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Friday round-up

On Wednesday, the court extended the briefing schedule in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., a high-profile case arising out of a transgender student’s request to use the boys’ bathroom at his high school. Amy Howe covers the development for this blog. Additional coverage comes from Lyle Denniston at Constitution Daily, who notes that among “other effects of the change will be that the new government of President-elect Donald Trump will get time to decide whether to get involved — and, if it wishes — to change federal policy,” and from Ross Runkel at his eponymous blog, who points out that the “extension might even result in a ninth Justice being confirmed before oral arguments.”

At Vinson & Elkins’ Lincoln’s Law Blog, John Elwood and others discuss Tuesday’s opinion in State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. v. United States ex rel. Rigsby, in which the court ruled that a violation of the seal requirement does not mandate dismissal of a suit brought under the False Claims Act, observing that the “main effect of the Court’s opinion is that it simply put an end to the argument over whether a seal violation mandates dismissal” and that the “precise factors that district courts should consider in exercising their discretion in formulating sanctions for seal violations remain to be hammered out in future cases.” Another look at the decision comes from Lisa Soronen at the International City/County Management Association’s Knowledge Network blog.

At the Associated Press, Kim Chandler reports that Alabama death row inmate Ronald Smith was put to death yesterday in “an execution that required two consciousness tests as the inmate heaved and coughed 13 minutes into the lethal injection,” after the Supreme Court denied his request for a stay. Additional coverage comes from Adam Liptak at The New York Times, who reports that the court’s “four more liberal members” would have voted to grant the stay, noting that they “gave no reasons but presumably believed there was merit to Mr. Smith’s challenge to Alabama’s death penalty system,” under which Smith was “sentenced to death by a judge despite a jury’s recommendation of life without parole.”


  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman analyzes the 24 oral arguments that have occurred so far this term, about a third of the likely total, looking at “which Justices have most successfully articulated their questions and positions and in which arguments.”
  • At Bloomberg BNA, Kimberly Robinson and Patrick Gregory continue to winnow down Donald Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees, winding up with two finalists.
  • At CNN, Joan Biskupic observes that Beckles v. United States, a case argued last week that asks whether a residual clause in the career-offender sentencing guideline is unconstitutionally vague, serves as“a reminder of a counterintuitive part” of the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s “legacy that favored defendants on trial.”

Remember, we rely exclusively on our readers to send us links for our round-up.  If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at]

Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 9, 2016, 7:18 AM),