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Tuesday round-up

Today the Court will hear oral arguments in two cases.  At issue in Simmons v. Himmelreich is when a court’s dismissal of an inmate’s Federal Tort Claims Act bars a parallel Bivens claim.  Steven Schwinn previewed the case for this blog, with other coverage from law students Alexander Gray and Tina Zheng at Cornell’s Legal Information Institute.  In Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust, the Court will consider whether federal bankruptcy law preempts a Puerto Rico law intended to allow the commonwealth’s public utilities to restructure their debts.  Lyle Denniston previewed the case for this blog, with other coverage from Greg Stohr and Michelle Kaske of Bloomberg Politics and from law students Kelsey MacElroy and Katie Marren at Cornell.

Yesterday the Court also heard oral arguments in two cases:  Wittman v. Personhuballah, the challenge to a Virginia congressional district; and RJR Nabisco v. European Community, in which the Court is considering whether and to what extent RICO applies outside the United States.  Lyle Denniston covered the oral argument in Wittman for this blog, while I did the same for RJR.

The Court also issued orders from its March 18 Conference, adding one new case to its merits docket for next Term and issuing a per curiam decision in Caetano v. Massachusetts, overturning the conviction of a Massachusetts woman for carrying a stun gun to protect against her abusive ex-partner.  Lyle Denniston covered today’s orders for this blog, while Adam Liptak did the same for The New York Times, with coverage of Caetano from NPR’s Nina Totenberg.  The Justices also announced that they would not rule on a challenge by Nebraska and other states to Colorado’s marijuana law; coverage of that order comes from Tony Mauro in The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required).

Tomorrow the Court will hear oral arguments in Zubik v. Burwell, the challenge to the accommodation offered to religious non-profit groups that do not wish to provide access to birth control for their female employees and students.  A preview comes from Bill Mears of Fox News, with commentary from Leslie Griffin at Hamilton and Griffin on Rights, Greg Lipper at Bill of Health Blog and Doug Laycock in The Washington Post.

Coverage relating to the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia comes from Adam Liptak in The New York Times, David Cohen of Politico, Eric Lipton of The New York Times, Amber Phillips of The Washington Post (with another story here), Harper Neidig of The Hill, and  Kristen East of Politico.

Commentary comes from Ian Millhiser at Think Progress, E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post, Rick Hasen at his Election Law Blog, Andrew Koppelman in Salon, Amy Davidson in The New Yorker, and Jeffrey Toobin for The New Yorker.


  • At Liberty Blog, Deborah LaFetra discusses the amicus brief that the Pacific Legal Foundation filed in Microsoft v. Baker, “urging the Court to put a stop to this end-run around the final judgment rule.”
  • At the Brandeis Center, Dawinder Sidhu gives Justice Samuel Alito “significant credit” for his dissent from the denial of review in the case of a Jewish inmate who was denied permission to hold a religious study group.
  • In an op-ed for The Capital Press, Damien Schiff looks ahead to next week’s oral arguments in S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., urging the Court to “rule that jurisdictional determinations, like compliance orders, merit immediate judicial review.

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]

[Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., is among the counsel on an amicus brief in support of the respondents in Zubik. However, I am not affiliated with the firm.]

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 22, 2016, 6:39 AM),