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Tuesday round-up

This morning the court hears oral argument in two cases. The first is Gill v. Whitford, in which the justices will decide whether Wisconsin’s electoral maps are the product of an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. Amy Howe had this blog’s preview. Leonardo Mangat and Douglas Wagner preview the case for Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. Coverage of Whitford comes from Nina Totenberg at NPR and Michael Wines in The New York Times, who reports that a “decisive ruling striking down the Wisconsin Assembly map could invalidate redistricting maps in up to 20 other states,” and from Steven Mazie at The Economist’s Espresso blog. Today’s episode of More Perfect (podcast) features a discussion of Whitford.

In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Cliff Sloan and Michael Waldman maintain that “[f]or those defending partisan gerrymanders, contrary to their sweeping claims, history is not on their side.” In an op-ed at The Hill, Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, points out that “[t]oday’s powerful technology and voter information allows lawmakers to rig and game the system in ways that never before could have been imagined.” Jowei Chen, in an op-ed for Time, explains that his academic research reveals that “the legislature clearly skewed the Wisconsin map to benefit the Republican Party, and the map they came up with is extremely skewed.”

Today’s second argument is in Jennings v. Rodriguez, a challenge to the prolonged detention of immigrants without bond hearings, which the justices scheduled for reargument at the end of October Term 2016. Kevin Johnson had this blog’s preview. Another preview comes from Shelby Garland and Jonathan Kim at Cornell. At Take Care, Leah Litman and Britany Riley argue that “[t]he administration’s position on the ‘solution’ to lengthy immigration detentions—go home— … illustrates how the structure of immigration law allows an aggressive executive branch to render meaningless the few protections that immigration law affords.”

The justices kicked off October Term 2017 yesterday by hearing oral argument in Epic Systems v. Lewis, Ernst & Young LLP v. Morris, and NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA, in which the court will decide whether labor laws forbid class waivers in employment contracts. Amy Howe has this blog’s argument analysis, which first appeared at Howe on the Court. Additional coverage of the argument in Epic Systems comes from Greg Stohr at Bloomberg, who reports that the “argument … suggested the justices are divided over the power of employers to block class-action lawsuits by workers and channel disputes into arbitration,” Kevin Daley at The Daily Caller, David Savage in the Los Angeles Times, Nina Totenberg at NPR, Adam Liptak in The New York Times, Jess Bravin in The Wall Street Journal, and Lawrence Hurley at Reuters. Ross Runkel reviews the argument at his eponymous blog. Commentary on Epic Systems comes from Joel Nolette at The Least Dangerous Blog, David Freeman Engstrom in an op-ed for The New York Times, and Arthur Bryant in an op-ed for The National Law Journal.

Yesterday’s second argument was in Sessions v. Dimaya, which asks whether a criminal-removal provision of the immigration laws is unconstitutionally vague. For USA Today, Richard Wolf reports that “the justices appeared to side with a Filipino immigrant facing deportation for violent felonies as required by immigration law, but who argued that the law was unconstitutionally vague.” At FiveThirtyEight, Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux points to signs that in immigration cases like Dimaya and Jennings, Justice Neil Gorsuch “may defy his reputation as a ‘Scalia clone.’”

Yesterday the court issued additional orders from its September 25 conference. Amy Howe has this blog’s coverage, which first appeared at Howe on the Court. Additional coverage of today’s orders comes from Mark Walsh at Education Week’s School Law Blog, who reports that in disposing of hundreds of cases that had piled up over the summer, the court “declined to take up cases on special education, violent speech aimed at schools, alleged teacher misconduct, and alleged retaliation against parents.” At Reuters, Lawrence Hurley reports that the justices “rejected New Zealand-based internet mogul Kim Dotcom’s challenge to the U.S. government’s bid to seize assets held by him and others involved in the now-defunct streaming website Megaupload.” Tony Mauro reports at that the court also “denied review in a disabilities rights case that could have had an impact on whether internet services and companies need to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.” Kent Scheidegger remarks on yesterday’s denials at Crime and Consequences.

Last week the court added nine hours of oral argument to its October Term 2017 docket. At Education Week, Mark Walsh reports on the grant in in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, in which the court will consider whether public-sector unions may require non-members to help pay for collective bargaining, noting that the case has “enormous financial implications for teachers’ unions.” In an op-ed at the Daily Journal, Deborah La Fetra maintains that “Janus gives independent workers reason to hope that the Supreme Court will soon end the public employee unions’ ability to garnish their paychecks for the inherently political act of collective bargaining for taxpayer-funded wages and benefits.” At the International Municipal Lawyers Association’s Appellate Practice Blog, Lisa Soronen notes that “the Court agreed to hear two unrelated cases involving car searches.”


  • More Perfect (podcast) explores Korematsu v. United States, “the case that upheld President Franklin Roosevelt’s internment of American citizens during World War II based solely on their Japanese heritage, for the sake of national security,” and asks: “What happens when the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, seems to get it wrong?”
  • At, Tony Mauro reports that “[f]ive U.S. Supreme Court justices attended the annual Roman Catholic Red Mass in Washington on Sunday, the unofficial kick-off of the fall season of the judiciary.”
  • At NPR, Nina Totenberg considers a lesser-known legacy of the late Justice Antonin Scalia: his speeches, the most notable of which are included in a new anthology, “Scalia Speaks,” edited by Scalia’s son Christopher Scalia and conservative commentator Edward Whelan.
  • At the Kroc Peace Magazine, Richard Custin argues that by ruling in Jesner v. Arab Bank PLC that corporations can be held liable under the Alien Tort Act, the Supreme Court can “hold financial institutions accountable for failing to detect unethical financial transactions.”
  • At Education Week, Mark Walsh offers “an educator’s guide” to the new Supreme Court term.
  • At Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), Tony Mauro observes that the October argument calendar has “shuffled the plans of more advocates than any other time in recent memory.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 3, 2017, 7:15 AM),