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Thursday round-up

With the Court’s summer recess now underway, coverage of and commentary on the Court focus on the big picture:  what to make of the October Term 2013?  In his wrap-up piece, Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News observes that the “surface harmony” on the Court “failed to mask the chasms,” while NPR’s Nina Totenberg describes the Term as “more about religion than corporations.”  In USA Today, Richard Wolf characterizes this Term’s “Supreme Court decision-making [as] . . . a game of inches,” while Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal focuses on the extent to which the Chief Justice “joined with unexpected allies—his liberal colleagues—in an alliance that drew some of the Supreme Court’s major decisions closer toward the ideological middle.”  And the Associated Press (via the Ocala Star Banner) suggests that last week’s decision in Riley v. California, holding that police must generally obtain a warrant to search an arrestee’s cellphone, might “be the most consequential of the justices’ 67 rulings this term.”

Other coverage and commentary continue to center on Monday’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, in which the Court held that closely held corporations owned by families with strong religious objections do not need to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate.   At ACSblog, Brandon Garrett argues that in Hobby Lobby “[t]he Court ignored the Constitution – not just by avoiding the First Amendment issue – but by ignoring the limits on its own power to hear an artificial ‘controversy.’”  At The Economist’s Democracy in America blog, Steven Mazie criticizes Justice Samuel A. Alito’s opinion in the case, suggesting that “[t]aking pains to portray a ruling as narrow and modest is a fairly sure sign that it is anything but,” while at Think Progress Ian Millhiser cites the decision as evidence that Alito is the Court’s “most partisan” Justice.  Meanwhile, at The New Yorker’s Daily Comment blog, Steve Coll discusses what might happen if the Taliban “organized a closely held American corporation, and professed to run it on religious principles”:  “might its employees be deprived of insurance coverage to inoculate their children against polio?”  At The Incidental Economist, Nicholas Bagley considers the decision and why the ACA “require[s] employers to cover birth control for women in the first place,” and at the Constitutional Law Prof Blog Steven Schwinn and Ruthann Robson discuss a possible response by Congress to the decision.  Finally, at Jost on Justice Kenneth Jost criticizes Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent in the case, contending that Ginsburg might “have served her own views better by stressing in dissent not how far the decision might go, but how narrowly lower courts ought to read it.”


  • At his Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen reports that Vermont Right to Life will seek Supreme Court review of a Second Circuit decision on campaign finance.
  • On a lighter note, at the Maryland Appellate Blog, Steve Klepper imagines “nine action-hero Supreme Court justices.”

The Court and we will be off tomorrow to celebrate our nation’s birthday; have a good weekend, and we will be back with a new round-up on Monday morning!

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]  Thank you!

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jul. 3, 2014, 7:00 AM),