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Thursday round-up

At Reason’s Volokh Conspiracy blog, Jonathan Adler looks at a cert petition on the list for tomorrow’s conference that challenges the federal government’s designation of private land in Louisiana as a critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog, noting that the case “asks the Court to decide whether land must, in fact, be habitable, if not actually inhabited, by an endangered species … [and] implicates broader questions about the scope of federal regulatory authority over private land.” Additional commentary comes from Paul Driessen at Investor’s Business Daily, who argues that “[i]f the high court lets the lower court rulings stand, the ramifications will be profound.”


  • At Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), Tony Mauro and Marcia Coyle run down the latest Supreme Court news, “keeping close watch on five cases that the justices have agreed to hear and are likely to make news headlines.”

  • At ProPublica, Ryan Gabrielson explains that “when the court fixes mistakes in its opinions, it does so very quietly,” so that any changes “have proved hard to find — not just for the general public, but for lawyers and judges and scholars of the law.”
  • At USA Today, Richard Wolf reports on the justices’ recent efforts to “clean up after Congress” by interpreting statutes like the one Justice Samuel Alito “denounced as ’gibberish’” during an oral argument earlier this term.
  • Subscript provides a graphic explainer for Florida v. Georgia, one of two original-jurisdiction cases the Supreme Court will hear on Monday.
  • At Reason’s Volokh Conspiracy blog, Orin Kerr offers his thoughts on one of Tuesday’s two Fourth Amendment cases, Collins v. Virginia, in which the justices will consider the scope of the automobile exception to the warrant requirement, concluding that “on the issues briefed I would think the state hasn’t made the case that the search was lawful.”
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman “examines the justices’ and attorneys’ applications of textualism in oral arguments and in opinions to chart the Court’s recent trajectory of this interpretive theory and to forecast whether we can expect Justice Scalia’s textualist legacy to live on.”
  • At Law360 (subscription required), Judge Timothy Tymkovich reviews a new biography, “Gorsuch: The Judge Who Speaks for Himself,” “a largely sympathetic survey of Justice Gorsuch’s life and jurisprudence” that “offers readers something the confirmation hearings did not — the backstory of Neil Gorsuch, his childhood, his family, his education and, ultimately, a glimpse of who Justice Gorsuch is.”
  • In an op-ed for The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse remarks on the differences between the court’s two pending partisan-gerrymandering cases, Gill v. Whitford and Benisek v. Lamone, and predicts that the second “will prove to be the more important of the two,” because it “challenges a single district and was litigated not under the Equal Protection Clause but as a question of the Republican voters’ rights under the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech and association,” “an approach crafted to appeal specifically to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 4, 2018, 7:20 AM),