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Thursday round-up

For the Boston Globe, Travis Andersen reports that in remarks at a Rhode Island law school on Tuesday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “said she fears the public will come to view the federal judiciary as ‘just another political branch of government’ where judges will decide cases based on party affiliation.” Additional coverage of Ginsburg’s remarks comes from Michelle Smith at the Associated Press, who reports that the justice “expressed hope that the country eventually will get over the current period of intense partisanship, comparing it to the 1950s, when McCarthyism and the Red Scare led the country to stray ‘from its most fundamental values.’”


  • In an op-ed for The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse suggests that three recent instances in which Chief Justice John Roberts has voted against “the reliable right-wing triumvirate of Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch” may indicate that “the chief justice reads this heavily freighted political moment as a time to avoid spending the Supreme Court’s limited capital needlessly.”
  • At the Cato Institute’s Cato at Liberty blog, Ilya Shapiro and Meggan deWitt urge the justices to review a cert petition that raises a First Amendment challenge to a Berkeley, California, ordinance “mandat[ing] that any party buying or leasing cellphones communicate a specific message to every customer about radio-frequency exposure”; they argue that “courts should apply strict scrutiny – meaning the government needs a really good reason and can’t achieve its goal any other way – to review laws that force market participants to disparage their own products and participate in policy debates they wish to avoid.”

  • In an op-ed for The Sacramento Bee, Erwin Chemerinsky urges the Supreme Court to strike down the latest version of the Trump administration’s entry ban, which he calls “irrational in the countries it designates, illegal in violating a clear federal statute, and unconstitutional in discriminating on the basis of religion.”
  • At The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro reports that on Tuesday night, President Donald Trump “praised Neil Gorsuch, ‘a great new Supreme Court justice,’ as he delivered his first State of the Union address before an audience that included Gorsuch and three other justices: Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.”
  • At the Sentencing Law and Policy blog, Douglas Berman notes that “[t]he Supreme Court has three(!) upcoming arguments concerning the proper application of the federal prison term modification rules that Congress set out in 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2),” observing that “[t]he fact that the SCOTUS has decided to take up three cases dealing with § 3582(c)(2) highlights the range of intricate issues that sentence modification motions can present.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Feb. 1, 2018, 7:41 AM),