Today the Supreme Court will issue decisions in July for the first time since 1996, after the coronavirus pandemic forced the postponement of oral arguments in 10 cases. Greg Stohr reports at Bloomberg that “[t]he U.S. Supreme Court is poised to cap a term like no other with potentially blockbuster decisions covering birth control, religious rights and President Donald Trump’s efforts to keep his financial records private.” At The Hill, Harper Neidig and John Kruzel highlight “the five most-anticipated decisions pending before the court.”

At The Economist, Steven Mazie writes that “[a]cting boldly through superficially small steps—and getting credit for aisle-crossing while giving liberals at best temporary solace—seems to be panning out well for Chief Justice Roberts[:] He is cultivating a reputation for non-partisanship at the Supreme Court while advancing primarily conservative goals.” At Jost on Justice, Kenneth Jost observes that although “Republican politicians and conservative Supreme Court watchers are angry … with Chief Justice Roberts because of his votes in four of the term’s fifty-three decisions so far,” “[a] more complete examination of Roberts’ votes .. shows that he has been a reliable conservative vote in decisions that divide along the usual conservative-liberal lines,” and even “Roberts’ votes in the four cases that upset conservatives this term reflect conservative principles straight out of the judicial restraint textbook.”

Briefly:

  • Reuters reports that, despite a favorable Supreme Court ruling recently in U.S. Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association that allowed the Forest Service to grant a right of way for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline under the Appalachian Trail, “Dominion Energy Inc and Duke Energy Corp said on Sunday they decided to abandon the $8 billion … project after a long delay to clear legal roadblocks almost doubled its estimated cost.”
  • For The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Jess Bravin reports that “[t]he Supreme Court on Saturday rejected a bid by Illinois Republicans to lift Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s public-health order limiting gatherings to 50 or fewer people, disrupting plans for an Independence Day picnic south of Chicago.”
  • At Subscript Law, Jacob Baldinger has an infographic explainer for last week’s decision in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com, in which the court held that adding “.com” to a generic term can create a protectable trademark.
  • At Take Care, Scott Skinner-Thompson and Kate Levine argue that even after Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, in which the court held that federal employment discrimination law protects gay and transgender employees, “the judicial battle for LGBTQ rights is far from over,” because “the Court could create broad religious exemptions that, for example, permit employers and public accommodations to discriminate against LGBTQ people based on their purported religious objections.”
  • At The Jackson List, John Q. Barrett points out the influence of Professor Robert Cushman on Justice Elena Kagan’s dissenting opinion in Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in which the court ruled that the structure of the CFPB, which is run by a single director who can only be removed for cause, is unconstitutional.
  • Commentary on Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, in which the court held last week that Montana’s exclusion of religious schools from a state-funded scholarship program for private schools violates the First Amendment, comes from James Phillips at PrawfsBlawg and Anthony Sanders at the Institute for Justice.
  • At Townhall, Kristen Waggoner laments that the court’s decision in June Medical Services v. Russo, striking down a Louisiana law requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, “prevents Louisiana from enacting a commonsense measure to protect women and to hold abortion doctors to the same standards as doctors at other ambulatory surgical centers.”

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Posted in Round-up

Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jul. 6, 2020, 6:38 AM), https://www.scotusblog.com/2020/07/monday-round-up-492/