Breaking News

Thursday round-up

At Politico, Seung Min Kim and Burgess Everett report that liberal groups “are urging the senators to ramp up their fight against” Judge Neil Gorsuch in advance of next week’s Senate confirmation hearing. At Roll Call, Kate Ackley reports that “Democratic lawmakers and liberal interest groups are intensifying their pressure on senators to probe Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s views on campaign finance law,” in the belief that focusing on campaign finance “would give moderate Democrats, in particular, a reason to oppose him without touching on more politically controversial issues such as abortion or gun rights that would not play well in conservative states.” At Politico, Seung Min Kim reports that “Sen. Dianne Feinstein is demanding more documents from Neil Gorsuch,” “saying he has omitted key information that may shed some light on his work on key national security issues during the George W. Bush administration.”

At The Huffington Post, Jennifer Bendery reports that days “before Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch gets his Senate confirmation hearing, a Democratic group is going up with national television ads calling him out for his record of siding with corporations over everyday Americans.” In Time, Tessa Berenson covers a recent press conference, at which “Senate Democrats highlighted people who it says were overlooked or hurt by” Gorsuch’s past decisions. At Politico, Seung Min Kim reports on Gorsuch’s preparations for the hearing, noting that the judge “is digging through his own voluminous record of legal opinions and undergoing ‘murder boards’ to practice answering pointed questions from 20 probing senators.”

Advice and Consent (podcast) previews the hearing. At the ACS blog, Caroline Frederickson stresses the importance of the hearing, arguing that there “are real concerns raised by the litmus tests that the president promised that his judicial nominee has met” and that “Gorsuch’s record on the bench demonstrates a departure from decades of precedent,” and that because the “hearing is the only opportunity for the public to hear directly from the nominee, himself,” “it is vital that senators ask him tough questions and demand answers.”


  • At the Center for Progressive Reform blog, John Echeverria looks at Murr v. Wisconsin, in which the court will decide what constitutes the “parcel as a whole” for the purpose of regulatory takings analysis, arguing that “if the Court were to rule in favor of petitioners, it would make it vastly more difficult for communities to compel large-scale developers to comply with zoning and other land use laws,” and that “this seemingly minor case” therefore “has the potential to be one of the most important land use cases ever decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
  • In The Atlantic, Garrett Epps discusses Buck v. Davis, in which the court, in an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, lifted the death sentence of a Texas inmate whose defense expert had testified during sentencing that the defendant was more likely to be violent in the future because he is black, and Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado, in which the justices held, over a dissent by Justice Samuel Alito, that evidence that a juror relied on racial animus to convict a criminal defendant trumps a Colorado no-impeachment rule, observing that “I can’t for the life of me figure out how Roberts, as the author of Buck, could join Alito’s opinion in Peña-Rodriguez,” because both “cases concern explicit racism in official action; while it is sitting, the jury is just as much a part of the state as is the trial court, and thus should be free of racial bias.”
  • At the Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen notes that North Carolina’s petition for certiorari asking the court to review an appeals court decision striking down the state’s strict voting law is on the agenda for the court’s March 31 private conference.
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman assesses the significance of the cases on the argument calendars for the last two sessions of the term, observing that although there “are important cases on the Court’s agenda over the next two months,” “none of the cases has received the type of press coverage as cases did in recent years past.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 16, 2017, 7:29 AM),