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Monday round-up

Justice Stephen Breyer is in the news as he promotes his new book on U.S. courts and foreign law.  Tony Mauro interviewed Breyer for The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required) and summarizes that interview in another article for the NLJ (same).   Breyer also spoke with Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal; among other things, Bravin reports, he dismissed attacks on the Court by Republican presidential candidates as “a natural part of the political discourse.” 

Some of those attacks on the Court have come from Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who has been sharply critical of Chief Justice John Roberts in particular; at BuzzFeed, Andrew Kaczynski argues that Cruz “has completely come full circle” from his support for Roberts at the time of his 2005 nomination and confirmation.  And at Vox, German Lopez criticizes comments by Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on same-sex marriage and the Dred Scott decision; he contends that Huckabee’s misunderstanding of the Fourteenth Amendment and Dred Scott “isn’t just embarrassing for someone who’s running for president. It also speaks to Huckabee’s misunderstanding of why the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages and why and how Davis — whom Huckabee is now publicly defending and leading rallies for — was jailed after she refused to issue marriage licenses.”  But in the California Lawyer, Douglas Kmiec looks back at the just-ended Term and argues that, although the Chief Justice “may have made a misstep here or there, perhaps,” “perspective counsels that Congress and the president should send him a thank-you note.”

Other commentary on the Court focuses on Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the public-sector union case in which the Court will hear oral argument in the upcoming Term.  At the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Liberty Blog, Timothy Sandefur argues that “public employee unions represent a ruinous innovation in democratic government: a coalition of people whose private interests in government power overwhelm the public’s capacity to control that government,” and he concludes that “the Friedrichs case represents an unusual opportunity for the Supreme Court to take one helpful step toward stopping this abuse.” In another post at the Liberty Blog, Deborah LaFetra discusses the foundation’s amicus brief in the case, explaining that it “details how politicking pervades the unions’ agendas, through collective bargaining, to lobbying, to active participation in elections.”


  • In his column for The Economist, Steven Mazie weighs in on a recent dissent from the denial of rehearing en banc in a Tenth Circuit challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate, which Lyle Denniston also covered for this blog; Mazie observes that although, until recently, “it had seemed that the latest and most persnickety challenge to Obamacare was going nowhere fast,” “five federal judges predicted that the complaint—which involves the law’s requirements for employers to provide contraception to their employees—would find a receptive audience at the Supreme Court.”
  • At the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Liberty Blog, Wen Fa continues an online debate on standing and Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, in which the Court will hear oral argument in November; he concludes that although he disagrees with Patricia Moore, to whose post he is responding, ”on the merits, I agree that Spokeo v. Robins is an important case.”
  • At the Appellate Practice Blog of the International Municipal Lawyers Association, Lisa Soronen previews Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, in which the Court will hear oral argument in the upcoming Term; she suggests that “[s]ome Supreme Court case are epic because they are important. Other cases are epic because they have been litigated for decades. Depending on how the Court rules, Hyatt II may be important for both reasons.”

 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, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Sep. 14, 2015, 10:34 AM),