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Tuesday round-up

CNN’s Joan Biskupic has the scoop of the day (and perhaps the term) with Part 1 and Part 2 of a series that provides “exclusive new details about how the court handled its pivotal term that dealt with LGBTQ rights, abortion and investigating President Donald Trump.” The first two parts, based largely on interviews with unnamed sources, contain several revelations about Chief Justice John Roberts’ behind-the-scenes maneuvering as well as the complex internal wrangling that led to the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decisions finding that Title VII protects gay and transgender employees. Biskupic reports, for instance, that Roberts signaled during internal deliberations that he would be unlikely to join with the other conservative justices to overturn gun control regulations, leading the court to deny several petitions on Second Amendment rights. She also reports that, shortly after Justice Neil Gorsuch circulated a first draft of his opinion in the Title VII cases, the six-justice majority quickly consolidated, a sign of the “collaboration underway and an indication that the majority that had locked in soon after oral arguments was holding.”


  • In a New York Times op-ed, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen defends the three executions that the federal government carried out this month after the Supreme Court, in final orders denying inmates’ requests for emergency relief, allowed them to proceed.
  • At the Volokh Conspiracy, Jonathan Adler analyzes Roberts’ recent votes to deny emergency relief for churches challenging coronavirus-related restrictions, voters seeking to change state voting rules and death row inmates seeking to stop their executions. “The pattern in the Chief Justice’s votes is fairly clear,” Adler writes. “He does not like injunctions.”
  • In the Georgetown Law Journal, Richard Hasen argues that the “conservative majority has taken the Court’s election jurisprudence on a pro-partisanship turn, which gives political actors freer range to pass laws and enact policies that can help entrench politicians (particularly Republicans) in power and insulate them from political competition.”
  • In an essay for The Regulatory Review’s annual Supreme Court series, Alejandro Camacho and Melissa Kelly discuss the County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund decision. They conclude that despite the court’s approach in this case, with its emphasis on congressional intent and science-based evidence, “exactly how far the protections afforded by the Clean Water Act will reach remains uncertain.”
  • The Brennan Center’s Andrew Cohen memorializes Rep. John Lewis and writes that Lewis’ lifelong fight to protect voting rights continues in light of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which declared Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.
  • In the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Daniel Cotter looks at the potential for a Supreme Court vacancy and the so-called “McConnell rule” on filling vacancies during an election year.

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Recommended Citation: James Romoser, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jul. 28, 2020, 8:20 AM),