Yesterday the Supreme Court wrapped up its last session of the term with oral argument in one of this term’s marquee cases, Trump v. Hawaii, a challenge to the latest version of the Trump administration’s entry ban. Andrew Hamm rounds up early coverage of and commentary on the argument for this blog. At Fox News, Bill Mears reports that “[t]he last scheduled oral argument of the term appeared divided along the usual conservative-liberal lines.” For The Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin and Brent Kendall report that “the ban appeared likely to survive the Supreme Court’s scrutiny …, after the government’s lawyer argued that current restrictions on entry from five Muslim-majority nations traced not from the president’s provocative campaign statements but the deliberate assessments of national-security professionals.” Another account of the argument comes from Michael Bobelian at Forbes.
At Vox, Dara Lind breaks down the argument, suggesting that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy “appeared most worried about the national security implications of striking down the ban — with the idea that this would limit some future president from doing what needed to be done to keep America safe.” Garrett Epps writes at The Atlantic that “[t]he two advocates put forward their cases as well as they can be made; how you assess them will depend on whether you see the case in terms of equality and religious liberty or … as a matter of danger, world conflict, and defense.” In an op-ed for Bloomberg, Noah Feldman maintains that “Justice Elena Kagan has a strategy to persuade swing Justice Anthony Kennedy to vote against the ban” – “to depict the case as a watershed moment in the court’s jurisprudence about bias — thus making it extraordinarily difficult for Kennedy to find himself on the wrong side of history.” At PrawfsBlawg, Howard Wasserman wonders “whether the lack of interest in the scope of the injunction hints at where the Court will come down on the merits.” Additional commentary comes from Will Rosenzweig at Hosts of Error and Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns & Money.
At Real Clear Policy, Nathan Chapman argues that Justice Neil Gorsuch’s separate concurrence in Sessions v. Dimaya, in which the court ruled that the catchall section of the immigration law’s criminal-removal provision is unconstitutionally vague, “may portend a return of the rule of law — within, and through, due process.” At American Greatness, Mark Pulliam wonders why “so many right-of-center scholars praise[d] Gorsuch’s erroneous decision.”
- For the Tribune News Service (via Governing), Kevin Diaz reports that the oral argument on Tuesday in Abbott v. Perez, two consolidated redistricting cases from Texas, “brought to a head long simmering tensions about political gerrymandering in nearly a dozen states across the nation, accentuated by Texas’ long history of disputes involving allegations of racial discrimination in the makeup of its political boundaries.”
- At Good Judgment, Ryan Adler offers advice on forecasting Supreme Court decisions, warning that “[a]bsolute concern with what will happen, and not what should happen, is the only way to keep from putting a thumb on your own scales.”
- At the Cato Institute’s Cato at Liberty blog, Jay Schweikert urges the justices to review a case the extends a Fourth Amendment doctrine that “give[s] police officers nearly unfettered discretion to stop any person they choose at any time” for a traffic violation “to parking violations—and effectively, to any and all fine-only offenses, no matter how trivial”; he argues that [e]specially in light of the rampant state of overcriminalization in our country today, that move represents an endorsement of the general warrant in all but name.”
- In his most recent post at Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman examines requests for extensions of time to file cert petitions, looking at “who files them, how the justices respond and what these applications for time extensions contain.”
- At the Election Law Blog, Richard Pildes imagines a scenario in which “Justice Kennedy could still be line to write the lead opinion in Gill [v. Whitford, a partisan-gerrymandering case from the October sitting], despite his opinion [Tuesday] in the ATS case” from the same argument session.
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