Breaking News

Thursday round-up

Court-watchers continue to consider the effect of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation on future Supreme Court decisions and on the court as an institution. At CNN, Joan Biskupic writes that although “[i]n the wake of the divisive Brett Kavanaugh hearings, Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday tried to assure the public that the US Supreme Court serves the whole country, not one political party over another, and that it is committed to collegiality,” “America’s highest court is deeply split along ideological and political lines, and Roberts sometimes fosters that divide.” In an episode of New York magazine Daily Intelligencer’s 2038 podcast, Dahlia Lithwick talks about what the court might look like in 20 years. Focusing on the nearer future, Daniel Hemel points out at Take Care that “Roberts Court doctrines regarding the Commerce Clause, compelled speech, commercial speech, RFRA, federalism, and agency deference don’t always tilt toward the right.” At National Review, Conrad Black maintains that “[n]ow that the dust is settling on the Kavanaugh affair, it is well to remember that much of the concern over the stance he may take as a judge could be unjustified,” and that because “[t]hese are life appointments, and judges’ views change once they are installed,” “[t]he calculation of a solid conservative majority is apt to be fragile in fact.”


  • At Law360 (subscription required), Emma Cueto reports that “[a] whistleblower has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether federal courts can impose sanctions for behavior that happened before a suit was filed, saying a Tenth Circuit decision upholding sanctions against him created a circuit split.”
  • Jordan Rubin reports at Bloomberg Law that “[a] Missouri death row inmate’s Supreme Court fight has support from unlikely allies: former executioners,” who have filed a “‘friend of the court’—brief with the justices to share firsthand reflections on administering the ultimate punishment” in Bucklew v. Precythe, in which an inmate argues that because he suffers from a rare medical condition, execution by lethal injection will cause him intolerable pain. [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is counsel on an amicus brief in support of the petitioner in this case.]
  • At The Economist’s Democracy in America blog, Steven Mazie writes that the issue in the court’s most recent grant, Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, which asks whether a private operator of a public-access TV channel is a “state actor” who can be sued for violations of the First Amendment, “goes to the heart of a fraught area of First Amendment law that could have significant implications for media companies—from Twitter to National Public Radio—that curate content on their platforms.”
  • For The Atlantic, Bob Bauer offers several suggestions for reforming the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Supreme Court confirmation process.
  • At the Brookings Institution’s FixGov blog, Russell Wheeler explains that “judicial misconduct complaints against now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh … won’t proceed because Supreme Court justices are not subject to the federal court’s disciplinary mechanism.”

We rely on our readers to send us links for our round-up.  If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, podcast, or op-ed relating to the Supreme Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at] Thank you!

Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 18, 2018, 7:12 AM),