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Thursday round-up

Commentary on last week’s oral arguments in Hurst v. Florida, in which the Court is considering the constitutionality of the state’s death-penalty sentencing scheme, continues.  In the National Review, Jonathan Keim suggests that, from “a philosophical standpoint, this case has always been most interesting for what it could reveal about the limits of the originalists’ alliance with the in-house opponents of the death penalty.”  In posts at casetext, Sam Kamin contends that the oral arguments “revealed what many of us have long argued—that the Florida capital scheme is spectacularly, flamboyantly unconstitutional and that Florida seems not much to care,” while Vicki Werneke argues that the “Court’s capital jurisprudence supports the conclusion that the Florida scheme is unconstitutional, especially as applied to Mr. Hurst.”  In a third post, Jenny Carroll looks back at the oral arguments in Montgomery v. Louisiana, in which the Court is considering whether its 2012 decision striking down mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles who commit murder applies retroactively. Relatedly, Brian Bakst of the Associated Press (via the Seattle Times) reports that Justice Antonin Scalia this week said in a speech that “he wouldn’t be surprised if the nation’s highest court invalidates the death penalty.”


  • In an essay for the Northwestern University Law Review Online, Michael Pierce looks back at last year’s decision in Elonis v. United States and suggests that distinguishing “between threats against public and private figures, and tailoring mens rea accordingly, is the best approach in light of core First Amendment principles.”
  • At Illinois Public Radio, Verity Winship weighs in on United States v. Newman, the insider-trading case in which the Court recently denied review.
  • At the Knowledge Network, Lisa Soronen discusses two recent grants of interest to local governments.
  • Robin Bravender of E&E reports on the recent spate of grants involving energy regulation and suggests that the Court’s “decision could bring clarity to those looking for boundaries that weren’t laid out explicitly in the Federal Power Act.”


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. 22, 2015, 8:59 AM),