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Thursday round-up

Yesterday was a big day at the Court, with two oral arguments and three opinions in argued cases.  But yesterday will be best remembered as the day that eight people, on the fifth anniversary of the Court’s decision in Citizens United, were arrested for disrupting the Court’s proceedings.  Mark Walsh covered the incident for this blog; other coverage comes from NPR’s Nina Totenberg, Richard Wolf of USA Today, Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News, Brent Kendall of The Wall Street Journal, Tony Mauro of the Blog of Legal Times, and Steven Mazie of The Economist’s Democracy in America blog. Coincidentally, on Tuesday retired Justice John Paul Stevens criticized the Citizens United decision in an appearance in Florida; coverage comes from Jeff Schweers of the Gainesville Sun.  Other criticism of the decision comes from Fred Wertheimer at ACSblog.

After the protesters were removed from the courtroom, the Justices issued their decisions.  In Hana Financial v. Hana Bank, the Court ruled that the jury, rather than a court, determines whether use of an older trademark may be tacked to a newer one.  Ronald Mann covered the decision, authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, for this blog; other coverage comes from Taylor Gillan of JURIST.

In Gelboim v. Bank of America, in an opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Court held that, when a district court dismisses the only claim in a case that has been consolidated with other actions for pretrial proceedings in multidistrict litigation, the district court’s order is a final and appealable order, even if claims remained in other actions included in the MDL.  Howard Wasserman covered the ruling for this blog, with other coverage from Taylor Gillan of JURIST.

And in Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the Court in ruling for an air marshal turned whistleblower who was fired.  Steve Vladeck covered the decision for this blog; other coverage comes from Nina Totenberg of NPR and Julie Deisher-Edwards of JURIST.  Commentary on the decision in MacLean comes from Orly Lobel at PrawfsBlawg.

The Court also heard oral argument Wednesday in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, in which it is considering whether the Fair Housing Act provides a cause of action based on disparate impact.  Lyle Denniston covered the oral argument for this blog; other coverage comes from Richard Wolf of USA Today, Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal (Bravin had another story on the case with Robbie Whelan here), Greg Stohr and David McLaughlin of Bloomberg News, and Tony Mauro for the Supreme Court Brief (registration or subscription required). At Education Week’s School Law Blog, Mark Walsh reports on the argument and the implications of the case for education issues.  Commentary on yesterday’s oral argument comes from Roger Clegg at the National Review Online’s Bench Memos blog, while Julie Deisher-Edwards covered both of today’s oral arguments for JURIST.

Other coverage of the Court focuses on Tuesday’s oral arguments and decisions.  In Holt v. Hobbs, it ruled that Arkansas must allow a Muslim inmate to grow a half-inch beard. Coverage of the decision comes from Warren Richey at The Christian Science Monitor and Michael Bobelian at Forbes, with commentary coming from Travis Weber at the Family Research Council Blog and Marci Hamilton at Hamilton and Griffin on Rights.

At Tuesday’s arguments in Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar, the Court considered whether Florida can prohibit candidates for judgeships from personally soliciting campaign contributions.  Jess Bravin covered the argument for The Wall Street Journal (subscription or registration required), with commentary from Martha Davis at the Human Rights at Home Blog.


  • In the National Law Journal, Tony Mauro reports on Justice Clarence Thomas’s dissent from the denial of certiorari in Plumley v. Austin, in which (among other things) the Justice “sharply criticized a federal appeals court for issuing a lengthy opinion that was nonetheless unpublished, which he called a ‘disturbing aspect’ of the case before the high court.”
  • In her column for The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse argues that, “[h]owever the justices proceed to resolve the increasingly audacious claims of religious conscience in a post-Hobby Lobby, post-marriage equality world, it’s safe to predict that politicians will be confronting these issues under the glare of a public spotlight. Republicans who expect the Supreme Court to give them a pass from having to take a stand are in for a rude surprise.”

 [Disclosure:  Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, was among the counsel to the petitioners in Gelboim.  However, I am not affiliated with the firm.]

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Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 22, 2015, 8:00 AM),