on Apr 11, 2017 at 6:46 am
Yesterday, Justice Neil Gorsuch took the constitutional and the judicial oaths of office, in two separate ceremonies, to become the 113th justice of the Supreme Court. Andrew Hamm rounded up early coverage and commentary for this blog. In The Washington Post, Robert Barnes reports that in an interview last summer Justice Elena Kagan gave Gorsuch “a face-to-face tutorial on what it means to be the Supreme Court’s newest justice”; according to Kagan, the work “starts in the kitchen,” with a high-stakes assignment to “cafeteria duty.” In The New York Times, Adam Liptak looks back on the Supreme Court beat over the past, unpredictable months, observing that every “Supreme Court vacancy is a four-alarm journalistic fire,” but that this one “raged for more than a year, and over time its blazing heat warped institutional norms.” At Jost on Justice, Ken Jost surveys the history of the seat Gorsuch will occupy, noting that apart “from Jackson and one other justice, the seat that dates back to 1863 has been held by judicial conservatives for all but a 30-year period.” In The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin profiles Leonard Leo, the Federalist Society “impresario” whose behind-the-scenes role in the Gorsuch nomination “capped a period of extraordinary influence for him and for the Federalist Society,” pointing out that now “that Gorsuch has been confirmed, Leo is responsible, to a considerable extent, for a third of the Supreme Court.”
- The World and Everything in It (podcast) features discussions ofTurner v. United States, which involves the scope of the prosecution’s duty to disclose exculpatory evidence under the Brady rule in a 1984 Washington, D.C., murder case, and Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, which asks whether the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s exemption for church plans applies to pension plans maintained by church-affiliated organizations.
- At The Federalist Society blog, Nick Sibilla looks at Justice Clarence Thomas’ recent criticisms of civil forfeiture, noting that in a brief concurrence last month, Thomas “identified many of the glaring defects” in what Sibilla terms an “appalling practice,” in which “police can confiscate property, even from those who haven’t been charged with a crime.”
- In Chicago Lawyer, Michael Scodro considers Town of Chester v. Laroe Estates, a case on the April argument calendar that explores the contours of standing for intervenors, observing that “the question of whether an intervenor as of right must establish its own standing to join an existing suit — originally filed by a party with standing — has long divided the federal courts of appeals.”
- In The American Prospect, Jedediah Purdy discusses David Cole’s book, “Engines of Liberty: The Power of Citizen Activists to Make Constitutional Law,” which tells“the background stories behind three important legal developments of the last 15 years: the Supreme Court’s embrace of same-sex marriage in 2015, its announcement of a constitutional right to individual gun possession in 2008, and its pushback against George W. Bush’s ‘War on Terror’ in a series of cases concerning the rights of detainees and other targets of that ‘war.’”
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