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Friday round-up

Court-watchers continue to report and comment on Wednesday’s oral argument in Benisek v. Lamone, a high-profile partisan-gerrymandering challenge by Republican voters to a Democratic-leaning congressional district in Maryland. At Governing, Alan Greenblatt reports that although the “argument suggested that a number of justices — perhaps a majority — would like to set a standard for when partisan gerrymandering crosses the constitutional line,” “there was no ready consensus about how to define what an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander would look like.” Debra Cassens Weiss looks at the argument for the ABA Journal, as does Lisa Soronen at CitiesSpeak. The editorial board of The Wall Street Journal contends that “[t]he GOP argument isn’t any better than the Democratic case last fall from Wisconsin, and both argue strongly against judicial intervention.” At FiveThirtyEight, Galen Druke highlights “three key differences between the Maryland and Wisconsin cases that might help us understand how the court is thinking about partisan gerrymandering.” At ElectionLaw@Moritz, Edward Foley observes that “there are reasons to be skeptical, at least early in the stages of the intellectual inquiry, that there would be a single ‘grand unified theory of partisan gerrymandering’ under the U.S. Constitution,” and that “no matter what the Court says in the Wisconsin and Maryland cases, don’t expect those opinions to be the last word one way or the other.”


  • In the latest episode of the Heritage Foundation’s SCOTUS 101 podcast, Elizabeth Slattery and Tiffany Bates “talk with Jeff Rosen about his new book on William Howard Taft,” “discuss recent oral arguments and tackle the most pressing question of our time: is a hot dog a sandwich?”
  • At The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro reports that a “key patent infringement case will be argued April 16 before a full nine-member U.S. Supreme Court after all,” after “[t]he court announced Wednesday that Justice Samuel Alito Jr., who had recused himself when the court granted review in the case WesternGeco v. ION Geophysical, in January, is ‘no longer recused.’”
  • Also at The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Mauro compiles reflections on the recent death of Linda Brown, the plaintiff in the landmark school-desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education.
  • Counting to 5 (podcast) looks at the opinion in Hall v. Hall, which held that when one of a group of consolidated cases is decided, the losing party can appeal immediately, and “recap[s] this week’s news and developments at the Court.”
  • At The Atlantic, Steven Vladeck argues that “[i]f the Court embraces the government’s position in Dalmazzi v. United States… , it would not only open the door to far more military officers serving simultaneously in senior civilian positions, but it would fly in the face of what the Court has previously described as ‘the traditional and strong resistance of Americans to any military intrusion into civilian affairs.’”
  • At Slate, Elizabeth Wydra maintains that retired Justice John Paul “Stevens’ call for young activists to work for repeal of the Second Amendment is staggeringly misplaced,” and that “[t]he Second Amendment is not an obstacle to the sensible gun regulation we so desperately need.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 30, 2018, 7:06 AM),