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Thursday round-up

Yesterday the Court granted Oklahoma’s request to delay the executions of three death-row inmates; the Court had agreed to take on those inmates’ challenge to the state’s lethal-injection protocol last Friday.  Lyle Denniston covered the order and its scope for this blog; other coverage comes from Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal.

There is more coverage of and commentary on 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 Washington Post, Robert Barnes reports on the focus on the views of Senator Ben Nelson, the now-retired Democrat from Nebraska who, during the debate over the Affordable Care Act, “insisted that states take the lead in establishing the exchanges” where individuals could purchase health insurance.  Elsewhere in The Washington Post, Greg Sargent writes that “[s]everal state officials who were directly involved at the highest levels in early deliberations over setting up state exchanges — all of them Republicans or appointees of GOP governors — have told me that at no point in the decision-making process during the key time-frame was the possible loss of subsidies even considered as a factor.” King and the same-sex marriage cases are the topic of the Room for Debate feature of The New York Times, which looks at whether the real-life consequences of the Court’s decisions should factor into the Justices’ decision making.  And in the National Journal, Sam Baker reports that “[h]ealth insurance companies and hospitals mounted an aggressive defense of Obamacare’s insurance subsidies Wednesday, warning the Supreme Court that eliminating the payments would be ‘grossly inequitable’ to millions of Americans.”

Last week’s decision in Holt v. Hobbs, holding that Arkansas prison officials cannot prohibit a Muslim inmate from growing a half-inch beard, drew commentary from Dawinder Sidhu, who at Religion and Politics suggests that “[a] plausible claim can also be made that Holt foreshadows the end of affirmative action in the United States.”  And at Hamilton and Griffin on Rights, Leslie Griffin argues that “[r]ecent events at Guantanamo confirm the problems with the Supreme Court’s broad interpretation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) in Holt v. Hobbs.”


  • At Cato at Liberty, Ilya Shapiro and Julio Colomba discuss the amicus brief that Cato filed in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, in which the Court is considering the scope of an employer’s duty under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to refrain from discriminating against a job applicant based on religion.”
  • At XPertHR, David Weisenfeld covers Monday’s decision in M&G Polymers USA v. Tackett, a dispute between an employer and its retired employees over the interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement and the vesting of health-care benefits.

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]

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 29, 2015, 10:27 AM),