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Thursday round-up

In her column for The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse discusses the background to, and issues in, Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, in which the Court granted review to consider a challenge to an Oklahoma law that regulates how doctors may prescribe drugs for use in terminating a pregnancy.  Shortly after granting cert. in the case in June, the Court asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to weigh in on how to interpret the law; Greenhouse suggests that, if the Court does eventually review the case on the merits, “[w]ith Justice O’Connor replaced by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., there may no longer be a majority on the court to strike down any burden on access to abortion, even one that is obviously and purposefully ‘undue.’”

In her column for Reuters, Alison Frankel discusses what she describes as “the next big privacy issue,” presented in Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie – two cases that ask the Court to review the constitutionality of a warrantless search of the digital contents of a cell phone.  Frankel concludes that, although it “seems inevitable that the Supreme Court will eventually have to decide the question, . . . first the justices will have to figure out whether Riley’s case or the Justice Department’s (or both) is the best vehicle to clarify the law.”

At Cato at Liberty, Ilya Shapiro weighs in on Mount Holly v. Mount Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, in which the Court will consider whether disparate impact claims are available under the Fair Housing Act.  Shapiro – who is among the counsel on an amicus brief in the case – contends that, “[f]or following the law as it was written and attempting to improve a blighted neighborhood without resorting to eminent domain abuse, Mount Holly was rewarded with a decade’s worth of vexatious litigation — which the Supreme Court should now end once and for all.”

In observance of the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington, a PBS documentary looks at the impact of the Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which invalidated the provision of the Voting Rights Act used to determine which states and local governments are subject to the preapproval requirement found in Section 5 of the Act.  In the documentary, filmmaker Shukree Tilghman interviews Edward Blum, the “Supreme Court matchmaker” who recruited Shelby County to file the lawsuit, Representative John Lewis, and Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

And at ISCOTUS, Allison Bernstein summarizes some of the issues and arguments in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, in which the Court will consider whether Michigan can amend its constitution to prohibit the use of affirmative action at its public universities.

[Disclosure:  Kevin Russell of Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioner in Riley.  He was also among the counsel on an amicus brief in support of the respondents in Shelby County.  However, the author of this post is not affiliated with the firm.]

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Sep. 5, 2013, 7:42 AM),