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Monday round-up

Today the Court begins its April sitting – the final set of oral arguments scheduled for this Term.  The George Washington Law Review’s On the Docket previews all of the cases in the April sitting.

Today the Court will hear oral arguments in just one case:  United States v. Texas, the challenge to the Obama administration’s deferred-action policy for certain undocumented immigrants.  Coverage comes from Bill Mears of Fox News, David Savage of the Los Angeles Times, and Jordan Fabian of The Hill, while Dara Lind has an explainer on the case for Vox and Steven Mazie does the same for The Economist.  Cristian Farias and Elise Foley of The Huffington Post report on the three undocumented women on whose behalf a lawyer will argue today, while Lawrence Hurley of Reuters looks at the potential significance of the case for two undocumented immigrants in Baltimore and Houston, Julia Preston of The New York Times does the same for a Virginia family, and Richard Wolf of USA Today reports on an “informal version” of the administration’s policy in place in an Ohio town.  Adam Liptak of The New York Times focuses on Chief Justice John Roberts, noting that “conservatives are nervous that the chief justice will disappoint them again in a challenge to another major Obama initiative, this one on immigration.”

On Wednesday the Justices will hear oral arguments in a challenge by three drivers to state laws that impose criminal penalties for refusal to take a chemical test to measure blood alcohol concentrations.  I previewed the oral argument for this blog, with other coverage coming from Sam Brodey for MinnPost.

Commentary on Zubik v. Burwell, the challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s birth-control mandate and the accommodation offered to religious non-profits that object to the mandate, comes from Paul Smith, who in Newsweek urges the Court not to “trivialize the harm that will be inflicted by any solution that puts roadblocks in the way of employees who need and want free and easily utilized contraceptive coverage”; and Noah Feldman, who at Bloomberg View contends that the supplemental briefs filed last week suggest that “the Supreme Court’s extraordinary effort to bring about a compromise in a contraceptive care case looks like a bust.”  Leland Beck also discusses the briefing (along with United States v. Texas and another case set for argument in the April sitting, Encino Motorcars v. Navarro) at his Federal Regulations Advisor.

Coverage related to the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and the nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland to succeed him comes from Tony Mauro of The National Law Journal (subscription or registration may be required), who reports that the “American Bar Association’s formal evaluation of Judge Merrick Garland’s qualifications for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court is underway and could be completed soon, even though the Senate Judiciary Committee has no plans to hold a hearing on his nomination.”  Seung Min Kim and Burgess Everett of Politico report that, “[d]espite throwing every public-relations tactic at the wall against the GOP, Democrats have little to show so far for their weeks-long campaign to persuade Republican senators to promptly hold a hearing for Garland.”   Elaine Godfrey of The Atlantic looks at why Iowa senator Charles Grassley has no plans to budge on his opposition to the nomination, explaining that the senator “thinks he can win in November because he’s built up enough goodwill among Iowans.”  And at Jost on Justice, Kenneth Jost argues that, “[i]n an earlier era, Garland could have won unanimous confirmation — as Kennedy did in 1988. But today’s Republicans are interested in confrontation, not consensus, with no regard for the effect on the court or its reputation.”


  • The editorial board of The New York Times urges the Court to grant review in the case of an Alabama man sentenced to life in prison “for growing three dozen marijuana plants for his own medicinal use behind his son’s house.”
  • Ryan Felton of The Guardian reports that last week the Sixth Circuit “rejected a constitutional challenge to warrantless collection of cellphone location records, increasing the potential for the US supreme court to consider the legality of the practice.”
  • At Library of Law and Liberty, Mark Pulliam reviews (and criticizes) a recent book by Stephen Gottlieb on the Roberts Court, with a shorter review post at Bench Memos.
  • At his Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen posits that the Court could release its decision in a challenge to Texas’s voter identification law.
  • At PrawfsBlawg, Paul Horwitz discusses the “counter-clerk” – “those clerks that Justice Scalia hired to provide an in-chambers ‘liberal’ view as a lens for examination and criticism of his views or opinion drafts.”
  • In another post at PrawfsBlawg, Rick Garnett links to “what could be — who knows? — the sequel to the Hamilton! craze:  The ‘drunk outlined’ version of the Election of 1800 and Marbury.
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman chronicles a “busy year” for the Office of the Solicitor General at the Court.
  • With the premiere of a new HBO movie on the confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas, Victoria Massie of Vox looks back at the hearings.

Remember, we rely exclusively on our readers to send us links for our round-up.  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., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel on amicus briefs filed in support of the respondents in Zubik.  However, I am not affiliated with the firm.]

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 18, 2016, 5:50 AM),