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Thursday round-up

Yesterday the Justices heard oral arguments in three Kansas death-penalty cases.  The issues before the Court were whether the instructions given to the juries violated their Eighth Amendment right to individualized sentencing determinations because they did not indicate that jurors did not have to find mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt, as well as whether the rights of two brothers were violated when they were sentenced together.  I covered the arguments for this blog, while Lyle Denniston did the same at Lyle Denniston Law News.  Other coverage comes from Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal and Adam Liptak of The New York Times.

Other coverage of and commentary on the Court focus on arguments that took place earlier this week.  Danielle Blevins of Talk Radio News Source reports on Monday’s arguments in OBB Personenverkehr v. Sachs, in which the Court is considering whether an American woman can bring a lawsuit in U.S. courts against the Austrian national railroad for injuries that she suffered in Austria; Ingrid Wuerth analyzes the oral arguments at Lawfare, concluding that the Justices “seemed strongly inclined to hold for OBB and reverse, but they proffered several potential reasons for doing so.”  Ronald Mann covered Monday’s second argument, in the spousal-guaranty case Hawkins v. Bank of Raymore, for this blog; other coverage and commentary come from Danielle Blevins for Talk Radio News Source and Asher Steinberg at The Narrowest Grounds.  Coverage of and commentary on Tuesday’s oral arguments in the conspiracy case Ocasio v. United States come from Rory Little for this blog, Danielle Blevins for Talk Radio News Service, and Asher Steinberg at The Narrowest Grounds.  Finally, Ronald Mann covered the argument in DIRECTV v. Imburgia for this blog, with other coverage from Danielle Blevins for Talk Radio News Service.


  • In the Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), Tony Mauro reports on the release of the second edition of the Solicitor General’s style manual, published by Jack Metzler.
  • At casetext, Colin Starger discusses the “doctrinal context” of Maryland v. Kulbicki, in which the Supreme Court summarily reversed a decision of the Maryland Court of Appeals.
  • At the Knowledge Network, Lisa Soronen discusses issues affecting local governments that the Court could soon review; she does the same for state governments at the Knowledge Center.
  • At Time, Andrea Sachs polls experts about the best Supreme Court decisions in the last fifty-five years.

[DISCLOSURE:  Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the respondents in DIRECTV.  However, I am not affiliated with the firm.]

 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, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 8, 2015, 9:07 AM),