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Friday round-up

Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a constitutional challenge to the structure of the CFPB that will be argued next week, is dividing commentators. At Vox, Ian Millhiser worries that the court may use the case “to fundamentally alter the balance of power between the president and the federal government’s ‘independent’ agencies.” At the Pacific Legal Foundation blog, Oliver Dunford hopes that “the Court’s ultimate decision will rein in the unchecked power of the CFPB and ensure our separation of powers remains strong.”


  • Richard Wolf reports at USA Today that “President Donald Trump’s three-year crackdown on immigration has led to a surge in lawsuits reaching the Supreme Court, where a rebuilt conservative majority increasingly is paying dividends for him.”
  • At The National Law Journal, Marcia Coyle reports that although “[t]he word ‘damn’ easily slips off the lips of many people,” “in the formal environment of the U.S. Supreme Court, an advocate’s use of the word during arguments Monday resounded with some lawyers present.”
  • Margo Schlanger analyzes Wednesday’s argument in Lomax v. Ortiz-Marquez, about whether dismissal without prejudice for failure to state a claim counts as a “strike” under a federal statute that limits prisoners’ ability to file lawsuits without paying the filing fees, for this blog.
  • At Final Decisions, Bryan Lammon thinks the court got it right on Wednesday when it held in Holguin-Hernandez v. United States that a criminal defendant is not required to object formally to his sentence to preserve a challenge to the length of the sentence on appeal, because “[w]hen defendants argue for a shorter sentence, the court and the parties have full notice of the defendants’ position,” and “[a]ny additional preservation requirements … are needless.”
  • In a Federalist Society teleforum (audio), Arizona Solicitor General Oramel Skinner discusses the decision Tuesday in McKinney v. Arizona, a capital case in which the court held that that a court of appeals, rather than a jury, can reweigh aggravating and mitigating circumstances on habeas corpus review.
  • At Top of the Ninth, Merle Kahn breaks down Tuesday’s oral argument in United States v. Sineneng-Smith, a First Amendment challenge to a federal law making it a crime to encourage or induce illegal immigration for financial gain.
  • At Crime & Consequences, Kent Scheidegger adds to the list of possible cases to replace Mathena v. Malvo, which involved life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders and which was dismissed this week at the request of both parties; the potential replacements are all on the list for the justices’ conference this morning.
  • In an op-ed for The Washington Post (subscription required), George Will encourages the justices to review Fleck v. Wetch, a challenge to North Dakota’s law requiring attorneys licensed in the state to be members of the state bar association, and to affirm the First Amendment right to “freedom from compulsory association with a politically engaged organization.” [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the respondent in this case.]
  • For The New York Times, Emily Bazelon observes that “[c]laims of unblinking fidelity to the text have increasingly become the crowning orthodoxy on the right in recent decades,” and that “[n]ow [Justice] Neil Gorsuch and his conservative colleagues have a chance to harness that energy to transform the law.”
  • The inaugural episode of a new podcast, 5-4, about close and controversial Supreme Court cases, “focuses on the ruling that ended the 2000 Florida recount and put George W. Bush in the White House.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Feb. 28, 2020, 7:03 AM),