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Tuesday round-up

At AP, Mark Sherman reports that “Chief Justice John Roberts told graduating seniors at his son’s high school that the coronavirus has ‘pierced our illusion of certainty and control’ and he counseled the students to make their way with humility, compassion and courage in a world turned upside down.” At The National Law Journal, Tony Mauro reports that in a video posted on the school’s website on Saturday, Roberts called the crisis “‘the world’s way of saying to mankind, “you’re not in charge.”’” According to Mark Walsh at Education Week’s School Law Blog, Roberts expressed regret that the pandemic “has forced the justices to dispense with their tradition of shaking each others’ hands before each session.”


  • Josh Gerstein reports at Politico that “[t]he battle over the impact of coronavirus lockdown measures on Americans’ religious observances has reached the Supreme Court as a Southern California church and its pastor made an emergency appeal for relief from executive orders issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom.”
  • At Bloomberg Law, Ellen Gilmer reports that “[t]he Trump administration is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the government to keep certain endangered species records out of the public eye,” in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service v. Sierra Club, a case that will be heard next term about the scope of the “deliberative process” exemption in the Freedom of Information Act.
  • At CNBC, Tucker Higgins reports on “several Supreme Court cases expected to be resolved in the coming weeks with major implications for U.S. politics and the economy.
  • At Jost on Justice, Kenneth Jost notes that in a recent documentary, “Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas recalls … that he viewed court-ordered busing in school desegregation cases in the 1970s as flawed and wrong-headed and still does”; Jost argues that “[a]s Supreme Court justice over the past 30 years, … Thomas has fallen victim to the same error: he has been single-mindedly committed to theories, original meaning and color-blind Constitution, with no regard for the ill effects his theories would have on real people, in real cases.”
  • At the Human Rights at Home Blog, Shirley Lin writes that “[t]he greater danger of upheaval” in R.G.. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in which the court will decide whether federal employment discrimination law bars discrimination against transgender people, “is the one that would follow a decision … that ignored both statutory text and Court precedent that favors a conceptually broad meaning that arose from various interpretive theories — including textualism.” [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is counsel on an amicus brief in support of respondent Stephens in this case.]
  • At The World and Everything in It (podcast), Mary Reichard unpacks the oral arguments in Chiafalo v. Washington and Colorado Department of State v. Baca, constitutional challenges to “faithless elector” laws that require presidential electors to follow the state’s popular vote when casting their electoral college ballots.
  • In a Strict Scrutiny podcast, Kate Shaw and Leah Litman recap the faithless elector cases and “discuss some findings about the Court’s telephonic arguments and the BIG (aka not so big) opinions the Court has recently released.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (May. 26, 2020, 6:38 AM),