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Tuesday round-up

Yesterday the Court heard oral arguments in two cases:  Voisine v. United States and the judicial-recusal case Williams v. Pennsylvania.  Richard Re covered the oral argument in Williams for this blog, with other coverage from Tony Mauro for The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required) and Danielle Blevins of Talk Media News; Nina Totenberg previewed the case for NPR.  At Constitutional Law Prof Blog, Ruthann Robson concludes that “there does seem to be a belief among a majority of Justices that the judicial ethical rules alone are not protecting due process.”  And in another post at Constitutional Law Prof Blog, Robson focuses on the “constitutional turn” that the argument took in Voisine.

But much of the coverage and commentary related to yesterday’s arguments focused on Justice Clarence Thomas, who ended a decade-long period in which he did not ask any questions.  Coverage comes from Tony Mauro for The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Sam Hananel of the Associated Press, Danielle Blevins of Talk Media News, Richard Wolf of USA Today, Ariane de Vogue of CNN, Adam Liptak of The New York Times, and Cristian Farias of The Huffington Post, while in his column for The Atlantic Garrett Epps characterizes Thomas’s questions yesterday as “powerful evidence that the Court today is a different place than it was on February 12.” 

Other coverage and commentary center on the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and the possible confirmation battle ahead.  At Bloomberg Politics, Greg Stohr reports that, as “Senate Republicans work to block any nominee from President Barack Obama, Chief Justice John Roberts and his colleagues will be deciding whether to smooth over the difficulties that come with an eight-member court, or shine a spotlight on them.”  In The New York Times, Gardiner Harris discusses the possibility that some possible candidates to succeed Scalia might not want the nomination, while Peter Baker observes that the president “arrives at this fight with a complicated history with the court.”  At Blue Mass Group, David Kravitz suggests that the president should nominate a sitting Democratic senator from a state with a Republican governor — so that, by confirming the nomination, Mitch McConnell would gain an extra Republican vote in the Senate.

At ImmigrationProf Blog, Sadie Weller compiles Scalia’s major immigration opinions, concluding that, “although Justice Scalia was never one to hide his political views, his firmly held legal principles about statutory interpretation and deference to agency action, deeply influenced his immigration opinions.”

This morning the Justices will hear oral arguments in two new cases.  I previewed the bankruptcy-fraud case Husky International Electronics v. Ritz for this blog, with other coverage coming from Sonia Gupta and Jennie Howarth at Cornell’s Legal Information Institute.  Evan Lee previewed the sex-offender-registration case Nichols v. United States for us, while Jason Ottomano and Tyler Vanderventer do the same for Cornell.

Still more Court-related coverage and commentary look ahead to Wednesday’s challenge to Texas abortion regulations.  Coverage comes from Bill Mears and Fox News, while Leslie Griffin previews the case at Hamilton and Griffin on Rights, arguing that, if the Court were to “rule that courts must defer to such bans, it will certainly have profound implications for women’s health and safety.” In The Atlantic, Garrett Epps suggests that, whatever “one thinks of abortion, what the Fifth Circuit has done is beyond disrespectful to Supreme Court precedent; it verges on old-fashioned defiance.”  At ACSblog, Eric Segall argues that, unless the Court “is going to reverse current law and return the issue of abortion to the states, both Texas laws should be struck down and a signal sent to the rest of the country that sham anti-choice legislation passed for no purpose other than to make it harder for women to secure safe, affordable abortions will not be tolerated by our highest Court.”  And at Human Rights at Home Blog, Cynthia Soohoo contends that “[i]nternational human rights law could provide a useful perspective to aid the Court in its deliberations if the newly constituted Court is open to considering it.”

Yesterday the Court issued orders from its February 26 Conference – the first such orders sice Justice Scalia’s death.  Lyle Denniston covered those orders for this blog.  At Education Week’s School Law Blog, Mark Walsh reports on yesterday’s denial of review in education-related cases.  At Forbes, Daniel Fisher reports that a “California law that allows the state to seize unclaimed property after three years without making much of an attempt to contact the owners will not be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court, but Justice Samuel Alito warned that such laws could face a serious constitutional challenge in the future.”  And at Crime and Consequences, Kent Scheidegger discusses the denial of review in the case of death-row inmate Joseph Duncan.

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 1, 2016, 6:39 AM),