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Wednesday round-up

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko reports on the court’s decision Monday in Bank of America Corp. v. City of Miami, in which the justices ruled that cities can bring suits alleging discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, but must prove direct injury from the discrimination; he notes that “the court stopped short of saying what a city must do to prove economic harm.” Additional coverage comes from Chris Morran at Consumerist, who reports that the lower court must now “hash out how to apply the question of directness to Miami’s claims for lost property-tax revenue and increased municipal expenses.” A Bloomberg radio broadcast features a discussion of the case. At ACSblog, Erwin Chemerinsky calls the decision “an important victory for civil rights.” At Slate, Mark Joseph Stern observes that the “unexpected vote” of Chief Justice John Roberts “allowed the court to strengthen the FHA and affirmed progressive cities’ role in combatting housing segregation in the United States,” but he warns that the “FHA is still very much in danger.” In Mother Jones, Stephanie Mencimer remarks that the court’s imposition of “a much tougher standard for damages than the one the appellate court had approved” “seems specifically tailored to win the vote of Roberts, who was the only conservative justice to side with the court’s liberals.” In The Economist, Steven Mazie observes that “if a prediction in Justice Clarence Thomas’s partial dissent proves accurate, caveats in the majority opinion may seriously undermine the ostensible liberal victory.”


  • In The New York Times, Adam Liptak reports that in “an early sign of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch’s independence and work ethic, he has decided not to join a labor pool at the Supreme Court in which justices share their law clerks in an effort to streamline decisions about which cases to hear.”
  • At the Cato Institute’s Cato at Liberty blog, Ilya Shapiro and Frank Garrison urge the court to grant review of a decision in which the court of appeals, they argue, improperly deferred to a government amicus brief; they contend that that “the Constitution’s separation of powers does not allow such judicial enabling of executive mischief.”
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman examines “the Justices’ speech patterns during oral arguments” this term, focusing on the behavior of the newest justice, Neil Gorsuch, and finding Justice Stephen Breyer to be “typically the most active speaker.”
  • The World and Everything in It features discussions of the recent oral arguments in Maslenjak v. United StatesTown of Chester v. Laroe Estates, Inc.Kokesh v. Securities and Exchange Commission, and Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Board.
  • At Reuters, Andrew Chung reports that the court “on Monday left intact California’s ban on ‘gay conversion’ therapy aimed at turning youths under age 18 away from homosexuality, rejecting a Christian minister’s challenge to the law asserting it violates religious rights.”
  • At PrawfsBlawg, Howard Wasserman looks at Monday’s decision in Venezuela v. Helmerich & Payne International, which held that a case falls under the expropriation exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act only if the property in which the party claims to hold rights was taken in violation of international law, noting that this decision “is the first time in a while the Court has declined to draw a sharp separation between jurisdiction and everything else and to adopt the narrower conception of jurisdiction.”
  • At his eponymous blog, Ross Runkel notes that the government has requested a delay in the briefing of three consolidated class-action waiver cases involving the National Labor Relations Act, observing that the NLRB rule at issue in the case was decided by “a Democrat-dominated NLRB” and that he expects “the government to do an about-face and disown the … rule.”
  • At The Insightful Immigration Blog, David Isaacson observes that the recent oral argument in Maslenjak v. United States, which asks whether a naturalized U.S. citizen can be stripped of her citizenship in a criminal proceeding based on an immaterial false statement, highlighted the drawbacks of asking “extremely broad” questions on immigration forms; he argues that if “the answer to a question on a form is a foregone conclusion in all but a vanishingly small percentage of cases involving improbable combinations of malfeasance and honesty, the question probably should not be on the form in the first place.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (May. 3, 2017, 7:51 AM),