Breaking News

Friday round-up

Judge Brett Kavanaugh remains atop the slow-moving Supreme Court news cycle. Adam Liptak of The New York Times surveys 12 sets of evaluations spanning 700 pages from about 350 law students at Harvard, Yale and Georgetown and finds “almost only glowing praise for Judge Kavanaugh’s teaching.” Former Harvard students praise Kavanaugh in a letter at Boston Globe.

Lorraine Woellert of Politico covers the refusal of New York Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democratic leaders to meet with Kavanaugh, “another salvo in the deepening cold war” between Trump and Schumer. Elise Viebeck of The Washington Post reports that Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said Wednesday that senators expect to receive “at least 1 million pages of documents” related to Kavanaugh’s time in President George W. Bush’s administration and as a Republican “political operative,” which Viebeck calls “a sign of a mammoth task that could slow the timeline for confirmation hearings.” Coverage on polling about Kavanaugh’s possible confirmation – from Gallup, the Pew Research Center and Fox News – comes from Alex Lubben for Vice News and Nathaniel Rakich of FiveThirtyEight.

Commentary on the confirmation process comes from Kent Greenfield on WBUR’s Cognoscenti blog, who contends that the “Senate should wait to vote on Kavanaugh until we can be sure Trump’s entire presidency is not illegitimate because of espionage, conspiracy, collusion and — yes — treason.” Dahlia Lithwick and Jed Shugerman of Slate credit Kavanaugh for “his candor in taking his stands against Roe last year,” but argue that this topic “must also be addressed directly during his confirmation.”

David Savage of Los Angeles Times reports that the “Supreme Court could have a conservative majority to strike down bans on semi-automatic weapons in California and other liberal states and to decree that law-abiding Americans have a right to carry a gun in public.” Mark Sherman and Jennifer Peltz of Associated Press report that although Kavanaugh’s record on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit does not “directly deal with LGBT issues,” “his approach to judging leads some scholars and activists to believe he is unlikely to echo Kennedy’s votes.” For this blog, Tejinder Singh reviews Kavanaugh’s dissent in a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, Seven-Sky v. Holder. Richard Wolf of USA Today reports that even as Kavanaugh has been a “reliable conservative vote” on the D.C. Circuit, he “has displayed a degree of understanding that often borders on empathy for the policy goals of those he rules against.” Eric Posner on his eponymous blog assesses Kavanaugh and claims that “[w]hatever he is, he’s not an originalist, at least not by self-identification. Not yet, anyway.”

Traci Yoder at the National Lawyers Guild blog expresses concern about Kavanaugh’s confirmation and encourages better organizing on the left, while Anthony Marcum in an op-ed for The Hill suggests that even “if Kavanaugh is confirmed to serve on the Supreme Court, there will inevitably be some surprises.” Oliver Roeder of FiveThirtyEight conducts the “morbid exercise” of assessing how long the current justices are likely to stay on the bench.

One of the term’s major cases was Janus v. AFSCME, in which the Supreme Court overruled Abood v. Detroit Board of Education and held that the state of Illinois’ extraction of agency fees from nonconsenting public-sector employees violates the First Amendment. Aaron Tang at Take Care looks at lawsuits about refunds for fair-share fees collected before the decision, which he sees as unlikely to succeed. Jennifer Mueller of Slate assesses the logic underpinning the decision and suggests it may be “bad news for public pensions” as well.


  • Sheldon Nahmod on his eponymous blog analyzes the Supreme Court’s decision this term in Lozman v. Riviera Beach, in which the court held that existence of probable cause for Fane Lozman’s arrest for disrupting a city council meeting does not bar his First Amendment retaliatory arrest claim under the circumstances of this case.
  • Tony Mauro of The National Law Journal (registration required) reports that two petitions involving Bill Cosby “are drawing interest, in part because the justices have not recently taken up disputes over libel and defamation, a part of First Amendment doctrine that is well-settled.”

Recommended Citation: Andrew Hamm, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jul. 20, 2018, 9:49 AM),