Breaking News

Tuesday round-up

There is more coverage of and commentary on Friday’s announcement that the Court will take up the same-sex marriage issue.  In the Los Angeles Times, David Savage looks at how the cases might play out at the Court and observes that last fall’s order allowing several decisions striking down state bans to stand and thereby “clearing the way for gay marriages to begin in at least 35 states . . . was seen as a signal that the ultimate decision had been made, even if the justices had yet to formulate an opinion to explain the result.”  In his column for The Atlantic, Garrett Epps looks at the significance of the two questions that the Court instructed the parties to brief – involving the constitutionality of state bans and whether states must recognize the unions of same-sex couples who were legally married in other states – and concludes that he does not “see a way to split them that would allow the Court—or its key justice—to escape this term’s rendezvous with destiny.”  At the Keen News Service, Lisa Keen also focuses on the questions drafted by the Court and suggests that the second question is “the nagging one.”  At ACSblog, Jeremy Leaming reports on comments by Paul Smith predicting that, if the challengers prevail in the case, “the focus would shift rather strongly toward the need to prohibit private discrimination against LGBT persons and the opposition of most Republicans in Congress to a federal anti-discrimination law.”  In an op-ed for USA Today, Judith Schaeffer urges the Court to “put an end to the balkanized America in which gay men and lesbians now live, able to marry in some states and not in others, an America in which the children of same-sex couples enjoy the important legal protections that come from having married parents, but only in some states, not in others.” 

Today the Court will hear oral argument in Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar, in which it will consider the constitutionality of a rule that prohibits candidates for judgeships from personally soliciting campaign contributions.  Lyle Denniston previewed the case for this blog, with other coverage coming from Nina Totenberg at NPR.  Commentary on the case comes from Robert Everett Johnson and Paul Sherman in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal (subscription or registration required) and from Leslie Griffin at Hamilton and Griffin on Rights,

The other argument today is in Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Care Center.  As William Baude explains in his preview for this blog, the Court will consider “whether the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution gives plaintiffs a cause of action to enjoin state action as preempted, even when the preempting statute does not.”  Steve Vladeck weighs in on the case, which he describes as potentially the “biggest sleeper” of the Court’s Term, at PrawfsBlawg.

In The New York Times, Adam Liptak reports on a study by Richard Hasen which concludes that Justice Antonin Scalia is the Court’s most sarcastic Justice; other coverage of and commentary on the study come from Kent Scheidegger at Crime and Consequences and Hasen himself at his Election Law Blog.


  • At his eponymous new blog, Lyle Denniston reports on the departure for Qatar of Guantanamo detainee Ali Salah Kahlah al-Marri, whose case the Court agreed to review in 2008 but ultimately did not decide.
  • At Greenwire, Jeremy P. Jacobs covers last week’s grant in Horne v. Department of Agriculture, in which the Court will consider a “challenge to a Depression-era program for setting raisin prices that the central California farmer claims amounts to an unconstitutional taking without the just compensation required by the Fifth Amendment.”
  • At PrawfsBlawg, Howard Wasserman cites “the limits of the judicial role” as a possible reason why the late Justice Thurgood Marshall is “never in the conversation about civil rights icon[s].”
  • The Constitutional Accountability Center continues its series on the Chief Justice’s tenth Term with an installment that focuses on access to the Courts.
  • At The Incidental Economist, Nicholas Bagley weighs in 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, discussing “another statutory clue that Congress could not have meant to strip tax credits from states with federally established exchanges.”
  • The Supreme People’s Court Monitor reports that the Chief Justice’s year-end report has found a new audience – in China.
  • At Hamilton and Griffin on Rights, Leslie Shoebotham previews the Fourth Amendment case Rodriguez v. United States, in which the Court will hear oral arguments tomorrow.

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, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 20, 2015, 7:07 AM),