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Tuesday round-up

On Sunday, Chief Justice John Roberts released his year-end report on the federal judiciary. Amy Howe has this blog’s coverage, which first appeared at Howe on the Court. For The Washington Post, Robert Barnes reports that Roberts announced “an initiative … to ensure there are proper procedures in place to protect law clerks and other court employees from sexual harassment, saying it is clear that the federal judiciary ‘is not immune’ from a widespread problem.” Additional coverage comes from Valerie Volcovici at Reuters, Ariane de Vogue at CNN, and Adam Liptak at The New York Times. For The Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin notes that in 2016, “the Supreme Court itself took no known action after one of its own members, Justice Clarence Thomas, publicly was accused of groping a 23-year-old woman at a scholarship dinner in 1999.”


  • At Balkinization, Marty Lederman and David Luban weigh in on the government’s cert petition in Hargan v. Garza, in which the solicitor general has asked the justices to vacate a lower-court decision in favor of a pregnant undocumented teen who was attempting to obtain an abortion and to discipline the teen’s attorneys; they “note the incongruity of the SG using this case to make an unprecedented attack on opposing counsel’s ethics, when the Department of Justice itself has acted in ways that themselves raise ethical questions,” and “address the death penalty analogy that the SG invokes on the final page of his reply brief.”

  • Also at Balkinization, Lederman looks at another of the solicitor general’s cert-stage briefs, this one in Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission, which asks whether SEC administrative law judges are “officers of the United States” within the meaning of the appointments clause and in which the government has “switch[ed] its longstanding legal position”; he enumerates several ways in which he suggests that the solicitor general “has starkly deviated from the traditional practices of the Office.”
  • At the Cato Institute’s Cato at Liberty blog, Ilya Shapiro and Matthew Larosiere maintain that if the Supreme Court lets the lower court’s decision stand in Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Florida, in which the justices will decide whether the existence of probable cause defeats a retaliatory-arrest claim, “local governments seeking to silence political activists will be empowered to abuse them.”
  • For The New York Times, Adam Liptak looks at Byrd v. United States, a case the justices will consider next week that asks whether a driver has a reasonable expectation of privacy in a rental car when he is not an authorized driver, noting that “it is not obvious that people who drive cars that others have rented should forfeit their Fourth Amendment rights.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 2, 2018, 7:28 AM),