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Thursday round-up

Yesterday the Supreme Court granted the Justice Department’s request to block temporarily a lower court order requiring disclosure to the House Judiciary Committee of grand jury material from Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Amy Howe has this blog’s coverage, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. At Reuters, Lawrence Hurley reports that the lower court “agreed with a judge’s decision that the House, in its impeachment investigation, was engaged in a judicial proceeding exempt from secrecy rules that typically shield grand jury material from disclosure.” For The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Brent Kendall reports that “[t]he high court’s action increases the chances that the information will remain shielded through the 2020 election.” Nina Totenberg reports at NPR that “[t]he Supreme Court ordered the Trump administration to file a formal appeal by June 1,” which “could give the court time to grant review by July when it likely will recess for the summer,” but that the court “almost certainly would not [hear the case] until October at the earliest.” Additional coverage comes from Kevin Daley at The Washington Free Beacon.

At his eponymous blog, Lyle Denniston writes that “[i]f the Supreme Court’s ‘live’ audio hearings this month have done nothing else, they have definitely revived the debate over the issue of the Court’s transparency – that is, its openness (or lack of openness) to public examination as it does its work.” Fix the Court reports that “[a]s of 1:00 p.m. on Friday, May 15 – that is, by the time when the audio recording of a Supreme Court oral argument would typically be posted, more than 880,000 people clicked on the audio feed of the May 12 Trump taxes case.” At The Week (via Yahoo!News), Tim O’Donnell writes that a new study by Leah Litman “found that the Supreme Court’s female justices were cut off more quickly than their male colleagues by Chief Justice John Roberts during oral arguments made over the phone last week because of the coronavirus pandemic.”


  • Amy Howe reports for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court, that the government has asked the court “to put a temporary hold on an order by a federal district court that would require the BOP to remove or transfer as many as 800 elderly or medically vulnerable inmates from a federal prison in Ohio where nine inmates have died from COVID-19.”
  • At National Review’s Bench Memos blog, Carrie Severino urges the court to review Jarchow v. State Bar of Wisconsin, a challenge to mandatory bar fees, arguing that “[a] state forcing nonconsenting attorneys to support any such speech as a condition of having their law licenses is no more acceptable than public sector unions deducting their own fees from the paychecks of nonconsenting workers.”
  • In an op-ed for The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse sets out to show that two religion cases the court heard in the May sitting, “Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania and Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, … contain alternative story lines that differ, not just in degree but in kind, from the narrative packaging they arrived in.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (May. 21, 2020, 7:07 AM),