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Thursday round-up

At Constitution Daily, Lyle Denniston reports on the court’s Tuesday orders, including its decision to send several cases involving aid to private schools operated by religious organizations back for reconsideration in light of Monday’s decision limiting “the power of states under their state constitutions to deny all forms of government funding to religious groups.” At The New York Times, Erica Green reports on the religious-aid remands. Commentary on the order in a school-voucher case from Colorado comes from the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal, which argues that “Colorado’s do-over is a warning to other states that might use Blaine Amendments to derail school choice programs that threaten teachers unions and the public school monopoly.”

Coverage of the court’s decision to review two consolidated cases, Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association and New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Inc. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, in which the justices will  “consider if a federal law that limits sports betting in New Jersey violates the 10th Amendment’s anti-commandeering clause,” comes from Scott Bomboy at Constitution Daily. Additional coverage of the sports-betting cases comes from Nick Corasaniti and Joe Drape in The New York Times.

Coverage of and commentary on the Supreme Court’s announcement Monday that it will hear the two cases challenging the Trump Administration’s entry ban, and its decision to allow partial enforcement of the ban in the meantime, continues. At Reuters, Mica Rosenberg and others report that “[o]ne day before … the ban … is scheduled to take effect, there is still widespread uncertainty about how the administration will implement it.” Commentary comes from Dara Lind at Vox and Rob Hunter in an op-ed for The Guardian. Wisconsin Public Radio offers an audio discussion of “the future of the travel ban.”

In Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, the justices ruled on Monday that a state cannot deny a church a public benefit – here, improvements to a playground – because of the church’s religious status. Commentary comes from Ira Lupu and Bob Tuttle at ACS blog, David Cortman in an op-ed for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Perry Grossman and Mark Joseph Stern at Slate.

In Pavan v. Smith, the justices summarily ordered Arkansas to provide names of same-sex partners on birth certificates. At Slate, Mark Joseph Stern takes issue with Justice Neil Gorsuch’s dissent in the ruling, calling it “legally incoherent and factually inaccurate.” The court also agreed on Monday to review Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which involves the right of private parties to deny services to same-sex couples, particularly in industries involving expression. The editorial board of The Denver Post weighs in on the case, hoping the Supreme Court will “find that a cake shop that sells wedding cakes must sell those cakes to everyone.” In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Jim Campbell disagrees, maintaining that “[a]t stake is whether the government can conscript artists to ply their expressive talents for events or ideas that they do not support.”

Commentary looking back at the court’s recent term comes from Paul Gordon at People for the American Way, who calls it “the calm before th[e] storm,” in which “the evenly-divided Court chose consensus over inaction, issuing moderate unanimous or near-unanimous opinions that resolved the case narrowly, without using it as a vehicle to make dramatic, controversial changes to the law.” In an op-ed for The Huffington Post, Elizabeth Wydra argues that “the Court’s business rulings this Term advanced the steady upward trend for corporate America’s prospects at the Roberts Court.” In The Washington Post, Richard Hasen observes that the term “featured two key redistricting votes in which the court turned away temporary relief for voters as the court considered each case — not because these voters would eventually lose, but because the justices refused to put voters’ interests first.”


  • In an op-ed in The Washington Examiner, Roger Pilon weighs in on Murr v. Wisconsin, last week’s regulatory-takings decision, arguing that if “the state can wipe out pre-existing rights simply by issuing a later ordinance, and thereby escape the requirements of the Takings Clause, that guarantee is a dead letter.”
  • At The American Prospect, Rachel Cohen observes that yesterday marked “the ten-year anniversary of legal conservatives’ last great effort to kill school integration in the Supreme Court,” an effort that “failed—though few understood that at the time.”
  • At National Journal, Josh Kraushaar allows that “Re­pub­lic­ans don’t get to de­cide when swing Su­preme Court Justice An­thony Kennedy gets to re­tire,” but maintains that “they should hope he de­parts right after next year’s term, sev­er­al months be­fore the 2018 elec­tion.”
  • In an op-ed for USA Today, Nancy Northup marks the one-year anniversary of last term’s abortion rights case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.
  • At Pro Publica, Peter Gosselin notes that the court “on Monday let stand a ruling that concluded the nation’s chief age-discrimination law has a much narrower reach than widely assumed,” arguing that the “decision will make it harder for some people later in their work lives to prove they were victims of bias.”
  • Earthrights International discusses the court’s decision to review Jesner v. Arab National Bank, PLC next term, which asks “whether corporations can be sued for violating international law,” noting that during an oral argument in an earlier case that presented this issue, “Justice Breyer poked fun at the notion that 18th century pirates could have avoided international prosecution simply by forming a corporation.”
  • At The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro reports that “[n]early 60 Republican members of Congress are demanding that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recuse herself from the upcoming travel ban case because of the negative public comments she made about Donald Trump before he was elected president.”
  • At The Hill, Lydia Wheeler reports that in “a spate of decisions and dissents” at the end of the term, Justice Neil Gorsuch “aligned with Clarence Thomas, the most conservative justice on the bench.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 29, 2017, 7:42 AM),