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Thursday round-up

At his eponymous blog, Lyle Denniston reports that Roy Moore, the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, yesterday attempted “to stop same-sex marriage licensing throughout the state.”  Other coverage of Moore’s actions comes from Mike Cason of; commentary comes from Marty Lederman at Balkinization and Howard Wasserman at PrawfsBlawg.

There is still more commentary on Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the challenge to the requirement that public employees who decline to join the union that represents them nonetheless pay a fee to cover their share of the costs of collective bargaining.   At The University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog, Daniel Hemel contends that, even if the Court agrees with the challengers, “public-sector employers in sympathetic states still will be able to ensure that unions are reimbursed for their collective bargaining costs (including the cost of representing nonmembers). They just might have to take a different (and more straightforward) approach than the agency shop.”  In an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune, Mark Janus – a plaintiff in a similar case in Illinois – argues that, if lead plaintiff Rebecca Friedrichs “wins her case, it would mean freedom for government workers like me.” At National Review’s Bench Memos, Robert Alto has a two-part series responding to Justice Elena Kagan’s dissent in Harris v. Quinn, in which the Court previously considered (but did not decide) the question now before the Court.

A post at Immigration Prof Blog discusses the challenge to the Obama administration’s immigration policy and concludes that “there is little question that the Supreme Court will grant the U.S. government’s petition for certiorari.”  At Crime and Consequences, Kent Scheidegger observes that the federal government has a high rate of success with its petitions for review, which could “make[] it considerably easier” for the Court to grant another petition, in a “challenge to the effective nullification of large portions of immigration law through nonenforcement.”


  • In his column in The Washington Post, George Will weighs in on the case of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, whose petition for review the Justices will consider on Friday. Will argues that McDonnell has been “sentenced to prison for actions that he could not have reasonably anticipated would be declared felonies under a dangerous judicial expansion of federal law defining bribery of public officials.”
  • In the New Republic, David Gans argues that, if Justice Anthony Kennedy were to apply his reasoning from last Term’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges “to the Supreme Court’s blockbuster abortion case this term, Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, it may mark the fulfillment of a constitutional vision Justice Ginsburg expressed more than 30 years ago.”
  • At casetext, Leah Litman and Luke Beasley suggest that, although “the arguments for why the Supreme Court should ‘make’” last Term’s decision in Johnson v. United Statesretroactive have focused on the three circuits where prisoners are being denied permission to file successive petitions,” that focus “is a mistake.”

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 7, 2016, 6:11 AM),