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Wednesday round-up

A snowstorm may have shut down the federal government yesterday, but it was business as usual at the Court, where the Justices heard oral arguments in three cases.  Most of the coverage and commentary focuses on the argument in the first case, Harris v. Quinn, in which the Court is considering whether non-union employees can be required to pay their share of the costs of negotiating the union contract from which they benefit.  Lyle reported on the oral argument for this blog; other coverage comes from Nina Totenberg of NPR, Richard Wolf of USA Today, Jess Bravin and Melanie Trottman of The Wall Street Journal, and Mark Walsh at Education Week’s School Law blog.

Commentary on the oral argument comes from Ilya Shapiro at Cato at Liberty, who suggests that “much will depend on the thinking of Justice Scalia, who was hostile to everyone,” and Jeremy Leaming at ACSblog, who concludes that, although the Court’s decision “may not overturn precedent, seriously disrupting public employee unions, . . . such a possibility was ‘at least on the table’  during [the] oral argument in the case.”  Additional commentary on the case comes from Martin Malin in a video at ISCOTUSnow and Moshe Marvit at In These Times.  Finally, at The Atlantic, Garrett Epps predicts that “millions of public employees will be watching this case closely.  Their collective-bargaining rights are hanging by a thread.”


  • In USA Today, Richard Wolf covers the oral arguments in the second case yesterday, Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., reporting that “[l]awyers on both sides of a copyright case involving the 1980 film Raging Bull fought to an apparent draw.”
  • Ross Runkel Report discusses last week’s cert. grant in Lane v. Franks, in which the Court will consider whether a public employee can be fired for giving truthful testimony under a subpoena.
  • The U-T San Diego and Marcia Coyle of the Blog of Legal Times cover last week’s cert. grants in Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie, in which the Court will consider whether police can search (and prosecutors can use) the contents of an arrestee’s cell phone.

[Disclosure:  Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, serves as counsel to the petitioner in Lane v. Franks.  The firm was also among the counsel to the petitioner in Riley v. California at the certiorari stage, but will not be involved in the proceedings on the merits.  In any event, the author of this post is not affiliated with the firm.]

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 22, 2014, 8:21 AM),