Fix the Court analyzes records it obtained from the U.S. Marshals Service documenting the security provided for the justices when they travel, suggesting that “the justices may not have adequate coverage at a time when threats against public figures are on the rise and when, for several of them, frequent health monitoring is paramount.” At, Tony Mauro reports that the documents “appear to show confusion and a lack of coordination after the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in West Texas in February 2016.”


  • Subscript offers a graphic explainer on political gerrymandering, a practice challenged in two high-profile Supreme Court cases this term, Gill v. Whitford and Benisek v. Lamone.
  • At the Cato Institute’s Cato at Liberty blog, Ilya Shapiro and Reilly Stephens urge the court to grant the cert petition in Ellison v. United States, a securities-fraud case that they argue “represents yet another example of the overcriminalization that has run rampant throughout our legal system.”

  • In a second post at Cato at Liberty, Shapiro and Stephens argue for a cert grant in Contest Promotions v. San Francisco, in which the court should “treat commercial speech as on par with all other forms of expression” and “clarify the boundaries of what does and doesn’t pass muster as a content-based restriction.”
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman uses a legal-writing software tool to measure the quality of the writing in “certiorari and cert stage opposition briefs for granted cases during the 2017/2018 term.”
  • On another linguistic note, at The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Marcia Coyle reports on a new study of the language of the court’s decisions in OT 2014 and 2015, which concludes” that “the justices usually achieve unanimity on most matters of writing,” [b]ut on three points of style in particular — the use of conjunctions, possessives, and fragments — the justices divide in following traditional or more modern rules.”
  • The Election Law Blog offers video of a discussion by Richard Hasen and Joan Biskupic about the legacy of Justice Antonin Scalia.
  • In an essay at SSRN, Bryan Lammon discusses Hall v. Hall, which asks “when parties in consolidated actions can appeal,” arguing that “although it’s too late for Hall itself, the issue in Hall is an ideal one for rulemaking.”
  • At Slate, Dahlia Lithwick maintains that Justice Anthony “Kennedy’s thinking [about the possibility of retirement]—over and above the thorny questions of his own doctrinal legacy, his responsibility in the Trump era, and his longstanding dedication to the rule of law—must be immensely confounded by one other thing: He is the most important man in the only functioning branch of government left in America.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 15, 2018, 7:34 AM),