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Thursday round-up

Court-watchers and advocates are gearing up for next week’s unprecedented telephonic Supreme Court arguments. For USA Today, Richard Wolf reports that “[f]or a court that clings to tradition more than the British monarchy – where male government lawyers wear morning coats, quill pens pass for souvenirs and e-mail has increased only because of social distancing – its choice of telephonic hearings[, to begin on Monday,] came as a surprise to many.” At Bloomberg Law, Jordan Rubin and Kimberly Robinson report that the May sitting “will also be notable for featuring an argument between two female lawyers to start the two-week session.” At The Washington Post (subscription required), Robert Barnes reports that “[a]t the Justice Department, whose attorneys will take part in nine of the 10 scheduled arguments, the pleas will be made to a speakerphone in the solicitor general’s conference room,” and the advocates “will still be wearing morning coats, the formal, traditional dress for government lawyers who argue before the court.” At Reason (via How Appealing), Jacob Sullum suggests that “the fact that the Court decided to allow online streaming of the [May] oral arguments … may signal a new openness.”


  • At Willamette Week (via How Appealing), Tess Riski looks at several notable convictions in Oregon “resulting from 10-2 or 11-1 jury verdicts [that] could be reversed” after the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Ramos v. Louisiana that the Constitution requires a unanimous jury verdict in state criminal trials.
  • Amy Howe reports for this blog that “[w]hen it comes to making their proceedings accessible to the public in real time, state supreme courts have been leading the way.”
  • At Quartz, Ephrat Livni writes that the court’s order this week in two cases involving congressional subpoenas for the president’s financial records, asking for additional briefing on whether “it even can decide the cases because certain matters are outside its purview,” “speaks volumes.”
  • At Vox, Ian Millhiser explains why 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 that will be argued next week, “could write the final chapter in a multi-year struggle over whether employers with religious objections to birth control may deny insurance coverage of contraceptives to their employees.”
  • At Slate (via How Appealing), Josephine Wolff maintains that the court’s recent ruling in Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org Inc., in which the court held that Georgia is not entitled to copyright protection for its official annotated code, “is hugely encouraging for people who care about access to laws and government documents[, b]ut it’s also a stark reminder of how much work there is left to do to disentangle our public records from revenue-generating paywalls and systems.” [Disclosure: Arnold & Porter, whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioner in this case. Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is counsel to the respondent in this case.]
  • In an op-ed at The Appeal, Jay Willis calls Barton v. Barr, in which the court “cleared the way for the Trump administration to deport more legal permanent residents for criminal convictions that occurred in the distant past,” “a case study in the use of language that dehumanizes people convicted of crimes in order to inflict state-sanctioned cruelty on them.”
  • At The NCSL Blog, Lisa Soronen discusses Maine Community Health Options v. United States, in which the court held that Congress is required to reimburse health insurance companies for losses created by the Affordable Care Act.

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 30, 2020, 7:22 AM),