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Monday round-up

In advance of the start of the Supreme Court’s October Term 2016 this morning, previews of the term abound. In The Washington Post, Robert Barnes reports that the term will begin “with the focus not on the court’s docket but on the court itself and a future that will be defined by the presidential election.” For Constitution Daily, Lyle Denniston notes that although “the court has chosen, as of now, three dozen cases for decision during the new term, not one of those cases rises to the level of some of the major controversies that have been before it in recent terms.” Another preview comes from Stephanie Mencimer at Mother Jones, who remarks that this term, instead of “culture wars and political jousting, there will be cases involving cheerleading uniforms, patents for incontinence products, banks behaving badly, and a goldendoodle named Wonder.” Adam Liptak of The New York Times observes that, although there are as yet no “blockbusters” on the court’s agenda, the justices will still be handling “a volatile docket studded with timely cases on race, religion and immigration.”

Dahlia Lithwick offers another preview in Slate (podcast), while Lawrence Hurley reports on the new term for Reuters, observing that the court will start the term “in uncharted territory, with a vacancy on the bench on a presidential Election Day now certain for the first time since Abraham Lincoln won re-election in 1864 at the height of the Civil War.” In USA Today, Richard Wolf observes that the “Supreme Court that begins its 2016 term Monday stands at the threshold of an ideological transformation unmatched in nearly a half century,” and identifies seven areas of the law that “likely would be altered over time by a new, nine-member court.” Ballotpedia maps the cases on the docket, showing where they originated geographically. At Jost on Justice, Ken Jost notes the “poor reviews” for the court’s thin docket, but notes that “cases still in the pipeline may add to the interest and the legal stakes before the term ends next June.”

More Supreme Court previews focus on particular areas of the law. In Education Week, Mark Walsh surveys the cases on the docket that involve education-related issues, noting that “for K-12 education, the new term may be the most significant in years.” Tony Mauro in (subscription required) highlights several business cases to watch. In the Civil Procedure and Federal Courts Blog, Adam Steinman looks at several cases among the court’s recent cert grants that involve civil procedure or federal courts issues. Hampton Pearson at CNBC profiles upcoming cases that present “issues front-and-center to investors and the business community.”

In the ABA Journal, Mark Walsh discusses Buck v. Davis, in which the court will decide whether a Texas death row inmate can overcome procedural obstacles preventing him from challenging his death sentence on the ground that his own lawyer presented an “expert witness who predicted the future dangerousness of the defendant based in part on the fact that Buck is African-American.” And in an op-ed for CNN, Linda Geffin, one of the prosecutors at Buck’s trial, urges the court “to remedy this racial bias,” arguing that it “is time to acknowledge the mistakes made in Buck’s case and finally ensure that he receives justice.” Two more former prosecutors, Gerald Kogan and Tim Cole, second this view in an op-ed in The Washington Post, arguing that this “is an extraordinary case that demands extraordinary relief.”

Greg Stohr at Bloomberg looks at Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman, which the court agreed last week to review, describing this challenge to a New York law governing how merchants can label credit card fees as “a free-speech clash with big stakes for retailers and credit-card companies.” More coverage of the case comes from Tony Mauro at (subscription required).

In an op-ed for The New York Times, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg offers advice drawn from her career and personal life, crediting the counsel of her “savvy mother-in-law” that in “’every good marriage” “’it helps sometimes to be a little bit deaf’” with easing Ginsburg’s way at home and in the workplace. Commentary on Ginsburg’s essay comes from Sarah Kliff at Vox.


  • At Reason, Damien Root discusses Manuel v. City of Joliet, to be argued this week, a case involving whether, when, and how malicious prosecution suits can be brought under the Fourth Amendment, arguing that “Manuel deserves access to this critical safeguard so that he may seek to vindicate his Fourth Amendment rights in federal court.”
  • At Constitution Daily, Scott Bomboy previews Murr v. Wisconsin, which asks the court to clarify the definition of a “parcel as a whole” in order to decide when a government regulation amounts to a taking of property that requires compensation under the Fifth Amendment.
  • Coverage of last week’s cert grant in Lee v. Tam, the challenge by a rock band called The Slants to the government’s refusal to trademark the band’s name, comes from the BBC and from Lydia Wheeler at The Hill.
  • At the Cato Institute, Ilya Shapiro and colleagues summarize a friend of the court brief filed by Cato in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., urging the court to grant review in a case involving a transgender student who wants to use the boys’ bathroom at his high school, arguing that the lower court should not have deferred to an interpretation of federal regulations provided “through an informal, unpublished letter written by a low-level bureaucrat.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 3, 2016, 7:56 AM),