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Thursday round-up


  • At Lawfare, Steve Vladeck discusses Hernandez v. Mesa, an upcoming case involving liability for a cross-border shooting, arguing that “if a rogue border patrol agent’s unjustified and unauthorized shooting of an unarmed 15-year-old boy implicates national security simply because the government says so, what doesn’t?”
  • At LawNewz, Elura Nanos looks at American Business USA Corp. v. Florida Department of Revenue, a pending cert petition that asks the court to decide whether a state can collect sales tax on online sales of out-of-state products, noting that should “SCOTUS take up the case, it could have significant implications for e-commerce,” and that “a ruling declaring the right of a state to impose tax on an essentially out-of-state transaction is one that goes to the heart of states’ sovereignty.”

  • Tony Mauro reports in that a recent letter to officials of the Smithsonian Institution from Sen. Ted Cruz criticizing the new National Museum of African American History and Culture’s treatment of Justice Clarence Thomas has “raised the temperature on a simmering controversy,” noting that “Thomas has not commented on the controversy, and neither has Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., who serves ex officio as chancellor of the Smithsonian and a member of its board of regents.”
  • At In a Crowded Theater, Erica Goldberg reviews First Mondays, a new podcast “that covers the Court expertly and candidly” and “gives listeners both real talk – addressing the ideological import of cases – and smart talk about the law” that, in her view, serves as a “legitimizing force” for the Supreme Court.
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman surveys the court’s “quiet” term so far, remarking on the slow pace of cert grants, the low word count of the opinions issued to date, and the “serious gridlock in the setting of argument dates in a small set of cases,” and predicting that any “significant change, and likely return back to the Supreme Court of old, will not likely take place until a ninth Justice is seated.”
  • In Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), Tony Mauro talks to one of the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s final group of law clerks, for whom “Scalia’s lesson … was ‘his absolute intellectual rigor—being extremely thorough. And an obsession with getting the right legal answer.’”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 29, 2016, 7:13 AM),