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Thursday round-up

Analysis of Tuesday’s oral argument in Bravo-Fernandez v. United States, a double jeopardy case, comes from Rory Little for this blog. Robert Barnes covered the argument for The Washington Post, as did Mark Sherman and Sam Hananel for the Associated Press. In The Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin reports on Tuesday’s oral argument in the federal bank fraud case Shaw v. United States, during which Justice Stephen Breyer drew from popular culture headlines with a hypothetical question based on “the recent Kim Kardashian jewelry heist in Paris.” Cristian Farias at the Huffington Post also mentions the Kardashian hypothetical in his coverage of the arguments in Shaw.

On Wednesday, the court heard argument in Salman v. United States, an insider trading case; Amy Howe analyzed the argument for this blog. Daniel Fisher at Forbes, Richard Wolf at USA Today, Lyle Denniston at his eponymous blog, and Tony Mauro at (subscription or registration required) also covered the argument. More coverage of Salman comes from Michael Bobelian at Forbes, who observes that the case has “the potential for the Court to change the contours of what constitutes insider trading for the first time in decades,” and Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux at Five-Thirty-Eight, who examines how insider trading affects the economy.

The next entry on Wednesday’s argument calendar was Buck v. Davis, a death penalty case involving racial bias and ineffective assistance of counsel; Amy Howe provides the argument analysis for this blog. Additional coverage of the argument in Buck comes from Richard Wolf in USA Today, Nina Totenberg at NPR, Adam Liptak at The New York Times, and Lyle Denniston at his eponymous blog.

In the Christian Science Monitor, Henry Gass reports on Buck, noting that the case “raises stark questions about whether the court’s efforts to reform the death penalty 40 years ago have been fully realized.” Commentary on Buck comes from Sarah Craft at Equal Justice USA, who argues that “it wasn’t merely systemic bias that tainted his case, but also his own lawyer’s actions.” Stephanie Mencimer at Mother Jones reports that Duane Buck’s counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund litigation director Christina Swarns, is the one of “fewer than half a dozen black women who’ve argued cases” before the Supreme Court “since 1999.”

An overview of the new term comes from David Cohen at Rolling Stone, who observes that although “for most non-law professors, the cases on tap are real snoozefests,” “for reasons separate from the actual cases before the Court, this year could be one of the most consequential in recent history.” And at Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman breaks down this week’s arguments based on the amount of time spent speaking by each justice, noting that “we may have a shift in the most dominant Justices at oral argument.”


  • In OC Lawyer, Rick Hasen surveys Supreme Court election law jurisprudence and discusses “how the upcoming new Supreme Court majority may set the ground rules for our democracy.”
  • In Law360 (registration required), Andrew Melzer analyzes recent Supreme Court decisions involving the Federal Arbitration Act and argues that these rulings have “elevated the FAA to the status of a superstatute that can be manipulated by corporate defendants to effectively obliterate the substantive rights of employees, consumers and other individuals.”
  • The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette carries an obituary of Roslyn Litman, a prominent labor lawyer who served on the national board of the American Civil Liberties Union and who “took Allegheny County to the Supreme Court over its Christmas displays in the City-County Building and courthouse.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 6, 2016, 7:37 AM),