposes of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States Constitution.
A Guantanamo Bay war crimes case that has seemed destined for the Supreme Court throughout the seven years since a terrorism propagandist was convicted will be expanded as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit examines the prosecution all over again. By a majority vote among ten judges who took part, the court of appeals granted the Obama administration’s request for en banc review of the case against Yemeni national Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al Bahlul. That action is likely only to delay the case reaching the Supreme Court.
Al Bahlul’s case centers on whether the military commissions set up at Guantanamo Bay have the power to try foreign nationals on a charge of criminal conspiracy, without a completed terrorist crime. Because that kind of conspiracy charge has been a favorite of Guantanamo prosecutors, the ultimate outcome of the al Bahlul prosecution may have an impact on other cases at the U.S. naval and military base in Cuba.
In its “Long Conference” of September 28, 2015, the Court will consider petitions seeking review of issues such as whether the standard for liability under a gifting theory should be changed; whether the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) applies outside U.S. borders; and whether the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. federal government are separate sovereigns for purposes of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States Constitution.
This edition of “Petitions to watch” features petitions raising issues that Tom has determined to have a reasonable chance of being granted, although we post them here without consideration of whether they present appropriate vehicles in which to decide those issues. Our policy is to include and disclose all cases in which Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, represents either a party or an amicus in the case, with the exception of the rare cases in which Goldstein & Russell represents the respondent(s) but does not appear on the briefs in the case.
Pope Francis’s visit to the United States once again dominates Court-related news. In the Legal Times (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro reports that the pope “made an unscheduled visit Wednesday night to the Little Sisters of the Poor with the aim of showing support for the group’s battle against the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate before the U.S. Supreme Court.” And Amy Sullivan of Yahoo! News discusses the absence of three of the Court’s Catholic Justices – Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas – from the pope’s address to Congress yesterday.
At The Huffington Post, Cristian Farias discusses a recent speech by Justice Antonin Scalia at Rhodes College, suggesting that the speech “seemed to signal that his dismay over gay marriage continues.” And Bloomberg BNA’s Kimberly Robinson talks to Roberta Kaplan, who represented Edie Windsor in her “historic U.S. Supreme Court win” striking “down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.” Continue reading »