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Friday round-up

Yesterday afternoon, Chief Justice John Roberts was sworn in as the officer charged with presiding over the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. Kal Golde covers the court’s answers to some frequently asked questions about the chief justice’s role for this blog. For USA Today, Richard Wolf reports that “[f]or the next several weeks, Roberts will hold down two of the most prominent and difficult jobs in America[:] The impeachment trial will consume his afternoons and, possibly, evenings;[; b]y morning, he will continue to help decide Supreme Court cases heard last fall, choose others to hear next spring, and preside over oral arguments.” At AP, Mark Sherman reports that Roberts “is likely to play a modest role when he presides over the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, in keeping with his frequently repeated insistence that judges are not politicians.” At National Review, Kevin Williamson pushes back against suggestions that Roberts’ role in the impeachment could threaten the chief justice’s reputation.


  • At Bloomberg Environment, Ellen Gilmer reports that”[c]onservation groups are calling on the Supreme Court to reject efforts by the Trump administration and Dominion Energy Inc. to build a natural gas pipeline across the Appalachian Trail,” in U.S. Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association. [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is counsel on an amicus brief in support of the respondents in this case.]
  • At the Idaho Statesman (via How Appealing), Ruth Brown reports that “[a] Canyon County woman asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to rule whether police acted appropriately when they threw tear gas into her home and destroyed her belongings while they were searching for her ex-boyfriend.”
  • Charlotte Garden analyzes Wednesday’s argument in Babb v. Wilkie, which asks whether federal employees suing under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act must prove that age discrimination was a but-for cause of an adverse employment action, for this blog.
  • At Reason, Damon Root writes that although “[e]arlier this month, 207 members of Congress … filed a friend of the court brief [in June Medical Services v. Gee] urging the Supreme Court to take a second look at one of the most famous precedents in American law, the abortion rights-affirming decision Roe v. Wade (1973),” “[a]t least for now, the Court’s abortion rights precedents are likely to remain on the books.”
  • In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Michael Helfand weighs in on Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, “which tests the constitutionality of state laws that exclude religious organizations from government funding,” arguing that “[w]hile it may be true that religious schools are not the only ones now denied the benefit of the tax-credit program, the Montana Supreme Court still gave effect to a religiously discriminatory rule,” and “[s]triking down a program that would benefit religious schools on that basis should be enough to trigger First Amendment protection.”
  • In the latest episode of Law360’s The Term podcast, Jimmy Hoover and Natalie Rodriguez “break down what to expect from Chief Justice John Roberts in his role presiding over President Trump’s impeachment trial; where the justices stand after oral arguments over the New Jersey Bridgegate scandal; and what caused Roberts to refer to the “OK, Boomer” meme in court.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 17, 2020, 6:53 AM),