Breaking News

Wednesday round-up

At Education Week, Mark Walsh reports that “the U.S. Supreme Court is getting another crack at overruling a major decision on public-employee union fees for non-members—should it choose to do so,” as “[t]wo groups planned to file an appeal Tuesday on behalf of an Illinois state government employee who objects to paying so-called agency fees to his collective-bargaining agent.” In the Washington Examiner, Sean Higgins reports that the “justices deadlocked 4-4 on a similar case last year following Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, leaving the question unresolved by the court.” At the Associated Press, Sam Hananel reports that “[c]onservative groups are wasting little time in trying to deal a crippling blow to labor unions now that Justice Neil Gorsuch has joined the Supreme Court.” Additional coverage comes from Bill McMorris at The Washington Free Beacon and Lyle Denniston at his eponymous blog.

Coverage continues of the court’s orders and opinions on Monday. At The Huffington Post, Cristian Farias reports on the court’s decision to review Carpenter v. United States, which asks whether the government must obtain a warrant for historical records showing where a cell phone connects with towers, calling the case “the most significant legal dispute at the intersection between technology and the Fourth Amendment since the high court unanimously ruled in 2014 that the law forbids authorities from conducting warrantless searches of the contents of smartphones and similar devices.” At Roll Call, Todd Ruger reports that the “government had urged the Supreme Court not to review the case, arguing that the procedure used by investigators in the case is constitutional.”

In North Carolina v. Covington, the court summarily affirmed a district-court order invalidating North Carolina’s state legislative map as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. In a separate but related case, also called North Carolina v. Covington, the justices vacated a district-court remedial order that had required special elections, directing the lower court to weigh the competing equities in the case. For Tribune News Service (via Governing), Anne Blythe reports that the Supreme Court’s order in the latter case “was critical of how the three-judge panel came to its decision to call for new maps and special elections.” At Rewire, Imani Gandy weighs in on the rulings, observing that although “this is a definite win for Black voters in North Carolina, the Court’s order won’t serve as a much-needed deterrent for racial gerrymandering efforts around the country,” because “what we’re left with is an order that decries racial gerrymandering, but also side-eyes special elections as a remedy for that gerrymandering, with no specific suggestions as to an appropriate remedy instead.”

In Kokesh v. Securities and Exchange Commission, the court held 9-0 that because SEC disgorgement operates as a penalty, the five-year statute of limitations applies to a claim for disgorgement in an SEC enforcement action. Theresa Gabaldon analyzes the opinion for this blog. Another look at the decision comes from Kevin Lessmiller at Courthouse News Service.

In Honeycutt v. United States, the justices ruled 8-0 that co-conspirators who do not benefit personally from illegal proceeds cannot  be ordered to forfeit property. Rory Little has this blog’s argument analysis. At Courthouse News Service, Kevin Lessmiller reports on the decision.

Last week, the Justice Department asked the court to review an appeals court decision invalidating a portion of President Donald Trump’s executive order limiting travel from six majority-Muslim countries and to lift two injunctions blocking enforcement of the order. At The Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blog, Sam Bray notes that one of the government’s questions presented “has brought to the court’s attention an important issue: the proper scope of injunctions against the national government.” At PrawfsBlawg, Dan Epps explores “what the Court might or should do if it agrees … that the ban is, or soon will be, moot.”


  • At Rewire, Jessica Mason Pieklo discusses the court’s decision this week in Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, which extended ERISA’s church-plan exemption to pension plans maintained by church-affiliated groups even if the plans were not established by a church, noting that the decision “could have devastating effects for the tens of thousands of people employed by Catholic hospitals.”
  • At The Resurgent, Matthew Monforton criticizes the court’s decision this week not to review “a decision by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces threatening the religious liberties of 1.4 million Americans in uniform.”
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman provides text statistics from this week’s opinions.
  • Prawfsblawg features two discussions of the process by which opinion-writers are assigned at the Supreme Court and the justices’ use of the assignment power, from Howard Wasserman here and Ian Samuel here.
  • At, John Brennan reports that the “New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen Association is a party to the long-running sports betting case involving the NFL and similar sports organizations,” and that on Tuesday the organization filed a supplemental brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case, “in spite of a recent recommendation by the U.S. Solicitor General that the court need not add this case to their docket”; a follow-up post is here.
  • At his eponymous blog, Lyle Denniston reports that “[b]oth sides in a new Supreme Court test case on partisan gerrymandering – drawing new election districts to favor one party – on Tuesday answered the Justices’ questions about whether the case should stay alive, disagreeing sharply on that,” and that the parties’ briefs “also may have raised a broad new question about what voters challenging such partisan-driven maps must do to make a case” and “stirred up a new controversy over who speaks for North Carolina in election cases.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 7, 2017, 7:26 AM),