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Monday round-up

On Friday afternoon the Court issued grants from its January 23 Conference.  Its announcement that it would review a challenge by a group of Oklahoma death-row inmates to the state’s lethal-injection protocol drew the most attention.  Lyle Denniston covered the grant for this blog; other coverage comes from Nina Totenberg of NPR, Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), and Adam Liptak and Erik Eckholm of The New York Times.  In another story for The New York Times, Adam Liptak notes that the Court’s announcement on Friday “brought fresh attention to the life-or-death importance of a single vote.”   The Court also granted review in OBB Personenverkehr AG v. Sachs, a lawsuit arising from an accident in Austria in which a California woman was seriously injured on a government-owned railroad.  Ingrid Wuerth discusses the grant at Lawfare, concluding that “the case is likely to be of broad significance for FSIA litigation in part because it has been more than two decades since the Court directly addressed the statute’s commercial activity exception” and because it will “contribute to the Roberts Court’s growing legacy of significant foreign relations-related cases.”Other coverage of and commentary on the Court focuses on the upcoming oral arguments in King v. Burwell, in which the Court will consider whether tax subsidies are available for individuals who purchase their health insurance on an exchange established by the federal government.  In The New York Times, Margot Sanger-Katz reports on a study suggesting that “[t]he people who could lose their health insurance as a result of a Supreme Court decision this year are predominantly white, Southern, employed and middle-aged.”  At ThinkProgress, Ian Milhiser discusses comments by Senator Orrin Hatch – who joined an amicus brief in support of the challengers in the case – that “directly contradict[] the central legal claim” in the case.  At The New Republic, Brian Beutler asserts that “everybody, including Republicans in Congress . . . always understood it to authorize subsidies everywhere.”  At Talking Points Memo, Sahil Kapur reports on comments on the Affordable Care Act by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, while in an op-ed for the Asheville Citizen-Times LeRoy Goldman urges Senate Republicans not to vote to overturn the ACA, because of the prospect that the Court may rule in favor of the challengers.

At Slate, David Herzig contends that the Court will vote to strike down state bans on same-sex marriage to avoid “large-scale tax problems for tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of taxpayers.”  And in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, Douglas NeJaime contends that the cases are “about the meaning of marriage for all of us.”


  • In the Sacramento Bee, Wen Fa and Ralph Kasarda weigh in on Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, in which the Court is considering whether the Fair Housing Act provides a cause of action based on disparate impact.
  • At Politico, Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim report that “[t]op Senate Republicans are considering gutting the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees — a move that could yield big rewards for whichever party controls the White House and Senate after 2016.”
  • At Hamilton and Griffin on Rights, Leslie Griffin discusses Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean, in which the Court ruled for a federal air marshal turned whistleblower, focusing on the dissent by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Anthony Kennedy.
  • At the Boston University Law Review Annex, Kathryn Kovacs discusses Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, in which the Court is considering whether a federal agency must engage in notice-and-comment rulemaking before it significantly alters a rule that interprets an agency regulation; she urges the Justices to “eliminate the D.C. Circuit’s administrative common law.”
  • At his eponymous blog, Lyle Denniston reports on Friday’s order by a federal judge in Alabama striking down that state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

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Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 26, 2015, 7:56 AM),