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Friday round-up


  • Constitution Daily notes that yesterday was the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s notorious decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, a ruling that “upheld the legality of racial segregation in America” and that has been relegated by legal experts and historians “to the ‘dustbin of history.’”
  • The Associated Press reports that in a speech on Wednesday, Justice Samuel Alito “told graduates at a historic Roman Catholic seminary near Philadelphia freedom of religion and freedom of speech are essential to a democracy and are under threat in the United States,” citing “reactions to … cases he says show hostility toward people with traditional moral beliefs.”
  • At The George Washington Law Review’s On the Docket, Roger Fairfax looks at Nelson v. Colorado, in which the justices held that a state cannot require a defendant whose conviction is invalidated to prove actual innocence before recovering fines and fees imposed as a consequence of the conviction, observing that with this decision, the “presumption of innocence, already strong in our criminal justice system, became a little stronger.”
  • In The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro highlights”a new twist to the court’s tradition of keeping mum about the reasons for recusals”; he reports that “it was not always so” and that recently released pages from the court’s journal show that “a century or so ago, the court would sometimes explain briefly why justices recused themselves.”

  • At the Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blog, Orin Kerr flags a cert petition that raises the question of “whether the voluntariness of consent to search or seize under the Fourth Amendment should be treated as a matter of fact or a question of law for purposes of the standard of review on appeal.”
  • In The Austin Chronicle, Mary Tuma reports that the reproductive health provider at the center of the court’s most recent abortion rights ruling, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, reopened its doors of its flagship clinic in Austin, Texas, in late April, but that the clinic’s founder and CEO called the process of reopening “’tremendously’ difficult, and she predicts clinics in cities such as Corpus Christi, Midland, Lubbock, and College Station will likely stay shuttered.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (May. 19, 2017, 7:10 AM),