on Jun 26, 2018 at 7:15 am
Yesterday the Supreme Court issued two more decisions, bringing the number of remaining cases down to four. Mark Walsh has a first-hand account of today’s opinion announcements for this blog. In Abbott v. Perez, the court, by a vote of 5-4, largely upheld Texas’ federal congressional and state legislative maps against a racial-gerrymandering challenge. Amy Howe analyzes the opinion for this blog; her analysis was first published at Howe on the Court. Subscript Law has a graphic explainer for the decision. At The Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin and Brent Kendall report that the court reinstated the state’s “maps for its congressional seats and state House of Representative districts, both of which had been thrown out for discriminating against minority voters, ruling … that the Republican-controlled Legislature’s good faith in adopting the lines should be presumed.” Additional coverage comes from Bill Mears at Fox News, Nina Totenberg at NPR, Kevin Daley at The Daily Caller, Richard Wolf for USA Today, Robert Barnes for The Washington Post, Adam Liptak for The New York Times, and Lawrence Hurley at Reuters.
At CNN, Joan Biskupic suggests that “[t]he Supreme Court continues to deliver an implicit message to civil rights advocates challenging state election practices as discriminatory: States can do what they want,” and that this term’s “decisions are likely to reverberate in upcoming elections and the post-2020 Census redistricting.” Additional commentary and analysis come from Michael Dorf at Dorf on Law, Sam Levine at HuffPost, Imani Gandy at Rewire.News, Ruthann Robson at the Constitutional Law Prof Blog, Matt Ford at The New Republic, Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress, Richard Hasen at Slate, and Mark Joseph Stern, in two posts at Slate, here and here, who argues that “[t]he faceoff between Alito and Sotomayor over voting rights reveals a deep fissure between the justices—not just about statutory interpretation, but also about who deserves the court’s empathy in a voting rights dispute.”
In Ohio v. American Express Co., the court ruled 5-4 that American Express’ anti-steering rules do not violate federal antitrust law. Beth Farmer analyzes the opinion for this blog. Subscript Law’s graphic explainer is here. At Reuters, Andrew Chung reports that “the justices upheld a lower court decision that had cleared the company of unlawfully stifling competition through so-called anti-steering provisions in its contracts with merchants.” Additional coverage comes from Richard Wolf for USA Today, Adam Liptak for The New York Times, and Brent Kendall and AnnaMaria Andriotis for The Wall Street Journal, who report that “[t]he high court said the proper approach was to evaluate AmEx’s model more broadly to take into account the cardholder side of the market.” Commentary comes from Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns & Money. [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 petitioners in this case.]
The justices also issued orders from last week’s conference, adding seven new cases to next year’s docket and sending the case of a florist who declined on religious grounds to provide custom flowers for a same-sex wedding back to the lower courts for them to reconsider in light of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission and a partisan-gerrymandering case from North Carolina back for reconsideration in light of Gill v. Whitford. Amy Howe has this blog’s coverage. For The New York Times, Adam Liptak reports that the justices “pass[ed] up opportunities to clarify its inconclusive rulings in some of the most closely watched cases this term.” For The Washington Post, Robert Barnes likens the dispositions to “punting after a punt — raising questions about the careful path the court is treading this term,” notably, “whether the delay is related to the plans of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, a pivotal vote whose future on the bench is a matter of intense speculation.” Coverage of the remand in Arlene’s Flowers v. Washington comes from Gene Johnson at the Associated Press, Ariane de Vogue and Eli Watkins at CNN, Greg Stohr at Bloomberg, Richard Wolf for USA Today, and Lawrence Hurley at Reuters. Commentary comes from Ruthann Robson at the Constitutional Law Prof Blog and Kristen Waggoner at National Review. Coverage of the remand in Rucho v. Common Cause, the redistricting case, comes from Josh Gerstein at Politico, Richard Wolf for USA Today, Robert Barnes for The Washington Post, and Greg Stohr at Bloomberg, while commentary comes from Rick Hasen at the Election Law Blog.
For The Washington Post, Robert Barnes reports that the justices “turned down a plea to intervene in the case of Brendan Dassey, whose confession to rape and murder as a teenager was portrayed as coerced in the popular Netflix documentary ‘Making a Murderer.’” Additional coverage of the cert denial in Dassey v. Dittmann comes from Fox News, Ariane de Vogue and Eli Watkins at CNN, Robert Barnes for The Washington Post, and Jessica Gresko at the Associated Press. [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioner in this case.]
Commentary on Carpenter v. United States, in which the justices held last week that the government ordinarily needs a warrant to access historical cell-site location information, comes from Albert Gidari at Stanford Law School’s Legal Aggregate blog and Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress. Counting to 5 (podcast) includes a discussion of the decision.
Subscript Law provides a graphic explainer for last week’s decision in Ortiz v. United States, in which the justices held that a judge’s simultaneous service on two military courts does not violate the dual-officeholder ban. At Lawfare, Aditya Bamzai explains why he disagrees with the court’s conclusion that it had jurisdiction to decide the case.
- For The New York Times, Adam Liptak looks at Timbs v. Indiana, in which the court will decide whether the Eighth Amendment’s excessive fines clause applies to the states, noting that “[a]s Justice Clarence Thomas explained last year in an opinion urging the Supreme Court to examine civil forfeiture laws, government seizures of property used to commit crimes have become worrisomely popular.”
- At Take Care, Leah Litman and Abigail DeHart argue that “many of the Court’s recent decisions tell us what we need to know [about Trump v. Hawaii, a challenge to the latest version of the Trump administration’s entry ban]: Under any meaningful standard for assessing government motives, the entry ban must fail.”
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