on Jun 12, 2018 at 7:06 am
Yesterday the court issued decisions in four cases; Mark Walsh has a first-hand account of the announcements for this blog. In Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, the justices ruled 5-4 that Ohio’s process for removing infrequent voters from the state’s voter rolls, under which a failure to vote triggers the removal process, does not violate federal voter-registration laws. Amy Howe has this blog’s opinion analysis, which first appeared at Howe on the Court. Subscript has a graphic explainer for the decision. At Good Judgment, Ryan Adler notes that the outcome is another win for Supreme Court forecasters. At Bloomberg, Greg Stohr reports that the court “said the system was a legitimate effort to identify people who have moved away and didn’t illegally penalize people for not voting.” For The Washington Post Robert Barnes notes that the case “is one of several in which the Trump administration switched sides; the Obama administration had backed challengers of Ohio’s process.” Additional coverage comes from Nina Totenberg at NPR, David Savage for the Los Angeles Times, Andrew Chung at Reuters, Richard Wolf for USA Today, Pete Williams at NBC News, Ariane de Vogue and Maegan Vazquez at CNN, Lydia Wheeler at The Hill, Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed News, Kevin Daley at The Daily Caller, Adam Liptak for The New York Times, Mark Sherman at the Associated Press, Gary Gately at Talk Media News, and Bill Mears and Brooke Singman at Fox News, who report that “[a]t least six other states have similar rules in place, and Monday’s decision could lead others to adopt similar procedures.”
At Mother Jones, Pema Levy maintains that “strong evidence suggests that the [Ohio] policy causes minorities in heavily Democratic areas to be purged disproportionately.” Additional commentary comes from Garrett Epps at The Atlantic, Dahlia Lithwick at Slate, Daniel Nichanian in an analysis for NBC News, Mark Joseph Stern at Slate, here and here, Lisa Soronen at the National Conference of State Legislatures Blog, and Richard Hasen at Slate, who suggests that “Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s lone dissent provides two paths forward to mount new attacks on these voter-suppression laws based on their discriminatory impact.”
The court also ruled 8-1 in Sveen v. Melin that retroactive application of a state law providing that divorce automatically nullifies the designation of a former spouse as a life-insurance beneficiary does not violate the Constitution’s contracts clause. This blog’s opinion analysis, which first appeared at Howe on the Court, comes from Amy Howe.
In China Agritech v. Resh, the court held unanimously that the rule suspending the statute of limitations for individual claims filed after a failed class action does not apply to subsequent class actions. Ronald Mann has this blog’s opinion analysis. Subscript’s graphic explainer is here. At the Cato Institute’s Cato at Liberty blog, Walter Olson remarks that the court’s “unanimity is significant,” showing as it does that “[o]n procedural and jurisdictional issues, at least, today’s liberal wing on the Court has sometimes been willing to unite with the Rehnquist-Scalia-Roberts wing to recognize and rein in the dangers of lawyer-driven overlitigation, the tactical use of lawsuits as a weapon, and so forth.” Archis Parasharami discusses the decision at Mayer Brown’s Class Defense Blog, as does Laura Lawless Robertson at The National Law Review. [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.]
Yesterday the justices also affirmed the lower court’s judgment in Washington v. United States by an equally divided court. (Justice Anthony Kennedy was recused because he participated in a ruling in the case when he was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.) At E&E News, Amanda Reilly reports that “[a]t issue are blocked culverts — tunnels that are supposed to allow streams to pass under roads — that the 9th Circuit decided violated tribal fishing rights in 1850s-era treaties between tribes and the Pacific Northwest’s white settlers.” For The New York Times, John Eligon reports that the deadlock “let stand a lower court’s order that the state make billions of dollars worth of repairs to roads that had damaged the state’s salmon habitats and contributed to population loss,” and that it ended a “decades-long legal battle that drew attention because of its implications for Native American treaty rights and state sovereignty.” At The National Law Journal, Tony Mauro calls the outcome a “reminder … of the importance of recusals in the Supreme Court’s work.”
The justices also issued orders from last week’s conference, but added no new cases to their merits docket and took no action on a cert petition filed by a florist who refused to do the flowers for a same-sex wedding. Amy Howe covers the order list for this blog; her coverage first appeared at Howe on the Court. At Bloomberg, Greg Stohr reports that the justices also “refused to reconsider rulings that give Major League Baseball a broad exemption from federal antitrust laws, turning away two appeals.” Mark Walsh reports at Education Week’s School Law Blog that the court “declined to take up a … case involving efforts by Indiana to limit teacher-tenure rights.”
First Mondays (podcast) looks at last week’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in which the court ruled in favor of a Christian baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. At Keen News Service, Lisa Keen observes that the majority “could have easily resolved its concern about the Commission’s ‘hostility’ with a brief order,” but “[i]nstead, it provided an 18-page majority opinion that signaled the Supreme Court’s concern that gay people be treated with ‘dignity and worth,’ that laws ‘can, and in some cases must’ protect them, and that their efforts to be treated equality must be given ‘great weight and respect’ by the courts.”
- At ACSblog, Richard Lorenc urges the justices to review a cert petition filed by a death-row inmate who claims that his death sentence “was improperly swayed by anti-gay prejudice.”
- For The New York Times, Adam Liptak reports that Dassey v. Dittmann, a cert petition filed by one of the subjects of the Netflix documentary series “Making a Murderer” that the justices will take up at their conference on Thursday, could allow the court “to consider mounting evidence that false confessions from juveniles play a role in a disproportionate share of wrongful convictions.” [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioner in this case.]
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