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Friday round-up

The Justices issued three opinions in argued cases yesterday.  Writing for this blog, Ross Runkel covered the decision in CRST Van Expedited v. EEOC, in which the Court ruled that a favorable ruling on the merits is not a necessary predicate to find that a defendant is a prevailing party for purposes of an award of attorney’s fees under Section 706 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Tony Mauro also covered the ruling for Supreme Court Brief (subscription required); he observed that, by “ruling in favor of awarding legal fees to a company that the government accused of widespread sexual harassment, the U.S. Supreme Court may have been sending a broader message that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission needs to clean up its act.”

In Betterman v. Montana, the Court ruled that the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a speedy trial does not apply to sentencing. Rory Little covered the ruling for this blog; other coverage comes from Adam Liptak of The New York Times and Tara Golshan of Vox, with commentary from Mark Joseph Stern of Slate.

And in Luna Torres v. Lynch, the Court held that a state offense counts as an “aggravated felony” for purposes of Section 1101(a)(43) of the Immigration and Nationality Act when it has every element of a listed federal crime except one requiring a connection to interstate or foreign commerce.  Steve Vladeck covered the decision for this blog, with commentary from Michael Kagan at the Yale Journal on Regulation’s Notice and Comment blog.

More coverage of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees comes from Josh Gerstein of Politico, Ben Kamisar and Lydia Wheeler of The Hill, Andrew Rafferty of NBC News, Robin Bravender for Greenwire, Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones, and Ed Kilgore of New York.  Commentary comes from Ian Millhiser for Think Progress and Steven Mazie of The Economist.

Coverage relating to the nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia comes from Seung Min Kim of Politico, who reports on Wednesday’s “nomination hearing without the hearing or the nominee,” organized by Democratic senators.  In The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis reports on efforts by House Democrats to “force Congress to remain in session through the summer recess — and hence the national party conventions — if the Senate has not held hearings on a pending Supreme Court nomination by July 19.”  Commentary comes from Justice Watch, which maps “existing circuit splits in cases currently pending before the Supreme Court” and argues that the maps “demonstrate the variety and importance of the issues at stake, including reproductive freedom, the death penalty, separation of church and state, class actions and access to courts, and racial bias in the decisions of criminal juries.”  The editorial board of The Kansas City Star also weighs in, arguing that, if “Republicans don’t find Garland worthy, let them go on record with a vote against him.”

More commentary on Monday’s ruling in Zubik v. Burwell, the challenge to the Obama administration’s birth-control mandate and the accommodation offered to religious non-profits, comes from Marci Hamilton at Hamilton and Griffin on Rights and Matt Bowman in an op-ed for Washington Examiner.

Commentary on Monday’s decision in Spokeo v. Robins, in which the Court sent a Virginia man’s lawsuit against the search engine Spokeo back to the Ninth Circuit, comes from Daniel Solove for The George Washington Law Review’s On the Docket and Patricia Moore at Civil Procedure and Federal Courts Blog.


  • At the NCSL Blog, Lisa Soronen analyzes Monday’s decision in Sheriff v. Gillie, describing it as “the kind of case U.S. Supreme Court justices must dream about deciding, especially when the court is short a justice: straightforward, noncontroversial, and easy to agree on.”
  • At The Marshall Project, Beth Schwartzapfel discusses whether, contrary to the Court’s suggestion, “parole boards, as they usually operate, may not be capable of providing a meaningful opportunity for release” for juveniles serving life sentences.

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 [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.  However, I am not affiliated with the firm.]

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (May. 20, 2016, 10:20 AM),