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Thursday round-up

Yesterday the Court blocked the order by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit striking down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage.  Although Virginia officials and the county clerk who had requested the stay urged the Court to treat the clerk’s stay application as a petition for review, the Justices instead stayed the lower court’s ruling pending the filing and disposition of a formal petition for certiorari.  I covered the order for this blog; other coverage comes from NPR’s Nina Totenberg, Robert Barnes of The Washington Post, Timothy Phelps of the Los Angeles Times, and Lawrence Hurley of Reuters.  In an article published before the Court issued the stay, Chris Geidner of BuzzFeed reported on the “tightrope walk” of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who has declined to defend his state’s ban but nonetheless agreed with the county clerk that the Fourth Circuit’s ruling should be stayed.  And in an op-ed for the Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), Alan Morrison has some “early advice” for the Justices on the same-sex marriage issue; among other things, he tells the Court that, “[n]ow that there are so many cases in the courts of appeals, and so little that lower-court judges have not yet said, you might as well take one case now, swallow hard, and decide the merits.”


  • At Crime and Consequences, Kent Scheidegger has an update on Ryan v. Hurles, the Arizona death penalty case that was relisted twenty-two times before the state ultimately withdrew its petition in light of a new decision by the Ninth Circuit.  (Lyle also covered the developments in Hurles for this blog earlier this week.)
  • At Re’s Judicata, Richard Re examines the Court’s treatment, in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, of its earlier decision reserving jurisdiction in Gallagher v. Crown Kosher Super Market, a Free Exercise Clause challenge to Sunday closing laws.
  • In the Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), Tony Mauro reports on the prospect that “[a] little-noticed brief in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court this fall may launch a new genre of friend-of-the-court filings: written by a law firm on behalf of no client—not even law professors—and in support of neither side.”
  • At Mens Rea, the blog of the American Criminal Law Review, William Hornbeck argues that Chief Justice John Roberts should “restore the Chief Justice’s official title to ‘Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.’”

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]  Until the end of the summer, we will have twice-weekly round-ups (Tuesday and Thursday); daily round-ups will resume in the fall.  Thank you!

Disclosure:  The amicus brief discussed in Tony Mauro’s story was filed by Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities.  However, I am not affiliated with the firm.]

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Aug. 21, 2014, 8:46 AM),