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Friday round-up

At The Economist, Steven Mazie discusses Tuesday’s oral argument in Department of Commerce v. New York, a challenge to the Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’ decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census, concluding that “the five conservatives have a clear—if fraught—path to approving the question[:] The justices can simply defer to the official, brushing aside evidence about his motives.” At The Progressive, Bill Blum writes that “[t]he Supreme Court appears poised to hand Donald Trump another victory in his war on immigrants.” In an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, Edward Blum “hope[s] the justices allow a citizenship question, because it has the potential to restore electoral equality for all U.S. citizens as well as the principle of one person, one vote.” At Balkinization, Marty Lederman argues that “[b]y taking into consideration the fact that the undercount [caused by the addition of the question] would be the result of ‘unlawful’ action–and especially by going so far as to decisively discount the harm of the undercount for that reason–Ross acted arbitrarily and, especially, capriciously.”

Charlotte Garden analyzes Wednesday’s decision in Lamps Plus Inc. v. Varela, in which the court held that that the Federal Arbitration Act bars interpretation of an arbitration agreement under state law that would allow class arbitration based on general language commonly used in arbitration agreements, for this blog. The editorial board of The Wall Street Journal asserts that although “[t]he High Court’s four liberals again argued for essentially doing away with arbitration because they believe it is unfair to workers and consumers,” “that policy preference is up to Congress, which has expressly allowed arbitration clauses in contracts.”

For this blog, Kevin Russell considers why the court may have dismissed as improvidently granted Emulex Corp. v. Varjabedian, which asked whether securities investors can sue a company for negligently failing to provide adequate information for the investors to use in evaluating the price of a tender offer. Alison Frankel discusses the “DIG” at Reuters’ On the Case blog. [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel on an amicus brief in support of the respondents in Emulex.]

In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Gillian Thomas argues that although the employers in three cases on the Supreme Court’s docket for next term that ask whether federal law protects employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender identity “can be counted on to invoke history by contending that the Congress that enacted Title VII in 1964 never intended for its ban on discrimination ‘because of sex’ to also preclude discrimination against someone because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,” “this contention ignores Title VII’s history — and courts’ interpretation of the statute in the more than five decades since its enactment.” At Rewire.News’ Boom! Lawyered podcast, Jessica Mason Pieklo and Imani Gandy “explain what it means that the Court agreed to hear all three cases together and how the effects of a bad ruling could extend into housing and health-care discrimination.”


  • This blog’s analysis of Wednesday’s argument in Quarles v. United States, which asks when a defendant must have formed the intent required to commit burglary for purposes of a “violent felony” under the Armed Career Criminal Act, comes from Rory Little.
  • Ronald Mann has this blog’s analysis of Wednesday’s argument in Taggart v. Lorenzen, in which the justices considered whether, after a debtor receives a discharge in bankruptcy, a creditor’s good-faith belief that collection activity does not violate the discharge protects the creditor from sanctions for contempt.
  • At Constitution Daily, Lyle Denniston explains why a cert petition the justices will consider at their conference today, Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, “is the boldest plea in a new test of whether the Court will give business operators the right to refuse for religious reasons to provide goods or services for a same-sex wedding ceremony.”
  • At Slate, Steven Mazie writes that the court’s recent death-penalty rulings reveal how the votes of Chief Justice John Roberts, “the new man in the middle,” “are shaping a newly savage jurisprudence.”
  • At Law360 (subscription required), Lawrence Ebner maintains that “the perception that the Supreme Court bar is, and should continue to be, an elite, tight-knit, self-perpetuating ‘echo chamber’ should be changed.”
  • At Bloomberg Law, Kimberly Robinson recounts a “fun coincidence” that occurred on Monday: An advocate happened to be in the courtroom to attend a colleague’s oral argument when the Supreme Court’s decision in his case was handed down.

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, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 26, 2019, 6:59 AM),