- In The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin remarks that during Justice Clarence Thomas’ 25 years on the court, the justice has never been assigned to write a majority opinion in a controversial case, perhaps because “Thomas is not a conservative but, rather, a radical—one whose entire career on the Court has been devoted to undermining the rules of precedent in favor of his own idiosyncratic interpretation of the Constitution.”
- At the Associated Press, Bruce Schreiner reports that, at an appearance at the University of Louisville, Justice Elena Kagan “downplayed the role of gender when it comes to deciding cases,” but suggested that gender diversity on the Supreme Court “sends a positive message to young girls and boys, who hear ‘women’s voices coming from all over the place’ as the three female justices join in asking questions during oral arguments.”
- At Justia’s Verdict blog, Joanna Grossman surveys developments in same-sex marriage parentage law after the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges striking down state-law bans on same-sex marriage, observing that although “there has been no big splash in the wake of Obergefell, there are discernible ripples,” and concluding that “the trend toward greater recognition of the same-sex co-parent is unmistakable.”
- At Sidebars, Randall Eliason discusses Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, a case argued in the October sitting that pits the rule barring post-trial impeachment of jury verdicts against allegations of racial bias on the part of a juror, noting that the “case presents difficult line-drawing questions and raises fears of a number of proverbial slippery slopes” and that he does not “envy the Justices trying to craft a rule that will give defendants like Mr. Peña-Rodriguez a remedy without completely gutting the sound policy against impeaching jury verdicts that has existed since the country’s founding.”
- In Education Week, Mark Walsh takes a look at Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, a case to be argued next week stemming from a school district’s refusal to allow a disabled child to bring her service dog to school with her; though the court will decide only the technical question of “whether the Fry family must exhaust administrative remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act before they can pursue their suit for damages under the other federal disabilities laws,” a “victory for the Frys in the case would mean a revival of their lawsuit and the chance to have the courts declare” that children with special needs can bring their service dogs to school. A video story, including interviews with the child’s family, is here.
- At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman surveys a range of potential Supreme Court nominees in a hypothetical Hillary Clinton presidency, using several criteria to narrow the field and producing a list of five top candidates, headed by Judge Sri Srinivasan, in addition to current nominee Chief Judge Merrick Garland.
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