Coverage and commentary center on Donald Trump’s likely pick to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. At NPR, Nina Totenberg notes that Trump “doesn’t want surprises” and that the names on his list of potential nominees “range from very conservative to very, very conservative,” although “some of the most well-known conservative judges and lawyers in the country aren’t on the list.” In The New York Times, Adam Liptak surveys Trump’s list, concluding that it “manages both to reassure the conservative legal establishment and to represent a rebellion against it.” For CNN, Joan Biskupic discusses the political and other factors affecting the nomination and confirmation process; after surveying the ups and downs of some relatively recent Republican Supreme Court nominations, she concludes that a “president’s first choice may not be the final choice.” In The Hill, Lydia Wheeler looks at some possible nominees, assesses the likely response of Senate Democrats to a Trump nomination, and observes that while “liberal groups are fearful for the future, they note that Trump does not yet have the chance to dramatically reshape the court.” In The Economist, Steven Mazie evaluates Trump’s remarks about the court during an interview with Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes,” observing that putting “the specific issues of guns, marriage and abortion to one side, Ms Stahl missed an opportunity to ask Mr Trump a more basic question: how he justifies politicising the Supreme Court in ways no presidential candidate, or president-elect, ever has.”

At CNN, Ariane de Vogue reports that after Chief Judge Merrick Garland returns to his job on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, probably sometime in January, “he will be remembered by liberals as the nominee whose seat on the Supreme Court was stolen by Republican senators.” But the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times urges the Senate to forestall that eventuality by confirming Garland before the end of President Barack Obama’s term, arguing that by waiting for a more conservative nominee in the upcoming Trump administration, Sen. Mitch “McConnell will achieve a short-term political gain at the cost of long-term damage to the court and to the traditions of bipartisan comity to which he often has paid homage.”


  • In Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), Tony Mauro reports on a recent study that identifies a number of cases, many relatively early in Justice Clarence Thomas’ tenure on the Supreme Court bench, in which the justice asked questions during oral argument, belying the “’Silent Thomas’ narrative.”
  • At the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Liberty Blog, Jonathan Wood discusses the pending cert petition in Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, a case that turns on whether a federal statute can prevent New Jersey from repealing a ban on sports betting, arguing that “the Third Circuit’s decision is a significant threat to the federalism enshrined in our Constitution” and that because “of the principle at stake, this case is about far more than just sports gambling in New Jersey.”
  • The Fashion Law identifies five of “the most glaring inaccuracies” and “unfinished narratives” that it states have pervaded coverage of and commentary on Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, a case argued earlier this month that involves the use of copyright to protect functional objects, such as the designs on a cheerleading uniform.
  • The World and Everything In It (podcast ) features discussions of two cases argued during the court’s November sitting: State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. United States ex rel Rigsby, which involves the effect on a lawsuit under the False Claims Act of a violation of the act’s seal requirement, and Lynch v. Morales-Santana, an equal protection challenge to a federal nationality statute that sets different standards for transmitting citizenship to a child born abroad to unmarried parents depending on whether the mother or the father was a U.S. citizen.

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Nov. 16, 2016, 6:57 AM),