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Friday round-up

Yesterday, the Supreme Court added eight cases to its docket for the upcoming term. Amy Howe covered the orders for this blog. Additional coverage comes from Matt Ford at The Atlantic and Lyle Denniston at Constitution Daily. At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman points out several notable ways in which the new grants add to the “emerging picture” of the next term.

Mark Walsh in Education Week reports on the grant in Endrew F. v. Douglas City School District, which involves “the level of education benefit a child must receive for a school district to have provided an appropriate level of service under the main federal special education law.” In The Denver Post, John Aguilar reports that the Colorado family who brought the case “were ‘shell-shocked and giddy’” about the court’s decision to review “their case, which has dragged on for half a dozen years.” ImmigrationProf Blog discusses Lynch v. Dimaya, a case asking whether the statutory definition of a “crime of violence” under federal immigration law is unconstitutionally vague. Ruthann Robson at Constitutional Law Prof Blog reports that the court “has added two notable First Amendment speech cases to its docket.” In his eponymous blog, Ross Runkel discusses McLane v. EEOC, a case involving the standard of review courts of appeals should use “when reviewing district courts’ decisions to quash or enforce EEOC subpoenas.”

A preview of key cases on the court’s docket, including today’s grant in Lee v. Tam, which asks whether “a key section of the federal trademark law banning ‘offensive’ names” constitutes “an unconstitutional restraint of speech,” comes from Bill Mears at Fox News. Robert Barnes also reports in The Washington Post on the court’s decision to review the trademark case, noting that the outcome will have “direct implications for the Washington Redskins in their fight to defend their famous team name,” as does Adam Liptak in The New York Times. Additional coverage of the case, and of another grant in a “free-speech dispute involving fees charged to merchants who accept credit cards,” comes from David Savage at the Los Angeles Times.

A National Constitution Center podcast and a video of a Supreme Court preview event held by the Federalist Society both offer overviews of the upcoming term. In an opinion piece for the Brennan Center for Justice, Andrew Cohen surveys the criminal cases on the court’s docket “that will help shape the contours of the roiling national debate over criminal justice.”

For CNN, Joan Biskupic reports on the success of Senator Mitch McConnell’s decision to block Senate action on the nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the court, noting that the “Obama administration’s efforts to reignite interest in the Supreme Court nominee fizzled” and that “no mention of the shorthanded court was made in Monday’s debate.” At NPR, Nina Totenberg takes a look at the intersection between the nomination controversy and the election, noting that “most voters don’t rank the Supreme Court high as an issue,” but that whoever wins in November could affect the workings of the court for a generation.

In Medium, Judith Schaeffer weighs in on Senate Republicans’ refusal to act on Garland’s nomination, noting that until “now, the longest the Senate has ever taken to vote on a Supreme Court nominee after one had been named was 125 days,” and that months “after shattering that record, the Senate hasn’t even given Merrick Garland a hearing, let alone a vote.” At Fox News, Bill Mears reports that “some on the court worry an eight-member bench will shy from fully deciding contentious cases — opting to rule on narrow aspects, or splitting evenly where no binding precedent is established.” Erwin Chemerinsky, in a column for the Orange County Register, adds his voice to the chorus criticizing the Senate’s inaction, handicapping the chances for a Garland confirmation and declaring that having “only eight justices seriously hinders the ability of the court to do its job.”


  • At Constitution Daily, Scott Bomboy previews Fry v. Napoleon County Schools, a controversy “over the rights of a disabled child’s parents to sue a public school receiving federal funding after the school wouldn’t allow the child to bring a service dog to school to help her during her classes.”
  • At The Atlantic, Garrett Epps examines Buck v. Davis, next week’s case involving a Texas death row inmate who “is asking the Court to void his death sentence and order a new sentencing hearing because the jury heard testimony that Buck, a black man, was more dangerous than he would have been if he had been white.”
  • For The Associated Press, Maryclaire Dale reports that a “second petition has been filed asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reject the $1 billion settlement of NFL concussion lawsuits because of how it treats current brain injuries versus future ones.”
  • Perry Cooper at Bloomberg BNA surveys pending petitions for Supreme Court review that involve class actions, noting that so far “the Supreme Court doesn’t appear on track to continue its focus on” issues with class action implications.

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Sep. 30, 2016, 8:15 AM),