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Thursday round-up

At his eponymous blog, Michael Dorf explores the judicial politics at play in Monday’s decision in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, in which the justices struck down the federal law that bars states from legalizing sports betting, that might “explain[] the liberal wing of the Court’s acceptance of the anti-commandeering doctrine.” At PrawfsBlawg, Rick Hill suggests that the case “is an elegant illustration of how disagreements about baselines can make a hash of distinctions between ‘negative’ prohibitions and ‘affirmative’ mandates.” In an op-ed for The Daily Signal, Jonathan Wood asserts that “[r]egardless of your personal views of sports betting, you should celebrate this decision as a win for federalism, a core guarantee of democratic accountability.”

At The Daily Caller, Kevin Daley reports that “[t]wo surrogate mothers are petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to give greater credence to the constitutional rights of surrogates in custody disputes,” noting that “[a]t this stage of their cases, the women are not litigating the merits of their claims,” but “are fighting for the right to argue that their surrogacy contracts are unlawful.” Additional coverage comes from Ariana Eunjung Cha for The Washington Post.


  • At, Tony Mauro points out that, although “life-tenured Supreme Court justices don’t like to be told when to retire or move on,” “presidents and others keep trying,” and that “[i]f anything, hinting that it is time to go seems to stiffen justices’ resolve to stay.”
  • Subscript offers graphic explainers for three of Monday’s decisions: Byrd v. United States, here; United States v. Sanchez-Gomez, here; and Dahda v. United States, here.
  • At the Election Law Blog, Richard Pildes maintains that the partisan-gerrymanding cases currently before the court exhibit “much starker, more extreme records of partisan intent than in the two major prior cases from past decades,” and he “wonders whether a majority of the Court will find it so easy to permit all this to continue without any judicial constraint.”
  • At his eponymous blog, Sheldon Nahmod observes that the court’s decision earlier this term in District of Columbia v. Wesby, in which the court held that police officers sued for false arrest after arresting partygoers in an abandoned house had probable cause for the arrests and were entitled to immunity from the lawsuit, “signals to federal courts and litigants that it takes qualified immunity very seriously in the false arrest setting as well.”
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman examines “cases where states are involved or that come from state courts,” which “play an incredibly important role in the Supreme Court’s annual docket and … often have vast implications for state populations as well as for the nation as a whole.”
  • In an op-ed at Fox News, Karen Harned argues that a ruling against the union in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, in which the court will consider whetheran Illinois law allowing public-sector unions to charge nonmembers for collective-bargaining activities violates the First Amendment, “could level the playing field for small businesses in states where organized labor wields inordinate influence.” [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 respondents in this case.]

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (May. 17, 2018, 7:26 AM),