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Monday round-up

The Court is scheduled to issue opinions in argued cases today at 10 a.m., but last week’s decisions continue to garner commentary. At the George Washington University Law Review’s On the Docket, Catherine Ross weighs in on Elonis v. United States, involving the prosecution of threats made on Facebook.  She argues that the Court “correctly resisted any temptation to premise legal doctrine on the extremely unattractive facts of this case”; instead, “its statutory interpretation served the goals of the Speech Clause as well by focusing on risks to the person the Chief Justice frames as the ‘innocent actor.’”  At The Hill, Alissa Wellek notes that the Court’s decision in Mellouli v. Lynch, in which the Court ruled that a non-citizen’s state conviction for concealing prescription pills in his sock does not trigger removal, “marks the fourth time in the past decade that the Court has rejected the federal government’s aggressive application of immigration laws to drug offenses.”  Other commentary focuses on the decision in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch, reversing the Tenth Circuit’s ruling that the retailer could not be held liable for failing to hire a Muslim teenager who wears a headscarf when the woman had failed to notify the company that she would need accommodations.  In an op-ed for the National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Ruthann Robson compares the Court’s earlier decision in Holt v. Hobbs, holding that a prison policy which prohibits a Muslim prisoner from growing a half-inch beard violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and Justice Thomas’s dissent in the Abercrombie & Fitch case.  And at his Understanding the Americans With Disabilities Act blog, William Goren looks at the possible impact of last week’s decision on the ADA. 

At the U.S. Law Week on the Merits Blog, Kimberly Robinson discusses “GVRs” – in which the Court grants certiorari but immediately vacates the decision below and remands for further consideration by a lower court in light of a recent Supreme Court case.  And at his Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen discusses the decision by a three-judge panel that followed a GVR in light of the Alabama redistricting cases.


  • At his eponymous blog, Lyle Denniston reports on the latest same-sex marriage developments in Guam, where a federal district judge has ruled the territory’s ban unenforceable.
  • Writing for Greenwire, Annie Snider and Jeremy Jacobs report on a new EPA rule on wetlands protection that was written with Justice Anthony Kennedy in mind.
  • April Warren of the Ocala StarBanner reports that the American Bar Association has filed an amicus brief asking the Court “to overturn the portion of Florida’s death penalty law that allows defendants to be sentenced to death following a non-unanimous jury recommendation.”
  • In the National Review, Joel Gehrke reports that Republicans in Congress “are increasingly worried that a Supreme Court victory in King v. Burwell may prove a Pyrrhic one.”
  • At Jost on Justice, Kenneth Jost discusses the Court’s recent announcement that it would hear oral arguments in Evenwel v. Abbott, the Texas “one person, one vote” case; he argues that the case “should be as simple as ABC for a true originalist. The Framers explicitly counted nonvoting slaves, even if fractionally. Nothing in the phrase ‘whole number of persons’ suggests they meant to exclude non-property owners, nonvoting women, disenfranchised felons, or minors.”

[Disclosure:  John Elwood, a frequent contributor to this blog, is among the counsel to Anthony Elonis.  However, I am not involved in the case in any way.]

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Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 8, 2015, 7:25 AM),