Breaking News

Wednesday round-up

In USA Today, Richard Wolf reports that the recent Supreme Court term featured an unusual “number of little-guy victories,” in which “the justices ruled in favor of criminal defendants, death-row inmates, immigrants facing deportation, children with disabilities and others in more than a dozen cases pitting individuals against government authorities.” In Education Week, Mark Walsh highlights the “cases with implications for education” in “one of its most significant terms for K-12 education in several years.” At PBS Newshour, Geoffrey Lou Guray offers a “look back at the Supreme Court term that was, and what’s on tap for the Supreme Court term to come.”

In The New York Times, Adam Liptak reports that although “[n]ew justices usually take years to find their footing at the Supreme Court,” “[f]or Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who joined the court in April, a couple of months seem to have sufficed,” and that in his early opinions, Gorsuch “tangled with his new colleagues, lectured them on the role of the institution he had just joined, and made broad jurisprudential pronouncements in minor cases.” At Truthdig, Bill Blum agrees that “[t]to say that [Gorsuch] hit the ground running would be a gross understatement,” and remarks that “[i]f his initial rulings are any guide, Gorsuch will be even more staunchly conservative than Scalia and nearly as outspoken.”

In The Washington Post, Robert Barnes reports on a commencement speech delivered by Chief Justice John Roberts at his son’s ninth-grade graduation, noting that the address “touched on universal themes, such as a parent’s worry about whether he or she is making the right decisions for their child.” Another look at the speech comes from Ella Nilsen at Vox, who notes that it “quickly won accolades for its focus on humility.”


  • In The New York Times, Jesse Wegman salutes Lyle Denniston, who recently retired after covering the Supreme Court for 58 years, “the longest run, by far, in a beat known for lengthy tenures.”
  • At the Yale Journal on Regulation’s Notice and Comment blog, Michael Kagan looks at what Justice Neil Gorsuch’s two opinions in an immigration case decided last August when Gorsuch was a judge on the court of appeals could mean for next term’s reargument in Sessions v. Dimaya, noting that Gorsuch “now appears to hold Dimaya’s fate in his hands.”
  • Constitution Daily marks the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s “historic verdict in the George Carlin ‘seven dirty words’ case, a decision that still holds sway over the use of indecent and obscene language on television, and in a new era of mass communications.”
  • In The Washington Post, Aaron Blake analyzes the implications of a recent report that Justice Anthony Kennedy may retire at the end of next term, noting that “if nothing else of real substance gets accomplished on [President Donald] Trump’s watch, it all might have been worth it for the GOP merely for his potential appointment to replace Kennedy.”
  • In The Economist, Steven Mazie looks at how “the justices spend their three months of summer break,” concluding that as Roberts has observed, “the summer recess isn’t just about giving the justices a break from resolving the republic’s most pressing legal controversies—the adjournment reassures Americans that the ‘constitution is safe for the summer.’”
  • At Lock Law Blog, Ryan Lockman weighs in on next term’s religious-freedom case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, arguing that the owner of a Denver bakery who refuses to provide a cake for a same-sex wedding “is essentially asking the Supreme Court to punch a religion-sized hole in all anti-discrimination statutes, for everyone.”
  • At Stanford Law School’s Legal Aggregate blog, William Koski discusses Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, in which the court held that “denial of an otherwise available public benefit to religious institutions violated the Trinity Lutheran Church’s First Amendment free exercise rights, even in the face of state constitutional prohibitions on the use of public funds for religious purposes,” observing that the opinion “should provide cause for concern among those who oppose school vouchers generally and those who oppose vouchers for religious schools specifically.”

Remember, we rely exclusively on our readers to send us links for our round-up.  If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at]

Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jul. 5, 2017, 7:16 AM),