• At BuzzFeed News, Chris Geidner reports on the court’s decision this week to send Alabama death-row inmate Taurus Carroll’s case back to the state court “’for further review in light of Moore v. Texas,’” which involves the standards for assessing intellectual disability in capital cases; he notes that although “the justices gave no reason for their decision on Monday (and no justices noted their disagreement with the order), the move does shift the issue — and Carroll’s case — back to the state’s courts, where Alabama judges will have to decide how much of an effect, if any, Moore should have on Alabama’s methods of determining intellectual disability.”
  •  In The Economist, Steven Mazie asks whether, with “Neil Gorsuch now in Antonin Scalia’s old chair and retirement rumours flying about Anthony Kennedy, the 80-year-old perennial swing justice,” “Chief Justice Roberts [could] be emerging as the court’s new median vote,” noting that although a “wider look at … Roberts’s record does not suggest even-handedness,” “in one of the most politicised eras of the Supreme Court’s history, the chief seems keen to tamp down public perceptions that the court, too, is bitterly partisan.”

  • At The Faculty Lounge, Calvin TerBeek unpacks “a rather remarkable speech Justice Alito gave at the Claremont Institute in early February,” in which, “[i]n addition to setting forth a robust constitutional conservatism—not, notably, couched in the narrative of originalism–Alito also explicitly advocated for the larger conservative political agenda, in the process invoking decades-old resentments and through lines in postwar conservatism.”
  • In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, William Watkins Jr. weighs in on Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, a high-profile religion case, arguing that “because Trinity Lutheran is a Missouri church challenging the state’s application of the state constitution,” “[t]he grant program is funded by in-state tire sales, and “Missouri is neither establishing a church nor interfering with worship,” “[c]ommon sense tells us the First Amendment is not implicated,” and that “the 14th Amendment should be inapplicable” as well, because “the Equal Protection Clause was meant to ensure that states treated whites and blacks the same regarding civil and legal rights”; he maintains that if “Trinity Lutheran had been handled in state court, it would now be moot,” and that the “Supreme Court should remove the case from its docket and let the matter stand resolved.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (May. 5, 2017, 7:10 AM),