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Tuesday round-up

Yesterday was a busy day at the Court, as the Justices returned for the March sitting to hear oral arguments and issue orders from their March 20 Conference.  The first oral argument was in Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, the challenge to Texas’s specialty license-plate scheme. Lyle Denniston covered the oral argument for this blog, with other coverage coming from NPR’s Nina Totenberg, Mark Walsh at Education Week’s School Law blog, Tony Mauro for the Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), and Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal.  Commentary comes from Ruthann Robson at Constitutional Law Prof Blog,

The second case was City and County of San Francisco v. Sheehan, in which the Court will consider the duties that the Americans with Disabilities Act imposes on police officers when they deal with people with mental disabilities.  Lyle Denniston covered the oral arguments for this blog, with commentary coming from David Perry for Al Jazeera and Lisa Soronen in an interview on KPCC. And at ISCOTUSnow, Edward Lee predicts the winners in yesterday’s oral arguments based on the number of questions for each side. 

Yesterday the Court issued orders from its Conference on Friday, March 20.  Among other things, it denied review in Frank v. Walker, the challenge to Wisconsin’s voter ID law.  Lyle Denniston covered the orders for this blog, with other coverage of the denial coming from Scott Bauer of the Associated Press (via the Miami Herald); commentary comes from Rick Hasen at his Election Law Blog. The Court also declined to sanction Howard Shipley for his role in the filing of a petition for certiorari that apparently had been largely written by his client; Tony Mauro covers that order for the Blog of Legal Times.  And Mayer Brown’s Class Defense Blog covers yesterday’s grant in DirecTV v. Imburgia, in which the Court will review a conflict between a California state court and the Ninth Circuit over the enforcement of an arbitration agreement that refers to state law.

Today the Court will hear oral arguments in Bank of America v. Caulkett and Bank of America v. Toledo-Cardona, in which it will consider whether bankruptcy courts can void a second mortgage when the first mortgage is underwater.  I previewed those cases for this blog.  More generally, in the Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), Tony Mauro reports on the “bumper crop” of bankruptcy cases at the Court right now.

Other coverage of and commentary on the Court focus on two of the Court’ highest-profile cases this Term:  King v. Burwell, the challenge to the availability of subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, and the challenges to state bans on same-sex marriage.  At The Incidental Economist, Nicholas Bagley discusses the prospect that the Court could stay its decision in King (and the possible effects of such a stay), while at the National Review Online’s Bench Memos Michael Cannon argues that “the Court will have to lower the bar quite a bit to find the ACA’s Exchange provisions coercive.”
And in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, A. Barton Hinkle argues that the “case against Obamacare is getting weaker.”  On same-sex marriage, Suja Thomas argues at ACSblog that, although “originalism can continue to be one influence,” “the past should not decide the issue of whether states’ prohibition of same sex marriage is constitutional.”  And in the Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), Marcia Coyle reports that, although “[n]one of the same sex marriage cases the U.S. Supreme Court will decide this term squarely raises religious liberty as an issue, . . . many groups involved in the litigation see that as the elephant behind the courtroom’s red velvet curtain.”

Still other coverage and commentary focus on tomorrow’s oral argument in the challenge to an EPA rule that restricts the release of mercury and other pollutants from power plants.  David Savage previews the case for the Los Angeles Times, while commentary comes from the editorial board of The New York Times and  Lisa Garcia in the Los Angeles Times.


  • Yesterday Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer testified before the House Appropriations Committee on the Court’s budget. Tony Mauro covers the hearing for the Blog of Legal Times.

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Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 24, 2015, 7:23 AM),