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Monday round-up

On Friday the Justices met for their October 30 Conference.  Shortly after the Conference was over, they granted one new case:  Voisine v. United States, a challenge by two Maine men to their convictions for possession of a firearm after a domestic violence conviction.  I covered the order for this blog, while Kent Scheidegger discusses the grant at Crime and Consequences.

Today the Justices will hear oral arguments in two cases.  First up is Foster v. Chatman, the case of a Georgia death-row inmate who argues that prosecutors’ exclusion of all of the African Americans in the jury pool from his trial ran afoul of the Court’s 1986 decision in Batson v. Kentucky.  Lyle Denniston previewed the argument for this blog, while in an op-ed for The New York Times Larry Thompson argues that, if the Supreme Court “cannot establish discrimination in this case, then the lofty language of Batson rings hollow.”  In a post at casetext, Anna Roberts similarly contends that Foster’s case “illustrates much of what ails our criminal justice system.”

In the second case today, Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, the Justices will consider whether a lawsuit against an Internet “people search engine” can go forward when the plaintiff’s claim is that the company violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by publishing erroneous information about him, without any assertion of “real world” harm.  I previewed the case for this blog, with other coverage coming from David Savage of the Los Angeles Times and Lawrence Hurley of Reuters.  Gilad Edelman also discusses the case at Washington Monthly, suggesting that the legal question in the case “isn’t really whether someone can sue without showing a real-world injury. The real question is, who decides what counts as an injury in the first place: judges or Congress?”  And the Vanderbilt Law Review’s online companion hosts a “roundtable” on the case.

Robin Bravender of E&E News reports on an American Bar Association environmental conference, at which experts predicted “that the Supreme Court will review a major water case in what may become the court’s biggest environmental battle of this term.”  In a second post on the conference (subscription required), Bravender reports on comments by Richard Lazarus, who suggests that the Justices “dread taking on the complex cases that make environmental attorneys swoon.”

  • In The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro reports on Justice Samuel Alito’s “unusual discussion at the National Archives with Yale Law School professor Akhil Amar”; among other things, Alito told Amar that Maryanne Trump Barry, the sister of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, “was wonderful to work for.”
  • Elsewhere at Crime and Consequences, Kent Scheidegger weighs in on the Court’s denial of a stay to a Florida death-row inmate; he suggests that, no matter what “the Court may decide on the merits in”Hurst v. Florida, argued last month, “we can be confident that” the Court’s decision in Schriro v. Summerlin “is safe.  Seven Justices would not have let Florida go ahead and execute Correll if they thought otherwise.”
  • In an op-ed for The National Law Journal, Rick Hasen discusses new revelations about the Court’s 2009 decision holding “that $3 million in independent spending supporting a candidate for the West Virginia Supreme Court by a litigant with a $50 million case before that Court created enough of a problem with ingratiation and access to require the judge to recuse himself from hearing that case”; those revelations, he argues, show that Justice Anthony Kennedy was correct in the case “to be concerned about the troubling role of big money in securing ingratiation and access with elected officials, a lesson which he should have carried over toCitizens United.”
  • The Citizens Guide to the Supreme Court discusses last month’s oral argument in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez and class actions more generally.

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 (Nov. 2, 2015, 6:00 AM),