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Monday round-up

As the second week of the November argument session begins, the justices have two cases on their agenda today. The first is Sturgeon v, Frost, in which the court will revisit the question of whether the National Park Service can regulate activities on navigable waters within the national park system in Alaska. Sandi Zellmer previewed the case for this blog. Luis Lozada and Tyler Schmitt have a preview at Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. At Greenwire (subscription or registration required), Ellen Gilmer reports that although the “details of John Sturgeon’s case are odd and Alaska-specific: amphibious vehicles, big game and federal laws tailored to the Last Frontier,” “it’s far from a novelty issue[:] Experts say a ruling could have a much further reach, affecting federal land managers’ ability to regulate navigable waters across the country.”

This morning’s second case is Virginia Uranium, Inc. v. Warren, which asks whether a Virginia moratorium on uranium mining is pre-empted by the Atomic Energy Act. Emily Hammond had this blog’s preview; Isaac Syed and Yuexin Anglea Zhu preview the case for Cornell. For The Washington Post, Gregory Schneider and Robert Barnes report that “[t]he legal dispute spins off into directions as unexpected as finding uranium on an old Virginia plantation”: “It pits a state’s right to regulate industry against the federal government’s power to oversee matters of national interest” and it “also hinges on trying to intuit the true motives of Virginia legislators more than 30 years ago when they enacted the moratorium.” In a Bloomberg Law podcast, Kimberly Robinson and Jordan Rubin look ahead at this week’s oral arguments.

On Friday, the justices added six cases, for a total of five hours of oral argument, to their docket for this term, including a high-profile establishment clause challenge to the placement of a World War I memorial shaped like a cross on public land in Maryland; they also ordered reargument in a Fifth Amendment takings case that was argued before Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the bench and they denied the government’s request to delay the trial in a dispute over a question regarding citizenship on the 2020 census. Amy Howe covers these developments for this blog. Additional coverage of the “peace cross” case comes from Greg Stohr at Bloomberg, Jess Bravin for The Wall Street Journal, David Savage for the Los Angeles Times, Adam Liptak for The New York Times, Richard Wolf for USA Today, and Tony Mauro at The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required). At SCOTUS OA, Matthew Sag discusses the reargument order in Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania, suggesting that it “basically confirms our prediction that the case was a 4:4 split, although it is possible that some of the justices were genuinely undecided and thought additional argument and briefing could clarify matters.”

Amy Howe reports for this blog that the justices on Friday also “declined to intervene to block the trial in a lawsuit filed by a group of children and teenagers who have asked a federal district court in Oregon to order the federal government to prepare and put in place a plan to phase out fossil-fuel emissions.” For The Wall Street Journal, Brent Kendall reports that “[t]he Supreme Court left open the possibility that the Trump administration could try again by filing a new request with a federal appeals court that seeks to stop the case.”


  • For The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro reports that “[t]he Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee issued a 414-page summary report Saturday night on its investigations into alleged sexual abuse by then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, concluding that none of the incidents alleged during his confirmation hearing had any merit.”
  • Greg Stohr reports at Bloomberg that “[a] formal ceremony next week at the U.S. Supreme Court for … Kavanaugh won’t include the traditional walk down the court’s front steps, the court’s spokeswoman said Friday, citing security concerns.”
  • At Bloomberg Law, Patrick Gregory reports on court-watchers’ reactions to proposed Supreme Court rule changes: Those intended “to help justices make decisions about recusals would be welcome,” while “proposals to reduce the maximum word count for briefs received mixed reviews from appellate practitioners.”
  • At The Hill, Lydia Wheeler reports that according to poll results released last week by Fix the Court, “[t]he majority of Americans support the idea of setting term limits or an age for retirement for Supreme Court justices.”
  • At Concurring Opinions, Marco Simon describes nine “misconceptions” pervading last Wednesday’s “argument in Jam v. International Finance Corporation(IFC), where the question is the degree of immunity that international organizations (IOs) enjoy in U.S. courts,” arguing that “[i]mmunity distorts market behavior; it creates classic moral hazard problems, where actors take unwarranted risks because they know they cannot be sued.”
  • At the Florida Court Review, John Cavaliere looks at Reynolds v. Florida, a cert petition in a Florida capital-sentencing case that the justices considered at last Friday’s conference.
  • A Daily Journal podcast focuses on “[a]micus filings at the Supreme Court[, which] are at record levels, … seem more influential than ever” and are “also increasingly submitted by a small coterie of often-coordinated SCOTUS veterans.”
  • Kenneth Jost reviews a recent biography of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life,” for the Washington Independent Review of Books.
  • In the latest episode of First Mondays (podcast), Dan Epps and Steve Vladeck “take a deep dive into two cases at the intersection of federal courts and foreign relations that are being argued during the November sitting: Jam v. International Finance Corporation and Republic of Sudan v. Harrison.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Nov. 5, 2018, 7:13 AM),