Breaking News

Tuesday round-up

Yesterday, for the second time since its building closed to the public, the Supreme Court issued opinions via its website rather than from the bench, along with orders from last week’s conference. The justices added one case to their merits docket next term: Brownback v. King, in which they will decide whether a ruling for the government in a Federal Tort Claims Act case bars a lawsuit under Bivens against the employees involved. Amy Howe covers the order list for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. Robert Barnes reports for The Washington Post (subscription required) that King involves “the complicated legal rules that come into play when someone seeks compensation for alleged unconstitutional behavior by law enforcement.”

The court also released one opinion, holding 7-2 in CITGO Asphalt Refining Co. v. Frascati Shipping Co., Ltd., that a safe-berth clause in a voyage-charter contract is a guarantee of a ship’s safety. This blog’s opinion analysis comes from Joel Goldstein. At Bloomberg Environment, Ellen Gilmer reports that “[t]he ruling clarifies liability for future oil spills and other maritime accidents, resolving a dispute over contract language.” [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the respondents in this case.]


  • Joan Biskupic reports at CNN that “[t]he Supreme Court has yet to announce alternatives for regular oral arguments in pending cases, even as President Donald Trump has declared the national distancing guidelines should continue through April.”
  • At NPR, Nina Totenberg surveys the findings of a recent report on the justices’ speaking engagements at public colleges and universities, noting that the“justices get neither big bucks nor valuable gifts when they speak at public universities,” “[b]ut public and press access granted by the justices is idiosyncratic.”
  • At Justia’s Verdict blog (via How Appealing), Michael Dorf maintains that analysis of last week’s opinion in Allen v. Cooper, holding that the Constitution did not give Congress the power to revoke the states’ immunity from suit for copyright infringement in a 1990 law, “reveals that the Court’s sovereign immunity doctrine is a mess of its own making.”
  • At the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (subscription required), Daniel Cotter discusses last week’s decision in Comcast v. National Association of African American-Owned Media, in which the court held that a plaintiff who sues for racial discrimination in contracting under federal law has to plead and prove that race was a but-for cause of his injury.
  • At The World and Everything in It (podcast), Mary Reichard covers the oral argument in Nasrallah v. Barr, which asks whether courts of appeals have the authority to review factual findings underlying decisions denying deferral of removal for individuals who are not eligible for asylum.
  • In the latest episode of Strict Scrutiny (podcast), Leah Litman and Jaime Santos “recap … arguments from the February sitting that was a lifetime ago!”
  • At the Northwestern Law Review Online, Daniel Harris observes that “[t]he big surprise on the U.S. Supreme Court during the October 2018 term was how often the Court’s newest members disagreed with each other”; he finds “a pattern to the disagreements between the new appointees— the two Justices have profoundly different attitudes toward the federal government.”

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, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 31, 2020, 6:47 AM),