Breaking News

Wednesday round-up

This morning the Supreme Court will hear argument in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, in which the justices will consider whether Ohio’s voter-roll-maintenance process violates federal voter-registration laws. Amy Howe had this blog’s preview, which first appeared at Howe on the Court. Larry Blocho and Ryan Powers preview the case for Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. Subscript offers a graphic explainer. For USA Today, Richard Wolf reports that “[g]roups representing racial and ethnic minorities, veterans, and people with disabilities have joined the opposition in what’s become the latest in a series of battles against states’ efforts to restrict voting rights and combat alleged voter fraud.” Additional coverage comes from Nina Totenberg at NPR and Steven Mazie at The Economist’s Espresso blog.

Yesterday the justices heard two Fourth Amendment cases, both involving searches of motor vehicles. For this blog, Mark Walsh offers an eyewitness account of the arguments. First on the agenda was 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 analyzes the argument for this blog; her analysis was first published at Howe on the Court. For The New York Times, Adam Liptak reports that the justices “seemed inclined to rule that people not listed as authorized drivers on rental car agreements nonetheless have privacy rights when they are pulled over by the police.” Additional coverage comes from Ariane de Vogue at CNN. Yesterday’s second case was Collins v. Virginia, in which the justices considered the scope of the automobile exception to the warrant requirement. At The Daily Caller, Kevin Daley reports that Virginia’s “argument appeared to trouble Chief Justice John Roberts, who feared the presence of a car could give police unqualified access to a private garage, especially in circumstances where the car is clearly visible from the street.” Commentary comes from Michael Mannheimer at PrawfsBlawg.

Additional coverage of the arguments in Byrd and Collins comes from Lawrence Hurley at Reuters, Richard Wolf at USA Today, Jess Bravin for The Wall Street Journal, Jessica Gresko at the Associated Press, Robert Barnes for The Washington Post, and Nina Totenberg at NPR, who reports that “[i]n both cases the justices seemed divided on how to draw the lines, with Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch giving indications he might side with the court’s liberals, and Justice Anthony Kennedy, who so often casts the decisive fifth vote in cases, taking a harder line.”

On Monday, the court heard oral argument in two original jurisdiction cases stemming from disputes among the states over water rights. Ryke Longest analyzes the argument in Texas v. New Mexico and Colorado for this blog, and Lara Fowler does the same for the argument in Florida v. Georgia.

At Bloomberg, Greg Stohr reports on the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday not to review two challenges to “a Mississippi law that lets businesses and government workers refuse on religious grounds to provide services to gay and transgender people.” Commentary comes from Lisa Keen at Keen News Service, who notes that “because the appeal was on a procedural matter only, the two lawsuits challenging the law’s constitutionality can still proceed.”


  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman notes that “in some ways the Court’s output so far this year is at a historic low” and “flesh[es] out this low output by putting it into a historic context to show that … this rate of output should be expected from the justices as the Court has cut its workload substantially in recent decades.”
  • At PrawfsBlawg, Howard Wasserman looks at one of next week’s cases, Hall v. Hall, which “address[es] when a judgment dismissing one action is final and appealable when multiple actions were consolidated for all purposes under FRCP 42,” and which, “[o]n the papers at least, … has the makings of a rout.”
  • In an op-ed for The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tim Lewis weighs in on McCoy v. Louisiana, another of next week’s cases, in which the court will considerwhether the law allows a defense attorney to concede a defendant’s guilt to the jury over the defendant’s explicit objections,” arguing that “[t]he constitutional deprivation of McCoy’s rights was not simply a process error, but one that undermined the adversarial framework on which our system is based.”
  • At his eponymous blog, Ross Runkel unpacks the issues in one of Monday’s cert denials, inan interesting case on whether one is a ‘vertical’ (rather than ‘horizontal’) joint employer.”
  • The Open File’s Prosecutorial Accountability blog looks at two recent cert denials in cases involving due process challenges to the conduct of prosecutors, suggesting that “[i]n some ways, the debate here boils down to the question of whether the Constitution permits a prosecutor to knowingly present a lie to the jury, so long as the defense knows that the lie is a lie.”

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, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 10, 2018, 7:28 AM),