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Tuesday round-up

The Supreme Court released its final two opinions yesterday and adjourned for the summer, leaving the rest of us to parse the cases and wait for September.  Thomas Hopson rounded up early coverage of both decisions yesterday for this blog.

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the Court held – in an opinion by Justice Samuel Alito – that (at least as applied to closely held corporations) the regulations promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services requiring employers to provide their female employees with no-cost access to contraception violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  Commentary comes from Hadar Aviram at PrawfsBlawg and Ruthann Robson at the Constitutional Law Prof Blog.  Other commentary focuses on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent in the case:  at Re’s Judicata, Richard Re discusses “inconsistency about inconsistency” in the context of the Ginsburg dissent, while at Think Progress Judd Legum reports that the dissent has “already been turned into a song.  And it’s not terrible.” 

In Harris v. Quinn, a divided Court – also in an opinion by Alito – held that the First Amendment prohibits the collection of an agency fee from home health-care workers who do not wish to support or join a union.  Coverage of the decision comes from Tony Mauro of The National Law Journal,  with commentary coming from Matt Bodie at PrawfsBlawg (here and here) and Steven Schwinn at Constitutional Law Prof Blog.  At Working Life, Jonathan Tasini anticipated the decision, looking for a possible “silver lining.”

The Federal Evidence Review analyzes last week’s decision in Riley v. California, in which the Court unanimously ruled that the police must obtain a warrant to search the cellphone of someone whom they have arrested.  And at the Constitutional Accountability Center’s Text and History Blog, Emily Phelps praises the decision, observing that, “[f]or a ruling that’s sure to be remembered as an historic one, it’s poetically appropriate that the opinion was so directly shaped by lessons from two hundred and fifty years ago.”

Other Court-related coverage and commentary focus on the Term more generally.  At Forbes, Daniel Fisher has an overview of the Term, in which he concludes that “the fondest hopes of conservatives – and the worst fears of liberals – appear to have been thwarted by a pair of judicial moderates who worked separately and as a team to prevent the conservative majority from indulging its most radical inclinations.”  At the Constitutional Accountability Center’s Text and History Blog, Tom Donnelly looks at the record of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at the Court this Term, arguing that “this Term’s business docket was defined by a confident Chamber attempting to push the law aggressively in some of the Term’s biggest cases.”


  • At the Ogletree Deakins blog, John Martin discusses the Court’s recent grant of certiorari in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, in which the Court will consider whether a federal agency must engage in notice-and-comment rulemaking pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act before it can significantly alter an interpretive rule that articulates an interpretation of an agency regulation.
  • At Greenwire, Jeremy P. Jacobs covers yesterday’s orders, in which the Court (among other things) “declined . . . to take up a challenge from ethanol producers and other groups to California’s low-carbon fuel standard in a major win for the state’s efforts to address climate change.”
  • In The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire, Jess Bravin covers Sunday’s lecture on law and opera by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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!

[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.  However, I am not affiliated with the firm.]

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jul. 1, 2014, 9:30 AM),