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Thursday round-up

At CNN, Lauren Fox reports that “Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday that he hopes to have President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee [Brett Kavanaugh] confirmed by the Senate by early October and that hearings are most likely to begin sometime in September.” For The Washington Times, Alex Swoyer reports that “[a] Christian women’s organization announced Wednesday it’s launching a bus tour in eight states to rally support” for Trump’s nominee. Brett Samuels reports at The Hill that “Capitol Police charged 74 people on Wednesday in connection with a protest in the Senate office building against Kavanaugh.”

At The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin urges liberals wondering “whether it’s even worthwhile … to fight [Kavanaugh’s] nomination” “to remember that fighting Supreme Court nominees, even against formidable odds, can succeed—and produce a better Court than anyone might have expected.” In an op-ed for The Hill, C. Boyden Gray explains why it is “absurd” for Democrats to “say they need even more documents than the White House has offered from Kavanaugh’s days in the Executive branch.” At The Heritage Foundation, Thomas Jipping and Christopher Balducci argue that “Democrats may go looking for other records, but Kavanaugh’s record already speaks for itself.”

For The Wall Street Journal, Brent Kendall reports that although Kavanaugh’s opinions in labor and employment cases have often “favored employers, sometimes embracing positions that other colleagues found too broad or conservative,” Kavanaugh has also written “opinions that sided with employees in several instances, including a racial-discrimination case he has described as one of the most significant of his career.” Subscript Law offers a graphic explainer on how Kavanaugh could affect the Supreme Court’s rulings in climate-change cases.

At the Brennan Center, Daniel Weiner evaluates Kavanaugh’s campaign-finance record, warning that “[i]n his 12 years as a federal appeals court judge, Kavanaugh has cast doubt on the constitutionality of fundraising limits; suggested a way to get around disclosure laws; and even gone out of his way to limit the reach of the foreign spending ban.” At National Review, Bradley Smith asserts that “[o]f all the attacks on … Kavanaugh, perhaps the silliest is that he would open the door to foreign money in U.S. elections,” because “[t]he basis for this claim is an opinion that Judge Kavanaugh wrote upholding a law that prohibits non-resident aliens from making political contributions or expenditures.”

At Reason’s Hit & Run blog, Damon Root maintains that Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s willingness to support Kavanaugh after voicing concerns about the judge’s approach to Fourth Amendment digital privacy issues “suggests that in his private meeting with Kavanaugh, the SCOTUS nominee signaled his willingness to take a new view of the Fourth Amendment in light of [the Supreme Court’s recent decision in] Carpenter [v. United States],” and he urges Kavanaugh to “say so publicly during his Senate confirmation hearings.” In an op-ed at, Daniel Gibson argues that Kavanaugh’s “jurisprudence is fundamentally about legitimacy of process, not desirability of outcomes.” In an op-ed for Forbes, Brian Miller suggests that “Kavanaugh’s record of clear and disciplined writing may be one of the most influential traits he brings to the Court.”


  • For this blog, Amy Howe reports that the court yesterday released a new set of circuit assignments for the justices in the wake of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement; her post first appeared at Howe on the Court.
  • For The Hollywood Reporter, Eriq Garner reports on “a pending petition before the U.S. Supreme Court, where [Bill] Cosby [is] looking to defend ‘long-standing principles’ making it tougher for celebrities to sue” for defamation.
  • At Reason’s Volokh Conspiracy blog, Ilya Somin explains why a recent proposal for “court balancing” “ultimately seems little more than court-packing under another name,” which “[i]f implemented, … is likely to create much the same dangers.”
  • In an op-ed for The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse asks what a “conservative future” for the Supreme Court really means, “focus[ing] on Justice Clarence Thomas and specifically on the record he compiled during the past term,” which, “[i]n a term that produced only 59 signed opinions,” included “six important and long-enduring precedents that Justice Thomas would have wiped off the books as inconsistent with the original understanding.”
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman examines oral-argument interruptions during October Term 2017, concluding that the “terrain appears to have changed … when compared to previous terms.” 

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Aug. 2, 2018, 7:42 AM),