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Friday round-up

Coverage focuses on the three opinions that the Court issued yesterday: Descamps v. United States, in which the Court made it harder for the federal government to use the fact of a prior criminal conviction to increase a criminal sentence; American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, in which the Court held that retailers would need to arbitrate their claims individually, rather than as a class action, to resolve disputes with American Express; and Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society, in which the Court held that the government cannot require aid organizations to explicitly oppose prostitution and sex trafficking to receive federal funding for HIV/AIDS programs overseas. Writing for this blog yesterday, Kali Borkoski and Dan Stein collected early news items.

At NPR, Nina Totenberg reports on both Agency for International Development and American Express Co. Also covering Agency for International Development, Ilya Shapiro contends at Cato @ Liberty that the case gave the Court “an opportunity to make a very simple point: The federal government can’t force its contractors — whether they’re corporations (as in this case) or individuals — to promote policies that are unrelated to the program for which they receive federal funds.” More reporting comes from Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal, in an expanded version of a story that Dan included yesterday, Richard Wolf of USA Today, Chris Geidner of BuzzFeed, Ruthann Robson at the Constitutional Law Prof Blog, Bill Mears of CNN, Jaclyn Belczyk of JURIST, and Howard Wasserman at PrawfsBlawg.

Also at JURIST, Jaclyn Belczyk reports on American Express Co. Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart has a write-up of the decision, as does Walter Olson at Overlawyered, in an expanded take on an earlier post he wrote for Cato @ Liberty. At ACSblog, Jeremy Leaming argues that the decision represents “another blow to individuals hoping to band together to hold corporations accountable for malfeasance.” Russ Bleemer has two different posts for CPR: International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution — a broad overview of the decision and another focused on Justice Kagan’s dissent. And Liz Kramer weighs in for Arbitration Nation.

At this blog, Daniel Richman analyzes the decision in Descamps, which Jaclyn Belczyk also covers at JURIST. And at PrawfsBlawg, Will Baude applauds the decision in Descamps.


  • Bill Mears and Paul Steinhauser of CNN report on a new poll which indicates that “Americans are split on whether the high court is doing a good job.”
  • At PrawfsBlawg, Will Baude discusses Monday’s decisions and then continues last week’s discussion of Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. (the gene-patenting case) in a separate post, with a look at Justice Scalia’s concurrence. In another post, he considers Justice Thomas’s suggestion that the Court’s decision in Griffin v. California should be overruled.
  • Jeremy P. Jacobs of Greenwire reports on two environmental cases on today’s Conference.
  • At Colorlines, Brentin Mock discusses what effect, if any, Monday’s decision in Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (holding that federal law trumps Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship requirement for would-be voters) might have on Shelby County v. Holder, the challenge to the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Steven Mazie of Big Think discusses how Justice Kennedy might vote in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the challenge to the University of Texas’s use of race in its undergraduate admissions process.
  • And at this blog, Kedar Bhatia lists the eleven remaining merits cases of this Term.

Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, represented the American Association of Law Schools as an amicus in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin and were among the counsel to Representative F. James Sensenbrenner et al., who filed an amicus brief in support of the respondent in Shelby County v. Holder. Goldstein & Russell, P.C., is among the counsel to the NACDL as amicus curiae in Descamps.

If you have (or know of) a recent article or post that you would like to have included in the round-up, please send a link to roundup [at] so that we can consider it.

Recommended Citation: Allison Trzop, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 21, 2013, 10:28 AM),