Breaking News

Thursday round-up

For USA Today, Richard Wolf reports that “[w]hen a Colorado ‘cake artist’ who refuses to serve same-sex weddings brings his case to the Supreme Court next month [in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission], he’ll have a tight-knit fraternity of florists, bakers and memory makers in his corner,” hoping for “potential salvation” after “a nearly unbroken string of defeats at the hands of human rights commissions and local, state and federal courts.” At Take Care, Jim Oleske pushes back against the argument, made in an amicus brief on behalf of the baker, that civil rights laws like Colorado’s are “constitutionally vulnerable because the state is ‘discriminating between squarely opposite sides on a deeply divisive moral issue’ and taking sides in a ‘culture war’” over marriage equality.


  • Subscript offers a graphic explainer for Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group, a challenge to the constitutionality of the tribunal that conducts inter partes review, a process used by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to determine the validity of existing patents.
  • At The Economist’s Democracy in America blog, Steven Mazie explains why “a wrinkle in the free-speech dispute may spell trouble for another part of the pro-life agenda if California ends up on the losing side” in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, a First Amendment challenge by crisis-pregnancy centers to a California law requiring disclosures about the availability of publicly funded family-planning services, including contraception and abortion.

  • At the Florida Court Review, John Cavaliere looks at Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Florida, in which the justices will decide whether the existence of probable cause defeats a First Amendment retaliatory-arrest claim, observing that “this case is a cautionary tale for councils and boards that have citizen-comment-time during public meetings.”
  • At The Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blog, Jonathan Adler observes that in two recent oral arguments, Justice Sonia Sotomayor “announced her interest in ‘statutory history,’ while also taking pains to emphasize that she was not embracing reliance upon ‘legislative history.’”
  • At the Cato Institute’s Cato at Liberty blog, Ilya Shapiro and others weigh in on Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, in which the court will consider whether an Illinois law allowing public-sector unions to charge nonmembers for collective-bargaining activities violates the First Amendment, arguing that the case “finally provides the Court with a golden opportunity to restore the First Amendment liberties of the country’s public-sector workers.”
  • In an op-ed for The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Rudy Gerber, a former judge on the Arizona Court of Appeals and the author of the state’s death-penalty statute, urges the Supreme Court to review Hidalgo v. Arizona, a challenge to Arizona’s death-penalty scheme and the death penalty nationwide, and to rule that “the overbroad death penalty is no longer constitutional in Arizona and, indeed, in all capital states.”
  • At HRDive, Kate Tornone notes that “[a]s stakeholders await the High Court’s decision on collective arbitration waivers [in Epic Systems v. Lewis], the signs are encouraging for employers.”
  • At the National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro reports that the Supreme Court’s “handling of [cert petitions in] key cases challenging the constitutional status of SEC administrative law judges may hinge on the possibility that Justice Neil Gorsuch will recuse in one of the cases.”

We rely 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, podcast, or op-ed relating to the Supreme Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at] Thank you!

Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Nov. 16, 2017, 7:11 AM),