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Wednesday round-up

This morning the justices have two cases on their telephonic-argument agenda. First up is Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania, a challenge to the government’s expansion of the “conscience exemption” to the Affordable Care Act’s birth-control mandate. Amy Howe previewed the case for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. Kayla Anderson and Prachee Sawant have a preview at Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. At NPR, Nina Totenberg writes that “[t]he birth-control wars return to the Supreme Court Wednesday, and it is likely that the five-justice conservative majority will make it more difficult for women to get birth control if they work for religiously affiliated institutions like hospitals, charities and universities.” For USA Today, Richard Wolf reports that “[t]he justices’ willingness to hear a dispute the high court has considered twice before probably bodes well for the Obamacare provision’s challengers.” Additional coverage comes from Kevin Daley at The Washington Free Beacon and Steven Mazie at The Economist’s Espresso blog.

Today’s second argument is in Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants, a First Amendment challenge to a federal law banning robocalls. Amanda Shanor had this blog’s preview. Angela Shin Wei Ting and Grant Shillington preview the case for Cornell. At Bloomberg Law, Jon Reid reports that the case asks “whether automatic phone calls for government debt collection should be exempt from an anti-robocall law,” and that “[b]usinesses are hopeful the court will invalidate the law’s exemption for the debt calls—and then strike down the entire anti-robocall statue as unconstitutional.”

Yesterday the justices heard argument in USAID v. Alliance for Open Society International, a First Amendment challenge to the enforcement against overseas groups of a requirement that recipients of federal funds to fight HIV/AIDS abroad have a policy opposing prostitution and sex trafficking. Amy Howe analyzes the argument for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. Nina Totenberg covers that argument at NPR. At Fox News, Bill Mears and Ronn Blitzer report that “[i]n 2013, the Supreme Court said this requirement violates the First Amendment if applied to U.S.-based nongovernmental organizations, but the current case specifically deals with foreign affiliates of those organizations.” Richard Wolf reports for USA Today that “most justices appeared to side with nonprofit groups challenging a requirement that their foreign affiliates … must go on record opposing prostitution and sex trafficking,” although “Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh … expressed concern that freeing foreign entities from the pledge opposing prostitution and sex trafficking could have implications for other areas of U.S. foreign policy.”

Amy Howe reports for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court, that “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was treated [yesterday] afternoon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for a benign gallbladder condition.” At AP, Mark Sherman reports that Ginsburg “plans to take part in the court’s arguments by telephone Wednesday, the Supreme Court said.”


  • Jessica Litman analyzes Monday’s argument in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office v., which asks whether the addition of “.com” to a generic term creates a protectable trademark, for this blog.
  • At the Cato Institute’s Cato on Liberty blog, Ilya Shapiro and Michael Collins urge the court to review Higginson v. Becerra, arguing that the voter-dilution provisions of California’s Voting Rights Act “violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and go beyond the limits of what Supreme Court precedent allows in terms of the use of race in drawing election districts.”
  • At Vox, Ian Millhiser writes that “[n]ext week, the Supreme Court will hear three cases that could upend one of the most basic assumptions that the Court has maintained since the Nixon years — that the president of the United States is not above scrutiny or immune from investigation.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (May. 6, 2020, 6:49 AM),