At NPR, Nina Totenberg reports that Monday’s decision in Kahler v. Kansas, in which the justices ruled that the due process clause does not require Kansas to adopt an insanity test that turns on a defendant’s ability to recognize that his crime was morally wrong, “upholds a Kansas law that essentially allows consideration of mental status only at the sentencing phase of a trial.” At Slate (via How Appealing), Carissa Byrne Hessick takes issue with the majority’s assertion that “Kansas did not abolish the insanity defense; it merely changed the defense.” At Reason’s Volokh Conspiracy blog (via How Appealing), Orin Kerr explains why, although “the majority’s basic framework seems sensible,” he “was only half-persuaded by how the Court applied its approach.”

Also at NPR, Totenberg reports that another of Monday’s opinions, in Allen v. Cooper, “a victory for states claiming immunity from copyright infringement lawsuits,” “was couched in terms of deference to precedent–namely in this case, the precedents of the last 26 years.” At PrawfsBlawg, Richard Re writes that “Allen v. Cooper offers a nice opportunity to think about whether stare decisis is really for suckers or, instead, is for everyone.”


  • At Freedom Forum, Tony Mauro suggests that the Supreme Court may have taken the “drastic step” of postponing oral arguments rather than resorting to technological solutions at least in part because “the justices simply do not like the notion of broadcasting the court’s proceedings, whether on television, radio or livestreaming.”
  • Fix the Court has a new report on the justices’ travel to public colleges and universities.
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman attempts to “uncover[] the sources that the justices rely on in their decisions” by analyzing citations to amicus briefs in the opinions from the 2018-2019 term.
  • At his eponymous blog, Ross Runkel discusses Comcast v. National Association of African American-Owned Media, in which the court ruled on Monday 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.

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 25, 2020, 6:39 AM),