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Although the round-up was on hiatus last week, news related to the Court was not.  Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit again rejected a challenge to the undergraduate admissions policies of the University of Texas at Austin.  The decision, which followed the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case a little over a year ago, sets up the prospect that the case could again return to the Supreme Court in the upcoming Term.  Lyle Denniston reported on the divided decision for this blog; other coverage comes from Sahil Kapur of Talking Points Memo,

Wrap-ups of various aspects of the October Term 2013 continue.  In The New Republic, Simon Lazarus describes “a libertarian streak in the justices’ opinions” this Term, while at Moyers & Company Bill Moyers reviews the Term with Linda Greenhouse and Dahlia Lithwick.  In The National Law Journal (registration required), Tony Mauro reviews the Court’s business docket and concludes that “the aggressive strategy business advocates employed did not always work.”  Mauro’s story relies in part on an infographic on the Court’s business docket compiled by Lauren Goldman; that infographic is available here.  But at Jost on Justice, Kenneth Jost looks at the record of the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center in business cases during the October Term 2013 and concludes that, “[w]hatever the exact count may be, the Roberts Court remains a favorable venue for business interests.”  And in The New York Times, Adam Liptak looks at cases in which the Court declined to overrule its precedent, observing that the failure to overrule those cases was “a disappointment to the court’s three most conservative justices, and it illuminated a fault line on the court’s right side.”

Other coverage focuses on specific cases from OT 2013, particularly the Court’s decision in the challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate.  Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News reports on the effect of the Court’s decisions on same-sex marriage and the religious rights of closely held corporations, observing that they have “opened a new front in the U.S. culture wars, pitting small-business owners with religious objections against customers seeking to shop without fear of discrimination.”  At Balkinization, Marty Lederman looks at how the Court might approach the upcoming challenges under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to the accommodations that the government has established for religious non-profits that object to providing access to birth control to their female employees.  And at ACSblog, Caroline Mala Corbin argues that “the winners” in Hobby Lobby “are corporate owners, and the losers are all the men and women who must work for them.”  In the Los Angeles Times, Rebecca Bratek reports on the role of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in Hobby Lobby and other cases involving religious liberty.

At the Washington Legal Foundation’s The Legal Pulse, Rich Samp “applaud[s] the narrow approach adopted by Justice Breyer” in last month’s decision in NLRB v. Noel Canning, holding unconstitutional President Obama’s recess appointments to the NLRB, and argues that Justice Antonin Scalia’s concurring opinion “illustrates the shortcomings of originalism as a means of ensuring judicial restraint.”  And at ACSblog, Catherine Fisk weighs in on last month’s decision in Harris v. Quinn, in which the Court held that home health-care workers in Illinois are not full-fledged “public employees” and therefore cannot be required to pay an agency fee if they do not wish to join or support a union.

In Legal Times (registration required), Tony Mauro reports that officials in the town of Greece, New York, which recently prevailed in a challenge to the town council’s practice of beginning its sessions with a prayer, asked an atheist to give an invocation at a meeting last week.  In a three-part series at Hamilton and Griffin on Rights (here, here, and here), Leslie Griffin cites Town of Greece and Hobby Lobby as evidence that the Court’s religious make-up “makes a difference,” because the “opinions suggest the Justices are influenced by their religious worldviews in interpreting religion and the Constitution.”

In a post at Harmless Error, Luke Rioux compares the Court’s recent decision in Riley v California, holding that police must generally obtain a warrant to search an arrestee’s cellphone, with last year’s decision in Maryland v. King, holding that states can require individuals charged with serious crimes to provide a DNA sample, and concludes that, at least “for now, the U.S. Constitution gives more protection to your iPhone apps than it does to your genetic code.”  And Microsoft recently conducted a poll which revealed that U.S. voters overwhelmingly also favor requiring police to get a warrant to search a cellphone.

The Clinton Presidential Library recently released new documents from the Clinton White House, including papers discussing three current Justices – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor.  Marcia Coyle, Tony Mauro, and Todd Ruger report on the new releases for Legal Times; other coverage comes from Rick Hasen at his Election Law Blog.


  • Bloomberg TV has an explainer on Kirby v. Marvel Comics, the legal battle for control over the comic-book characters created by artist Jack Kirby.
  • In The Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin and Theo Francis chronicle the increase in the use of the word “friend” to refer to opposing counsel at the Court, attributing it primarily to Chief Justice John Roberts.
  • At Cato at Liberty, Trevor Burrus discusses Yates v. United States, in which a commercial fisherman was prosecuted under the federal Sarbanes-Oxley Act for destroying undersized fish, and the amicus brief that Cato filed in the case.
  • At truthdig, Bill Blum argues that Elizabeth Warren should be “at the top” of “the short list of replacements” for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg or any other Justice who might retire soon.
  • At Education Week (registration required), Mark Walsh reports on the work of the Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers.

Disclosure: Kevin Russell of Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, was among the counsel on an amicus brief in support of the respondent in Harris.

A friendly reminder:  We rely on our readers to send us links for the round-up.  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]  Tomorrow we will switch over to a twice-weekly (Tuesday and Thursday) format for the summer round-ups; daily round-ups will resume in the fall.  Thank you!

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jul. 21, 2014, 12:04 PM),