Breaking News

Friday round-up

Kelsey Stein of reports that “the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling Thursday night denying a request from the Alabama attorney general,” voting four to four to leave in place a stay of execution for death row inmate Vernon Madison. Mark Berman of The Washington Post also covered the stay, noting that had Justice Scalia still been alive, “it seems likely that Scalia would have voted to lift the stay.”

Other coverage focuses on the effects of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia on the Court. Kimberly Robinson of Bloomberg BNA examines some of those possible consequences, including fewer cert. grants, more narrowly decided decisions, and “some interesting bedfellows” in vote breakdowns. And Patrick Gregory of Bloomberg BNA examines a recent CRS report contrasting Scalia and Chief Judge Merrick Garland, noting several areas of law that highlight “significant differences” between them.

The relationship between the ongoing presidential election and the Supreme Court is also generating commentary. In her column for The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse examines the narrative that holds Chief Justice Roberts “responsible for the ascendancy of Donald Trump”, focusing particularly on the “bitter criticism for his failure to vote to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.” And in The Huffington Post, Bill Blum considers what a President Trump’s legal agenda would look like and whom he might nominate to the Supreme Court


  • In New Republic, Brianne Gorod considers “4 big Supreme Court cases you probably haven’t heard about” that are still awaiting decisions.
  • Tony Mauro of the The National Law Journal (subscription required) covers Justice Kagan’s push back against the Chief Justice’s “infamous putdown of law reviews as filled with useless writings.”
  • Tony Mauro of The National Law Journal (subscription required) also looked at who argued at the Supreme Court this term, noting a trend of a “concentration of Supreme Court arguments in the hands of law firms with specialty Supreme Court practices.” He also observed that “only seven women not on the staff of government entities argued any cases at all.”
  • In the Washington Examiner, David Cortman and Gregory Baylor consider the stakes for religious organizations in Zubik v. Burwell, which they believe may lead to undesirable consequences such as coverage of elective surgical abortions, arguing that “religious freedom itself in many ways hangs in the balance.”
  • For The National Law Journal (subscription required), Richard Hasen writes that if the Supreme Court votes in favor of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, “it’s not likely to open the door to ‘legalized corruption.’ Instead a ruling for McDonnell can be an important step to avoid the unfortunate criminalization of ordinary politics.”
  • Lawrence Hurley and Nick Brown of Reuters look at the potential effects on Congress of a ruling on Puerto Rico’s law that restructures their debt.

[Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel on an amicus brief in support of the respondents in Zubik v. Burwell.]

Recommended Citation: Molly Runkle, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (May. 13, 2016, 11:12 AM),