Breaking News

Round-up of recent news

Although the Court is in recess, coverage of and commentary on the recently ended Term continue.  Sullivan & Cromwell LLP reviewed the Court’s business cases, providing “concise summaries of key cases in the commercial sphere” for the Term.  For Bloomberg BNA, Kimberly Robinson reports on Jay Wexler’s tracking of how many laughs each Justice garnered with his or her jokes this past Term.  And in a post at The WLF Legal Pulse, Mark Chenoweth argues that “the fact that free enterprise did not fare well this term had comparatively little to do with the decisions the Supreme Court issued”; “[r]ather, business civil liberties suffered more overall from the various state supreme court and federal courts of appeals cases that the high court left on the cutting-room floor.”

Still other coverage and commentary focus on the Court’s decision holding that states must allow same-sex couples to marry.  At The Detroit News, Robert Snell reports that plaintiffs from Michigan’s same-sex marriage case have recently asked a federal judge to require the state to pay approximately $1.9 million in legal fees.  At Jurist, Jeremiah A. Ho contends that, by looking at a “quartet” of gay rights cases written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, “we see that the concepts of animus and dignity were first introduced separately in earlier cases and then married together in the later ones.”  Ho also has a series of posts on the same-sex marriage decisions at the Human Rights At Home Blog, where he argues that “one of the ultimate leveraging advancements from post-Windsor cases to Obergefell should be the increased recognition between personal autonomy and sexual identity.”

Cameras in the Courtroom (or the lack thereof) continue to be a hot topic.  For MSNBC, Gabe Roth argues that the success of the federal cameras-in-the-courtroom pilot program, which placed cameras in fourteen federal district courts, shows that arguments against cameras in the Supreme Court’s Courtroom “hold little water.”  And at Judicature, Kyle C. Kopko and Erin Krause discuss the history of concealed cameras in the U.S. Supreme Court, including all three known photographs of the Court sitting in session.

Other coverage and commentary focus on an issue that could be before the Court next Term:  the challenges by non-profit religious groups to the Affordable Care Act’s birth-control mandate.  At Washington Examiner, Robert King reports on a cert. petition filed by a group of religious schools.  And in an op-ed for National Review, Noel Francisco and Paul Pohl respond to a recent column by Linda Greenhouse, arguing that Greenhouse “paints a dramatically distorted picture of” the challenges.

The Justices themselves are also making news with their interviews and speeches.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently addressed a group of Duke alumni, telling them (among other things) that the Court “is still ‘the most collegial’ place she has ever worked”; Tony Mauro has the story for The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required).  At Fox13 in Salt Lake City, Ben Winslow reports that in a speech before the Utah Bar Association, Justice Anthony Kennedy “appeared to make subtle references to his historic ruling on same-sex marriage during a speech on the evolution of the law.”  Retired Justice John Paul Stevens spoke at the American Bar Association’s annual meeting; James Podgers of the ABA Journal reports that Stevens “singled out Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. for his wisdom in siding with the majority in certain key decisions and his restraint in opinions that were at odds with the views of fellow justices in other cases,” while at his Election Law Blog Rick Hasen focuses on Stevens’s criticism of the rhetoric employed by Justice Antonin Scalia.

The Pew Research Center published recent polling indicating that “unfavorable opinions of the Supreme Court have reached a 30-year high”; in The Washington Post, Robert Barnes looks at recent dissatisfaction with the Court and concludes, with humor, that the Court deserves “a tip of the hat” for “bringing people together.”


  • At Jost on Justice, Kenneth Jost reports on a recent Senate subcommittee hearing convened by Senator Ted Cruz to review possible changes to the current structure and power of the Supreme Court and concludes that “the two-hour hearing consisted mostly of second-guessing the court’s recent decisions.”
  • At Just Security, Steve Vladeck discusses a recent petition for writ of certiorari involving the cross-border shootings of foreign nationals and concludes that “these issues are worthy of the Supreme Court’s attention – not just in the unfortunately recurring context of cross-border shootings, but in the more general context of the Fourth Amendment.”
  • At Cato at Liberty, Ilya Shapiro urges the Court to grant review and “provide basic First Amendment rights in the context of occupational regulation” in the case of a Texas veterinarian who was charged with violating state law for running a website devoted to pet care.
  • At The Atlantic, J. Douglas Smith looks at Evenwel v. Abbott, the “one person, one vote” case, and argues that a ruling based on voters instead of people “could lead us back to a time when a relatively small number of American citizens enjoyed disproportionate political power.”
  • For Bloomberg Politics, Greg Stohr reports that despite the “prime position” the next president will be in to shape the Court, with four Justices over the age of seventy-seven as of Election Day 2016, the “challenge for the candidates will be getting the attention of apathetic voters.”
  • At The National Law Journal (subscription required), Tony Mauro reports that lawyers for a group of death-row inmates in Glossip v. Gross, in which the Court upheld the use of midazolam in Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol, have asked the Supreme Court to rehear their case on the basis of Justice Stephen Breyer’s call in his dissent for a full re-examination of capital punishment.
  • For Reuters, Lawrence Hurley reports that “[o]pponents of President Barack Obama’s soon-to-be-implemented policy to cut carbon emissions from power plants are planning to use an unlikely and potentially potent weapon against him: the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that saved Obamacare.”
  • At The Economist, Steven Mazie discusses an exchange between former Senator Rick Santorum and Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC cable-news show on America’s division of powers and the power of Congress to overrule the Supreme Court.
  • At casetext, Ira Ellman presents evidence about the recidivism rates of sex offenders and argues that they are far lower than the Supreme Court has cited in its own opinions.
  • At The National Law Journal (subscription required), Tony Mauro reports that the Court’s ruling in Reed v. Town of Gilbert “could affect political signage in next year’s presidential election and could spill into other areas of First Amendment litigation.”
  • In another story for The National Law Journal (subscription required), Tony Mauro reports that Stephen Bright was “surprised” when the Court granted Foster v. Chatman, in which he represents a death-row inmate who is asking the Court to clarify the scope of its 1986 decision banning the use of race for excluding potential jurors.
  • And in a third story for The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Mauro reports that the Court has appointed WilmerHale partner Catherine Carroll to “argue in favor of a position that the Obama administration has disavowed in” Green v. Donahoe, scheduled for oral argument this fall.
  • The Constitutional Accountability Center recently released its latest Snapshot in its “Roberts at 10” series, focusing on the Roberts Court and its business docket.
  • In the wake of the announcement by the Boy Scouts of America that the organization would no longer prohibit openly gay adults from serving as troop leaders, Marcia Coyle interviews Evan Wolfson, who represented James Dale in his unsuccessful challenge to the ban fifteen years ago, for the Supreme Court Brief (subscription required).
  • At Balkinization, Simon Lazarus kicks off a series on court challenges to the legacy of President Barack Obama with a post on “what Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion in King v. Burwell might mean for” other upcoming challenges.
  • At com, Leroy Goldman discusses the upcoming presidential elections and the Court.

Amy Howe also contributed to this round-up. 

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: Andrew Hamm, Round-up of recent news, SCOTUSblog (Aug. 3, 2015, 2:29 PM),