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Thursday round-up

Yesterday the Court heard oral arguments in Shapiro v. McManus, in which the Justices are considering whether a district judge can dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) without referring the case for consideration by a three-judge panel.  Coverage comes from Jess Bravin for The Wall Street Journal, while commentary on the case comes from Josh Douglas (who also discusses visiting the Court more generally) at PrawfsBlawg, and Rick Hasen highlights excerpts from the oral arguments in two posts at his Election Law Blog.

And during yesterday’s second oral argument, in Bruce v. Samuels, the question before the Court was whether an indigent prisoner who files a lawsuit in federal court must make monthly installment payments on the filing fees totaling twenty percent of his monthly income, or instead twenty percent of his monthly income per case.  I covered the oral argument for this blog.    

On Tuesday, the Court heard oral arguments in the “crimmigration” case Torres v. Lynch, with this blog’s coverage coming from Steve Vladeck.  And at ImmigrationProf Blog, Nancy Morawetz argues that “[s]ome of the Justices’ questions suggested some lack of understanding about the stakes of the case.”  Tuesday’s other case was Lockhart v. United States, in which a man who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography is challenging his ten-year sentence enhancement based on a prior state conviction.  Evan Lee covered the oral argument for this blog, while Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal reports on how the argument reflected the “competing approaches to statutory interpretation” espoused by Justice Antonin Scalia and Chief Judge Robert Katzmann of the Second Circuit, who wrote the lower court opinion.  And at Slate, Mark Joseph Stern reports that the argument proved to be “a freewheeling conversation about how explicit the government must be when it wants to send people to prison. That turns out to be great news for Lockhart, who finds a champion early on in Justice Antonin Scalia.”

At the National Constitution Center (via Yahoo! News), Lyle Denniston discusses Monday’s argument in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, concluding that “several of the Justices – maybe a majority – are worried that if Congress is given too much leeway to create new rights to sue, it will go overboard, and flood the courts with lawsuits in which no one was really harmed, but for whom Congress had lowered the bar for suing to give them access to the courts.”  Adam Klein weighs in on the case at Lawfare, suggesting that the “Justices’ comments confirm that Spokeo is a case to watch this term, one with potentially far-reaching implications for privacy law and cyber law.”

This week the Court also stayed the execution of a Missouri man who says that the drugs the state would use to execute him could cause painful seizures because he has a benign brain tumor and lost a portion of his brain tissue during surgery to remove a portion of the tumor.  The Associated Press (via Yahoo! News) covered the stay, while Kent Scheidegger weighs in at Crime and Consequences.

Tomorrow the Justices will meet for their November 6 Conference.  One petition that they will consider is Center for Competitive Politics v. Harris, a challenge to a California policy requiring non-profits to disclose the names of their major donors.  In his column for The Washington Post, George Will urges the Court to grant review, while the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal does the same.  At the Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas, Richard Epstein discusses the challenges to abortion restrictions in Mississippi and Texas that the Justices will consider at tomorrow’s Conference and argues that the “Supreme Court would do well to hear both cases, and to affirm the Mississippi decision . . . and overturn the Texas decision . . . , so that all of the restrictions are struck down.”


  • At Medium, Elisabeth Stein discusses a recent series in The New York Times on arbitration and argues that “arbitration is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to corporate-driven threats to consumer, worker, retiree, patient, and other protections that make it harder for everyday Americans to preserve and protect their interests. And nowhere is this threat more real than in the Roberts Court.”

 If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) news article, blog 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 (Nov. 5, 2015, 7:43 AM),