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Friday round-up

At The Atlantic, Garrett Epps looks at the story behind a state constitutional provision relied on by Montana in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue to invalidate a tax-credit program benefiting families who send their children to private schools, including religious schools, contending that “to strike down part of a state constitution because of this history raises disturbing questions.” Additional commentary comes from Holly Holman in an op-ed at The Hill, who argues that “[o]ur country’s experience for more than 200 years demonstrates that religious liberty is best protected when the government avoids funding religious exercise.” At Constitution Daily, Jackie McDermott summarizes a debate between “two advocates who have worked on and written about the case.”  [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among counsel on an amicus brief in support of the respondents in Espinoza.]


  • Ariane de Vogue reports at CNN that “so far, as the midway point of the term approaches, the public has been left with hardly any clues concerning the direction of the court, … because the justices appear to be moving more slowly than in recent years, having issued only four opinions since October — a 50% decrease from this time last year.”
  • For The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Jacob Gershman reports that “[l]awyers for the [Louisiana] attorney general’s office devised an unusually aggressive legal strategy to defend itself in a series of lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the state’s regulation of abortion providers,” “in part to bolster an argument that, if successful at the Supreme Court this spring, could upend abortion litigation nationwide: Louisiana says abortion providers don’t have patients’ best interests in mind and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to sue on women’s behalf.”
  • At National Review, Alexandra DeSanctis weighs in on Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania, a challenge to the federal government’s expansion of the “conscience exemption” to the Affordable Care Act’s birth-control mandate, arguing that “this latest round of the lawsuit, like the mandate itself, isn’t about ensuring that women have access to contraception[:] It is about leveling religious believers simply to illustrate that everyone, regardless of their creed, must comply with the government’s secular vision for society.”
  • In an op-ed at Newsweek, Alida Garcia warns that “[ICE] admits it is reopening previously closed removal cases of DACA recipients, [which] could allow [the agency] to start detaining and deporting people as quickly as possible if the Supreme Court gives it the green light” in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California.
  • In the latest episode of Law360’s The Term podcast, Jimmy Hoover and Natalie Rodriguez discuss Justice Neil “Gorsuch’s attack on the slew of nationwide injunctions that lower courts have been issuing against the Trump administration,” “talk about what the justices are doing with their winter break and give an update on some cases to watch on the high court’s ‘shadow docket.’”
  • For The Washington Post (subscription required), Tim Carman tries the pizza in the Supreme Court cafeteria so you don’t have to, writing that “if these new pies were cases before the court, the justices would rule them unconstitutional.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 31, 2020, 6:36 AM),