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Tuesday round-up

There are two oral arguments on the Supreme Court’s agenda today. The first is in Rodriguez v. FDIC, which involves how courts should determine ownership of a tax refund paid to an affiliated corporate group. Daniel Hemel previewed the case for this blog. The second case this morning is Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian, in which the court will consider whether federal law preempts state-law claims for cleanup of hazardous waste beyond what the EPA has ordered. This blog’s preview came from Amy Howe; it was first published at Howe on the Court. At Bloomberg Environment, Ellen Gilmer and Sylvia Carignan report that the case “could shake up the EPA’s nearly 40-year-old flagship toxic waste cleanup program.” Pamela King reports for E&E News that “[t]he arguments don’t fall cleanly along ideological lines: The court’s conservative wing, which generally favors state powers, could rule in support of more environmental cleanup.” For The Washington Post (subscription required), Kathleen McLaughlin looks at Opportunity, Montana, a town that “is defined by its struggle to force powerful corporate and government interests to clean up the dangerous waste left behind” by a long-shuttered copper-mining smelter.

Amy Howe reports for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court, that yesterday evening the federal government asked the Supreme Court to lift a lower-court ruling blocking the executions of four federal prisoners “and allow the executions – the first of which is scheduled for next week – to proceed, even it means that the inmates will be executed before their appeal is resolved.” For The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Jess Bravin reports that “[t]he filing Monday came hours after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit refused to overrule a federal district judge who last month found that the Justice Department’s plans to execute four men with a lethal injection of pentobarbital likely skirted the Federal Death Penalty Act,” which “requires that federal executions be conducted in the ‘manner’ prescribed by state law where the inmate was convicted.”

Yesterday the court heard oral argument in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, New York, a challenge to New York City’s limits on transporting personal firearms. Amy Howe analyzes the argument for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. At NPR, Nina Totenberg reports that “the debate in the high court Monday focused almost exclusively on whether the case should be dismissed as moot” after “New York state and New York City abandoned the challenged law this year.” Mark Sherman reports at AP that “Chief Justice John Roberts appeared Monday to be the key vote in whether the Supreme Court considers expanding gun rights or sidesteps its first case on the issue in nearly 10 years.” Additional coverage comes from Steven Mazie at The Economist, Jess Bravin for The Wall Street Journal, David Savage for the Los Angeles Times, Richard Wolf for USA Today, Adam Liptak for The New York Times, and Mark Walsh at Education Week’s School Law Blog. Commentary on the argument comes from Elizabeth Slattery at The Daily Signal, who highlights “four key exchanges from the argument,” the editorial board of The New York Times, and Ruthann Robson at the Constitutional Law Prof Blog. Commentary on the case comes from Robert Leider at the Federalist Society blog and Leah Litman at The Atlantic.

At CNN, Joan Biskupic reports that “[a]s the Democratic-led US House moves toward an impeachment vote on President Donald Trump, attention is turning to the likely Senate trial and how forcefully Chief Justice John Roberts might operate as he presides over the chamber.” In an op-ed for The Hill, Brianne Gorod argues that “[n]o matter how senators ultimately vote at any trial, the chief justice’s role there could shape the decisions he makes on the court well into the future.”


  • At The World and Everything In It (podcast), Mary Reichard discusses the oral arguments in Allen v. Cooper, which asks whether the Constitution gives Congress power to revoke the states’ immunity from suit for copyright infringement, and race-discrimination case Comcast v. National Association of African American-Owned Media.
  • In the latest episode of Strict Scrutiny (podcast), Leah Litman and Kate Shaw “discuss a case that isn’t even a real case involving a real law, as well as the very real and very important Affordable Care Act case on the Court’s December calendar.”
  • According to Ed Whelan at National Review, “[a]n opinion last week by Fifth Circuit judge Jennifer Elrod … indicates that a ‘remarkably overbroad’ protective order entered by the district judge” in a case related to Gee v. June Medical Services, which asks whether abortion providers have standing to challenge regulations on behalf of their patients, “would prevent the state of Louisiana from presenting evidence to the Supreme Court that is ‘directly relevant’ to the question” in the case.

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 3, 2019, 5:19 AM),