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Thursday round-up

Amy Howe analyzes yesterday’s oral argument in Kisor v. Wilkie, in which the justices considered whether to overrule precedents that require courts to defer to a federal agency’s reasonable interpretation of its own regulations, for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court; she reports that the justices were “deeply divided in a case in which their ruling could have implications not only for veterans but also for other areas of the law ranging from the environment to immigration.” For The New York Times, Adam Liptak reports that the argument centered on “whether to cut back the power of administrative agencies, a central goal of the conservative legal movement,” and that “[t]he issue may seem technical, but there was little question that the justices viewed it as momentous.” Greg Stohr and Jennifer Dlouhy report at Bloomberg that “[t]he high court debate was an unusually lopsided one in which neither lawyer gave a full-throated defense of the 1997 ruling.” At The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro offers four takeaways from the argument. Additional coverage comes from Mark Walsh at Education Week’s School Law Blog and Ellen Gilmer at E&E News.

The court issued one opinion yesterday, ruling 6-2 in Lorenzo v. Securities and Exchange Commission that a defendant can be charged with violating federal law barring fraudulent securities schemes if he distributed, but did not make, false statements. Ronald Mann analyzes the opinion for this blog. For The Wall Street Journal, Brent Kendall reports that the “ruling provided a boost for the SEC after it had lost a string of high court cases in recent years that crimped how the agency brought cases.” Additional coverage comes from Andrew Chung at Reuters.

At The Daily Signal, Hans von Spakovsky and Elizabeth Slattery weigh in on the two partisan-gerrymandering cases that were argued this week, Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek, urging the court to “hold that political gerrymandering, while perhaps unwise and in some instances unfair, is not a constitutional concern and instead is a political thicket the federal courts should not enter.” At the Election Law Blog, Nicholas Stephanopolous questions some justices’ emphasis during the arguments on the idea of proportional representation, explaining that “[f]irst, proportional representation is an entirely inappropriate benchmark for an electoral system like ours[, a]nd second, none of the Rucho or Lamone plaintiffs’ proposals would actually require proportionality” – instead, they are “rooted in the quite different concept of partisan symmetry.”


  • Sandi Zellmer has this blog’s analysis of Tuesday’s opinion in Sturgeon v. Frost, in which the court held that a federal law bars the National Park Service from exercising regulatory control over the Nation River in Alaska because the river is not “public land” under the statute.
  • At The World and Everything in It (podcast), Mary Reichard discusses the oral arguments in Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill, an appeal by Republican legislators of a lower-court ruling that requires 11 state legislative districts to be redrawn to correct racial gerrymandering, and Smith v. Berryhill, which asks whether dismissal as untimely of a Supplemental Security Income claimant’s request for review is a final decision subject to judicial review.
  • In an op-ed for The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse surveys the array of abortion-related cert petitions seeking Supreme Court review, observing that “[r]ed states are competing with one another to enact abortion restrictions that, while flagrantly unconstitutional under current law, could provide opportunities for the newly composed Supreme Court to reopen the issue.”
  • At CNN, Joan Biskupic provides adapted excerpts from her new book about Chief Justice John Roberts; one excerpt focuses on a career marked by “perfect timing,” here, and one charts the chief justice’s views on race, “one area of the law where he is likely to remain uncompromising,” here.
  • At Justia’s Verdict blog, Sherry Colb writes that Ramos v. Louisiana, in which the court will decide whether the Sixth Amendment guarantee of a unanimous jury in a criminal case applies to the states, will turn in part on “the role that unanimity plays in a criminal trial.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 28, 2019, 7:13 AM),