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Tuesday round-up

Continuing its themed approach to argument days this session, the court is hearing two Fourth Amendment cases today, both involving searches of motor vehicles. The first argument is in Byrd v. United States, which asks whether a driver has a reasonable expectation of privacy in a rental car when he is not listed as an authorized driver on the rental contract. Amy Howe had this blog’s preview, which first appeared at Howe on the Court. D.E. Wagner and Leonardo Mangat preview the case for Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute.

 This morning’s second case is Collins v. Virginia, in which the justices will consider the scope of the automobile exception to the warrant requirement. Amy Howe previewed the case for this blog; her coverage was first published at Howe on the Court. Robin Grieff, Jonathan Kim and Hillary Rich have Cornell’s preview, and Subscript offers a graphic explainer for the case.

Yesterday the court issued orders from its conference of January 5; they released a summary opinion and asked for the views of the solicitor general in three cases. Amy Howe covers the order list for this blog; her coverage first appeared at Howe on the Court. For USA Today, Richard Wolf reports that in Tharpe v. Sellers, the “court ruled 6-3 that convicted murderer Keith Tharpe deserved another chance in federal court to prove that his death sentence was tainted by the white juror’s reference to Tharpe as a ‘n—–‘ and other racist remarks.” Additional coverage of the opinion in Tharpe comes from Adam Liptak for The New York Times, Robert Barnes for The Washington Post, Jess Bravin for The Wall Street Journal and Ariane de Vogue at CNN.

At, Marcia Coyle reports that the Supreme Court declined yesterday to review “two challenges to a Mississippi law considered to be one of the most extreme anti-gay rights laws in the country,” which “allows religious objectors to deny services to gay, lesbian and transgender individuals.” For The Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin calls the “Mississippi case … the latest example of the legal fallout following the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, Obergefell v. Hodges.” Additional coverage comes from Ariane de Vogue at CNN and Lydia Wheeler at The Hill. At The Daily Caller, Kevin Daley reports that “[t]he denial marks the third time this term that the high court ducked a gay rights challenge.”

At the Associated Press, Jessica Gresko reports that a “Florida couple will have to take down their beachfront treehouse after the Supreme Court declined to get involved in a dispute over it.” Horvitz & Levy’s At the Lectern blog notes that the justices also declined to review “the California Supreme Court’s decision in People v. Rinehart, where the state court over 16 months ago held that California limits on gold mining were not preempted by federal law.” At Education Week’s School Law Blog, Mark Walsh reports that the justices “declined to hear the appeal of an Arizona school district which fears that it may face exposure in American Indian tribal courts over employment decisions involving schools on land leased on Indian reservations.”

For The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro reports that during yesterday’s oral argument in an original jurisdiction case, Florida v. Georgia, “a lawyer representing Florida seemed to gain ground in the state’s effort to gain water that it claims Georgia has unfairly siphoned off to serve thirsty Atlanta-area residents.” Robert Barnes reports for The Washington Post that “while the court seemed to think “common sense” and maybe even physics favored Florida, the powerful U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not — it favors Georgia, and even the Supreme Court’s clout might not be enough to overcome that.”


  • At Legal Sports Report, Ryan Rodenberg asks whether the federal law challenged in Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, the New Jersey sports-betting case, “is merely one component of a broader framework of federal laws that preempt state regulation of sports gambling.
  • At The Conversation, Robert Sedler weighs in on 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, arguing that “the California law does not violate the First Amendment” because it “doesn’t compel the clinics to say or not say anything, only to post truthful information provided by the state.”
  • At The World and Everything in It (podcast), Mary Reichard discusses the oral arguments in Carpenter v. United States, which asks whether the government must obtain a warrant for cell-site-location information, and Cyan v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund, which asks whether state courts have jurisdiction to hear Securities Act class action lawsuits under the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act. [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the respondents in Cyan.]
  • In an op-ed for USA Today, Tony Mauro describes new research updating his own earlier reporting on the lack of diversity among Supreme Court law clerks, who are “crucial to the functioning of the nation’s highest court,” lamenting that “in the 20 years since those stories appeared, little progress has been made.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 9, 2018, 7:32 AM),