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Friday round-up

For The Washington Post, Robert Barnes reports that in “another dramatic reversal in a high-profile case before the high court,” the “Trump administration on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to overrule a 40-year-old precedent that allows compelling public employees to pay some fees to unions that represent them, an important tool for the U.S. labor movement.” Additional coverage of the government’s amicus brief in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 comes from Lyle Denniston at his eponymous blog, Lawrence Hurley at Reuters, Greg Stohr at Bloomberg, Marcia Coyle at, and Mark Walsh at Education Week’s School Law Blog. Ross Runkel discusses the brief at his eponymous blog.

On Wednesday the Supreme Court heard oral argument in two cases. The first was Murphy v. Smith, which asks who should pay attorney’s fees in successful civil-rights cases brought on behalf of prisoners. Charlotte Garden has this blog’s argument analysis. Wednesday’s second case was Marinello v. United States, in which the justices considered the limits of tax-law obstruction-of-justice charges. Susan Morse analyzes the argument for this blog.

Commentary continues on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in which the court will decide whether the First Amendment bars Colorado from requiring a baker to create a cake for a same-sex wedding. Take Care’s Versus Trump podcast features a discussion of Tuesday’s oral argument, including “some perhaps unexpected predictions about what the decision might be and how far its legal rule might reach.” Additional commentary comes from Douglas NeJaime and Reva Siegel, also at Take Care, David Gans, completing the Take Care trifecta, Rick Hills at PrawfsBlawg, and Asher Steinberg at The Narrowest Grounds, who offers a “dialogue in the form of an oral argument … in order to help clarify” “whether wedding cake and wedding cake-baking are speech, and what they express if they are.”


  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman examines evidence suggesting that Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is “a likely candidate for the next nomination” to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump.
  • In the latest episode of the Heritage Foundation’s SCOTUS 101 podcast, Elizabeth Slattery and Tiffany Bates “talk about SCOTUS advocates’ pre-argument rituals and the Court’s recent orders” and discuss Masterpiece Cakeshop with a guest from the advocacy group representing the bakery.
  • At the International Municipal Lawyers Association’s Appellate Practice Blog, Lisa Soronen looks at the court’s recent cert grant in Salt River Agricultural Improvement and Power District v. SolarCity Corp., which asks when a state or local government can appeal the denial of a motion to dismiss based on state-action immunity.
  • At Bloomberg BNA, Jordan Rubin explains why in Carpenter v. United States, which asks whether the government must obtain a warrant for cell-site-location information, “even if the justices find the government needed a warrant to get the records, it’s unlikely the decision will do anything to upend Carpenter’s convictions and 116-year prison term.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 8, 2017, 7:12 AM),