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Thursday round-up

For the Tribune News Service (via Governing), Bob Egelko reports on Sessions v. Dimaya, in which the court ruled on Tuesday that a portion of the criminal-removal provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act is unconstitutionally vague. At Slate, Mark Joseph Stern observes that Dimaya “marked the first time Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg assigned a majority opinion in her nearly 25 years on the high court.” At Reason’s Volokh Conspiracy blog, Jonathan Adler notes that Justice Neil Gorsuch’s separate opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, “and Justice Thomas’ dissent, are the opening salvos in what promises to be an interesting intra-originalist debate over the proper scope and application of the ‘void for vagueness’ doctrine, and the extent to which this doctrine is part of an originalist understanding of Due Process.” At The Daily Caller, Kevin Daley explains that “[t]hough the particulars of this case dictated a progressive result, [Gorsuch’s] rationale emanates from conservative legal theories that, if applied, would dramatically circumscribe the growing power of federal bureaucrats.” At The New Republic, Matt Ford remarks that Gorsuch’s vote to strike down the provision was “the answer [the administration] should’ve expected when Trump promised to put another Scalia on the court.” The editorial board of The Wall Street Journal agrees that “[t]hough … Gorsuch joined the four liberals on an immigration case, his logic would have made the late Justice proud.” At the Harvard Law Review Blog, Leah Litman observes that “[t]he impact of the Dimaya decision is potentially enormous,” and cautions that “[w]hether Dimaya rights wrongful convictions will depend on how courts interpret a slew of procedural restrictions on federal resentencing and federal post-conviction review.” At the Sentencing Law and Policy Blog, Douglas Berman notes that “it is hard to know how many federal prisoners have viable Dimaya claims, while it is easy to know that all prisoners will face an array of possible procedural headaches when trying now to raise Dimaya claims.”

Steve Vladeck has this blog’s analysis of Tuesday’s opinion in Wilson v. Sellers, in which the justices held that a federal habeas court reviewing an unexplained state-court decision on the merits should “look through” that decision to the last reasoned state-court decision. At the Civil Procedure and Federal Courts Blog, Adam Steinman observes that “[t]he big question going forward will be what is required to rebut the majority’s look-through presumption.”

Danielle D’Onfro analyzes Tuesday’s argument in Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP v. Appling, which asks whether a false statement about a single asset can be a statement respecting the debtor’s financial condition that precludes the discharge of a debt in bankruptcy, for this blog.

At Governing, Daniel Vock reports that during Tuesday’s oral argument in South Dakota v. Wayfair, in which the court will reconsider a ruling that limits the ability of state governments to require out-of-state online retailers to collect tax on sales to state residents, “[t]he justices spent much of the hour … focusing on the practical fallout for suddenly allowing states to impose online sales taxes.” Lisa Soronen analyzes the argument at the National Conference of State Legislatures Blog. [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioner in this case.]


  • For the Tribune News Service (via Governing), Jason Meisner reports that the justices’ refusal on Monday to hear the appeal of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich from his conviction on corruption charges, “mark[s] the end of a decade-long legal road and virtually guarantee[s] he will remain in prison until 2024 barring a presidential pardon or commutation.” [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioner in this case.]
  • In an op-ed for The Guardian, Najah Farley argues that a ruling in favor of the employers in Epic Systems v. Lewis, in which the court will decide whether labor laws forbid class waivers in employment contracts, “could be disastrous” for the #MeToo movement.
  • At the Washington Independent Review of Books, Kenneth Jost interviews Richard Hasen about Hasen’s new book, “The Justice of Contradictions: Antonin Scalia and the Politics of Disruption.”
  • At Vox, Alexia Fernandez Campbell reports that “[a] black Alabama woman who lost a job offer because she refused to cut her dreadlocks is asking the Supreme Court to hear her case” and explains that “[t]he central issue in the case revolves around two significant questions: What is race, and what is racial discrimination?”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 19, 2018, 7:26 AM),