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Friday round-up

In The Washington Post, Ed O’Keefe and Sean Sullivan report that “Republicans on Thursday cleared the way for Judge Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, overcoming a historic Democratic blockade by changing the rules of the U.S. Senate — a move that highlighted the fierce partisanship that has seized Congress.” Additional coverage comes from Byron Tau and Siobhan Hughes in The Wall Street Journal, Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung at Reuters, Erica Werner at the Associated Press, Matt Flegenheimer in The New York Times, Richard Wolf in USA Today, Mark Walsh at Education Week, Justin Sink at Bloomberg, Gary Gately at Talk Media News, and Paul Kane in The Washington Post. The National Constitution Center offers a podcast on the history and constitutionality of the filibuster.

Commentary on the filibuster and the nuclear option comes from Garrett Epps in The Atlantic, Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post, the editorial board of USA Today, Eliza Townsend in the Portland Press Herald, Ilya Shapiro at the Cato Institute’s Cato at Liberty blog, Sean Illing at Vox, Victor Williams at The Hill, and Michael Parsons at Modern Democracy, who argues that Gorsuch “could do some useful precedent-shattering of his own and make the asterisk by his name in the history books a more positive one: he could agree to serve an 18-year term.” At Constitution Daily, Lyle Denniston considers “whether or how the end of filibusters over judicial nominees might change the Supreme Court itself.”

At The American Prospect, Eliza Newlin Carney asserts that “[u]ndisclosed political money has been a key factor in the fight over Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation, both as a tool for big-spending conservative groups, and as a flash point for Democratic opposition.” Additional commentary on Gorsuch’s nomination comes from Edward Blum in National Review, who takes issue with another commentator’s characterization of Gorsuch as an “’an affirmative action baby.’”

In The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro looks at the “first hurdles Gorsuch will face” if he joins the court in the middle of the term, noting that in “addition to outfitting a new office and hiring clerks and staff, Gorsuch will have to juggle preparing for court conferences and oral argument and a myriad other obligations.” At the Associated Press, Mark Sherman reports that with “Gorsuch’s confirmation as the 113th Supreme Court justice expected on Friday, it won’t be long before he starts revealing what he really thinks about a range of hot topics he repeatedly sidestepped during his confirmation hearing.” At Bloomberg, Greg Stohr reports that Gorsuch “could have an immediate impact,” because one “of the first cases he will hear will be a church-state argument the court waited more than a year to hold while awaiting a ninth justice,” and that he “also could be the tiebreaker in several Supreme Court cases already argued, but not yet decided,” as well as “a critical voice on petitions that seek high court review.”


  • At Justia’s Verdict blog, Sherry Colb discusses the court’s decision in Moore v. Texas, in which the justices prohibited Texas from relying on an outdated standard in determining whether a defendant’s intellectual disability precludes him from being executed, noting that “Texas will not be allowed to pretend that people who are intellectually disabled are not, simply because they fail to measure up (or down) to a standard that combines old clinical approaches with invented factors,” and hoping that “this thinking will spread beyond the particulars of this case to the many other contexts in which the law engages in pretense and fictional assumptions.”
  • In the Saratogian News, Nicholas Buonanno reports on a visit by Justice Sonia Sotomayor to Russell Sage College in Troy, NY, during which Sotomayor spoke about, among other things, “how important after school programs are for children in any city.”
  • At Politico, Shane Goldmacher reports that the Trump administration is “obsessed with the next possible vacancy” on the Supreme Court, noting that “Trump officials say the president does not feel constrained to pick a second Supreme Court justice from his campaign list.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 7, 2017, 7:29 AM),