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Wednesday round-up

Today the Court will hear oral arguments in the challenge by former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell to his fraud convictions.  Lyle Denniston previewed the case for this blog; other coverage comes from NPR’s Nina Totenberg, David Savage of the Los Angeles Times, and law student Ben Einhouse for Cornell’s Legal Information Institute.  Commentary comes from Garrett Epps, who in his column for The Atlantic argues that the “disgraced ex-governor is asking the Court to expand the First Amendment—already stretched beyond recognition by its application to the open use of money in politics—into a safeguard for any elected officeholder canny enough to disguise ever-so-slightly the exchange of money for favors.”

Yesterday the Court issued its decision in Heffernan v. City of Paterson, holding that, when an employer demotes an employee out of a desire to prevent the employee from engaging in protected political activity, the employee can challenge that demotion even if the employer’s actions are based on a factual mistake about the employee’s behavior.  Howard Wasserman covered the ruling for this blog, with other coverage coming from NPR’s Nina Totenberg, Mark Walsh of Education Week, Lydia Wheeler of The Hill, and Ross Runkel at his eponymous blog.  Commentary on the decision comes from Ruthann Robson at Constitutional Law Prof Blog and Justin Sadowsky at Dubitante; Howard Wasserman has more on the ruling at PrawfsBlawg.

Coverage related to the nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia comes from Mike DeBonis of The Washington Post, Jennifer Bendery of The Huffington Post, and The National Law Review,


  • In Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), Tony Mauro reports that “Lisa Blatt, head of Arnold & Porter’s appellate and Supreme Court practice, leapfrogged over the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to get her petition in the Washington Redskins trademark dispute before the justices,” using an “unusual strategy invoked a rarely used rule of the Supreme Court that allows parties to seek certiorari before an appeals court has ruled.”
  • In another post at Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), Mauro reports that a “case before the U.S. Supreme Court that posed a novel claim of gender discrimination in the military has been sidelined after the government initiated talks to settle the case.”
  • Elsewhere at Supreme Court Brief, Mauro reports on a recent panel discussion featuring several authors with recent books – both fiction and non-fiction – about the Court.
  • In a speech at Washington University, retired Justice John Paul Stevens discussed (among other things) his relationship with the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Mauro covered the speech for The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required).

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 for the respondents in Heffernan.  However, I am not affiliated with the firm.]

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 27, 2016, 6:19 AM),