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Thursday round-up

With oral arguments in the challenges to state bans on same-sex marriage less than three weeks away, the cases are the subject of several articles and posts.   In The New Yorker, Richard Socarides observes that, if the Court rules in the challengers’ favor, “the impact of such a ruling will eventually extend beyond marriage rights, transforming how gay Americans are perceived and reducing discrimination against them more broadly.”  In a story for Bloomberg Politics, though, Greg Stohr reports that, even if “[s]ame-sex couples across the U.S. may soon have the legal right to marry . . . [i]n 28 states, their employer will still have the legal right to fire them.”  At Slate, Mark Joseph Stern discusses (and criticizes) the amicus brief that South Carolina filed at the Court, in which “the state’s attorney general argues for a truly originalist understanding of the 14thAmendment,” while at PJ Media Paula Bolyard discusses (in more favorable terms) the amicus brief filed by the Liberty Institute “on behalf of a group of prominent religious organizations, public speakers, and scholars, [which] asks the justices to affirm the Sixth Circuit decision upholding marriage laws in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.”

In The National Law Journal (subscription required), Katelyn Polantz writes about the relationship between John Bursch, the lawyer who will defend Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban, and his law firm, Warner Norcross & Judd.  Describing a “split” between the two, Polantz writes that Bursch “had to leave his law firm temporarily to take the case” after the partnership granted him “a leave of absence,” so that for the time being he “works for Michigan.”  But it appears that there has been some confusion over the point.  Bursch and his firm report that Bursch remains a partner in good standing at the firm working on its matters, but is also simultaneously doing his work for Michigan separately, with no involvement whatsoever by the firm.  We understand that the National Law Journal is looking into the discrepancy.


  • At Talking Points Memo, Sahil Kapur reports that President Barack Obama “warned the Supreme Court in an interview Wednesday that a ruling to invalidate Obamacare subsidies would be ‘a bad decision’ and result in ‘millions of people losing their health insurance.’”
  • In USA Today, Richard Wolf looks ahead to this month’s challenge to Oklahoma’s lethal injection procedures and reports that “[t]he best that death penalty opponents likely can hope for is a narrow decision restricting the use of midazolam.”
  • MarketWatch reports on a recent amicus brief in a case that asks the Court to review a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on the ground that the ruling “violates the Three-Judge Court Act by allowing a single judge to rule on a critical Maryland gerrymandering case.”
  • At Georgia Health News, Judi Kanne looks at the “long-term implications” of the Court’s recent decision in North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC, in which the Court rejected a state dental board’s assertion that its actions were not subject to scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission.
  • At The Blog of Legal Times, Zoe Tillman reports that “[t]he U.S. attorney’s office in Washington is escalating its response to disruptions inside the U.S. Supreme Court. A group arrested last week for demonstrating inside the high court chamber face stiffer penalties than a group charged with a similar disruption in January.”
  • At the Appellate Practice Blog of the International Municipal Lawyers Association, Lisa Soronen discusses the amicus brief that the State and Local Legal Center filed in next Term’s Kingsley v. Hendrickson, “arguing that the same or similar standard should apply to excessive force claims brought by pretrial detainees and post-conviction detainees.”
  • At Concurring Opinions, Ronald K.L. Collins (also of this blog) discusses a petition asking the Court to take up a case involving a challenge to the City of Norfolk’s sign code, on which the city relied to issue a citation to a company that put up a banner protesting the city’s efforts to take its building through eminent domain.
  • In a post at Roll Call, Patrick Forrest asserts that the “Court unanimously missed an opportunity to check the rising regulatory state. Its decision in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association marks the culmination of a long journey in American jurisprudence to transfer immense influence to federal regulators.”
  • At Procedurally Taxing, Tuan Samahon discusses the federal government’s brief in opposition in Kuretski v. Commissioner, which asks the Court to consider whetherthe President’s authority under 26 U.S.C. § 7443(f) to remove Tax Court judges violates the Constitution’s separation of powers.”

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Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 9, 2015, 11:53 AM),