Breaking News

Tuesday round-up

The Justices return today for the second week of the October sitting. First up is Montgomery v. Louisiana, in which the Court will consider whether its 2012 ruling in Miller v. Alabama, holding that mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles convicted of murder violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, applies retroactively to cases that were already final when Miller was decided.  Lyle Denniston previewed the oral argument for this blog; I did the same in Plain English for my own blog, with other coverage coming from Richard Wolf of USA Today.  In The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro reports on a study indicating that “[f]ewer juveniles are being sentenced to life in prison without parole,” while Leslie Shoebotham has an overview of the case at Hamilton and Griffin on Rights.  The second case today is Hurst v. Florida, in which the Justices will consider whether the state’s sentencing scheme for death penalty cases violates either the Sixth or the Eighth Amendment.  Lyle Denniston previewed the case for this blog

At Duane Morris Appellate Review, Luke McLoughlin discusses the federal government’s change in position in Kingdomware Technologies v. United States, arguing that this “surprising turn of events shows that the government’s position remains in flux after years of attempting to justify the VA’s restrictive interpretation of the 2006 Veterans Act.”  And at Smallgovcon Steven Koprince characterizes the government’s abandonment of “the argument that the statutory preference for veteran-owned companies applies only if the VA has not met its SDVOSB or VOSB contracting goals” as a “stunning development.”

In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Steven Mazie argues that the Court “has often been a lightning rod of controversy in its 226 years, but never before have so many darts been lobbed at the institution from so many points on the political spectrum.”  At Crime and Consequences, Kent Scheidegger disputes Mazie’s characterization of Justice Clarence Thomas as an “ultraconservative.”


  • At Big Think, Mazie has a quiz to test readers’ knowledge of the Court.
  • At New Private Law, Greg Klass weighs in on last week’s oral arguments in the arbitration case DIRECTV v. Imburgia.
  • In the ABA Journal, Erwin Chemerinsky discusses “some of the most important cases thus far on the docket for October term 2015.”
  • In an op-ed for Roll Call, Rep. Louise Slaughter calls for “a code of ethical conduct, as is required of all other federal judges,” for Supreme Court Justices.
  • At Hamilton and Griffin on Rights, David Dow looks back at the three Kansas death-penalty cases argued last week, concluding that, “if the first cluster of capital cases the Court heard is any indication of what is in store, the Court is not yet inclined to make any grand pronouncements, and indeed, this week’s capital cases may well generate no pronouncements at all.”
  • In The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required), Peter Schmidt reports on two briefs filed in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the challenge to the university’s consideration of race in its undergraduate admissions process, that “accuse long lists of public institutions of defying open-records laws by withholding requested documents that deal with their consideration of applicants’ race.”
  • At, Sam Dorman reports that sixty “legal scholars are urging citizens and government officials to defy the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling, which they said in a statement ‘must be judged anti-constitutional and illegitimate.’”
  • In an essay for the Stanford Law Review Online, Michael Pierce discusses the Court’s recent decisions in Bond v. United States and Yates v. United States, and “suggests that Bond’s majority, along with Yates’s plurality and concurrence, envisioned—or at least practiced—a more active judicial role in curbing overcriminalization.”

 [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, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 13, 2015, 6:45 AM),