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Monday round-up

Today the justices kick off the March session by hearing oral argument in Sveen v. Melin, which asks whether a state law that automatically nullifies the designation of a former spouse as a life-insurance beneficiary upon divorce violates the Constitution’s contracts clause. Amy Howe had this blog’s preview, which first appeared at Howe on the Court. Shelby Garland and Jonathan Kim preview the case for Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. Kimberly Robinson and Jordan Rubin discuss Sveen at Bloomberg Law’s Cases and Controversies podcast. Counting to 5 (podcast) previews the three cases that will be argued this week, and The George Washington Law Review’s On the Docket blog offers previews of all the cases in the March argument session.

At the Associated Press, Mark Sherman reports on National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, a First Amendment challenge by crisis-pregnancy centers to a California law that, among other things, requires licensed centers to post notices to inform patients about the availability of state-funded family-planning services, including abortion; he notes that although the “justices won’t be dealing with broader questions about the right to an abortion, the outcome could affect not only California’s law, but those in other states that have been shaped by anti-abortion groups.” The Associated Press also offers differing accounts from two women who visited crisis pregnancy centers. Additional coverage of NIFLA, which will be argued tomorrow, comes from Robert Barnes for The Washington Post, Richard Wolf at USA Today and Andrew Chung at Reuters. At The Federalist, Mark Miller argues that “[t]he First Amendment includes the right not to speak, but the FACT Act takes that right away.” At Jost on Justice, Kenneth Jost maintains that NIFLA “represents the third time this term that political conservatives have urged justices committed to an originalist interpretation of the Constitution to find in the Free Speech Clause meanings that James Madison and the other Framers could never have intended or contemplated.”


  • At The Nation, Mike Konczal warns that the decision in Ohio v. American Express Co., which involves the application of antitrust law to credit-card-network anti-steering rules, “could undermine our ability to curtail monopoly power.” [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel on an amicus brief in support of the petitioners in this case.]
  • For The Washington Post, Rick Maese reports that “[t]he four major U.S. sports leagues have been bracing for” the possibility that the Supreme Court’s decision in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, a constitutional challenge to the federal ban on sports betting, may “lay[] out some sort of path to legal sports wagering.”
  • At The New Republic, Matt Ford looks at the cert petition in Royal v. Murphy, “a legal quirk for the ages [in which] a 1990s capital murder case involving two Native Americans could restore tribal sovereignty to almost half of Oklahoma for the first time in a century—unless the Supreme Court intervenes.”
  • At his eponymous blog, Lyle Denniston theorizes as to why “there has been no word for 10 days on what is happening at the Court on the controversy surrounding this year’s congressional balloting” in Pennsylvania.
  • At The Least Dangerous Blog, Joel Nolette weighs in on Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania, which asks whether the court should reconsider a precedent that requires property owners to exhaust state remedies before bringing federal takings claims under the Constitution.

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 19, 2018, 7:04 AM),