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Tuesday round-up

In The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro highlights an amicus brief filed “on behalf of a group of ‘cake artists’ across the country” in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which stems from a baker’s refusal to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple; the brief “contains roughly three dozen photos of luscious wedding and other special-occasion cakes, ranging from one that looks like a silver pot brimming with crawfish waiting to be boiled, to a ‘Pistol Pete’ cake for a couple who first met at Oklahoma State University.” Garrett Epps discusses the case at The Atlantic, observing that the federal government, in its amicus brief filed in support of the baker relying on the First Amendment’s speech clause, “asks [for] a constitutional exemption to civil-rights laws regardless of the underlying motive.” At Dorf on Law, Eric Segall argues that the baker’s “speech claims cannot be satisfactorily resolved on the present record, and therefore the Court should not resolve [them].”


  • At The Texas Tribune, Alexa Ura reports that the city of Houston has asked the Supreme Court to review a decision of the Texas Supreme Court “thr[o]w[ing] out a lower court ruling that said spouses of gay and lesbian public employees are entitled to government-subsidized marriage benefits and unanimously order[ing] a trial court to reconsider the case.”
  • At American Thinker, Wen Fa weighs in on the pending cert petition in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, a challenge to a Minnesota law that bans political apparel at polling places, urging the justices to remind “[g]overnments from coast to coast … that they may not turn polling places — or any other public spaces — into speech-free zones, in defiance of the First Amendment’s free speech guarantees.”
  • At PrawfsBlawg, Carissa Hessick enumerates the “seemingly irrelevant issues” militating against a cert grant in “an ineffective assistance claim out of Arkansas” that the justices will consider at “the so-called ‘long conference,’ which will take place on September 25th, … when the Court will consider hundreds (if not thousands) of cert petitions that have piled up over the summer.”
  • Slate’s Amicus podcast features a discussion of Gill v. Whitford, the high-profile partisan-gerrymandering case, with election law expert Richard Hasen.
  • At the CrimProf Blog, Kevin Cole worries that District of Columbia v. Wesby, a qualified-immunity case on next term’s docket, “may be resolved in ways that provide no clear guidance regarding an important underlying question—what level of suspicion is required regarding facts that would need to be established at trial but might be hard to assess by police officers at the time a decision must be made whether to arrest,” a question that “will be of particular importance as more people are covered by state laws legalizing marijuana use.”
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman looks at the government’s slate of merits and amicus cases for the upcoming Supreme Court term, as well as its pending cert petitions, noting that the “intensity in the OSG’s Supreme Court docket” demonstrates “the political importance of the Supreme Court in the current administration of federal policies.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Sep. 19, 2017, 7:08 AM),