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Dare criminal justice reformers imagine SCOTUS without both Justice Alito and Justice Thomas?

Because there are no more juicy criminal law or sentencing cases left on the SCOTUS docket as an unusual Term winds down, I cannot help but spend time speculating about the future of the Court.  In an election year, of course, that includes imagining who might be appointed (and might be doing the appointing) for the next four years.  But this recent Fox News piece, headlined "Supreme Court rumor: Hugh Hewitt claims Alito retirement being floated," has me eager to imagine some SCOTUS transitions ...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Washington Post, Senate, White House, Conservative, Joe Biden, Gop, Fox News, Costa, Trump, Thomas, Hewitt, John Roberts, Hugh Hewitt, Pence


A Journalist Shield Law for the Provinces

This piece is based on my Parkland Institute report entitled, “Alberta’s Inadequate Legal Protection of Whistleblowers, Journalist Sources and Others Who Speak Out in the Public Interest.” The report is expected to be published online later this year. A person who wants to blow the whistle on wrongdoing in our society has a lot to worry about. On the legal front, they may lose their job or be sued. Whistleblower protections in Canada, which extend only the public sector employment, are poor. Mor...
Tags: New York, Supreme Court, Law, California, US, Canada, District Of Columbia, Alberta, Columbia, US supreme court, National Post, Abella, Hayes, Joe Mathewson, Justice Issues, Alberta Labour Relations Board


Court grants Alabama’s request to block ruling on COVID-related accommodations for upcoming runoff election

Tonight a divided Supreme Court granted a request by Alabama to temporarily freeze a lower-court ruling, issued as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, that would make it easier for voters in the state to cast absentee ballots in the state’s upcoming primary election runoff, which is scheduled for July 14. By a vote of 5-4, the justices put the order by a federal district court in Alabama on hold while the state appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and, if necessary, the Supre...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Senate, Court, Alabama, Wisconsin, Donald Trump, U S Senate, Howe, Auburn University, U S Court of Appeals, Jeff Sessions, Elena Kagan, 11th Circuit, Texas Democratic Party


Symposium: A takedown of the Blaine Amendments

James Hirsen is an attorney, author, commentator and former professor at Trinity Law School. He filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Justice and Freedom Fund, Institute for Faith and Family and North Carolina School Choice in support of the petitioners in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. The Supreme Court’s decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue will shape how the First Amendment’s religion clauses apply to state and local restrictions on how public money is spent. In ...
Tags: Featured, Justice, Supreme Court, Law, Montana, United States, Missouri, House, Catholic, State, John Roberts, Roberts, Alito, Blaine, Montana Department of Revenue, Elena Kagan


Interim Stat Pack for October Term 2019

With the 2019-2020 Supreme Court term coming to a close, the discussion among court-watchers continues to focus on Chief Justice John Roberts’ decision-making. Much has been made of his siding with the more liberal justices in striking down a Louisiana abortion law in June Medical Services LLC v. Russo and upholding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (at least temporarily) in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California. Roberts’ positions in these c...
Tags: Health, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Hawaii, Louisiana, Donald Trump, Department Of Homeland Security, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, King, Trump, Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Roberts, Ginsburg


Justices grant new cases, send Indiana abortion cases back for a new look

This morning the Supreme Court issued orders from the justices’ private conference yesterday. The justices granted five new cases, for a total of four additional hours of argument. The biggest news from the order list was the announcement (which I covered in a separate post) that the court will weigh in on whether the Department of Justice must disclose secret materials from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to the House Judiciary Committee. The remaining new cases, which are likely...
Tags: Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, California, Planned Parenthood, Kentucky, Germany, Nazis, Berlin, City, Indiana, Hungary, United States, Mali


Symposium: What’s “the use” of the Constitution’s distinctive treatment of religion if it is disregarded as discrimination?

Holly Hollman is general counsel for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, which submitted an amicus brief in support of the respondents in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue.  The Supreme Court’s decision in Espinoza  v. Montana Department of Revenue purports to be “unremarkable,” particularly in light of Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, decided just three years ago. But the multiple opinions – four for the majority and three dissenting opinions – belie that assertion and demonst...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Montana, Washington, Missouri, Ohio, State, Sonia Sotomayor, U S Supreme Court, John Roberts, Roberts, Locke, Stephen Breyer, Breyer, Davey


Court will take up dispute over secret materials from Mueller report

This morning the Supreme Court issued orders from the justices’ private conference yesterday. The justices added another high-profile case to their docket for the fall, involving a dispute over efforts by members of Congress to obtain secret materials from the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller submitted a report last year to Attorney General William Barr on possible Russian interference in the 2016 election, and Barr released a redacted version of that report in April 2019...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Washington, D C Circuit, Howe, House Judiciary Committee, Mueller, Barr, Cases in the Pipeline, William Barr, Robert Mueller Mueller, Court The post Court


When Biden introduced a bill to make it a crime to burn the American flag.

It was back in 1989, right after the Supreme Court had held that it violated the First Amendment to make it a crime to burn the flag to express a political opinion. Look at the gravity and sincerity (or did I see a smirk?). [WaPo's code to embed the clip did not work, and I haven't found a substitute.]"Symbols are important... We have a symbol, unlike the court’s inability to recognize it, a symbol that is needed to unite this nation, this diverse nation, a symbol is the flag."And if that statut...
Tags: Protest, Supreme Court, Law, Republicans, Congress, Washington, Senate, America, Joe Biden, United States, Biden, Donald Trump, Free Speech, Flags, Trump, Patriotism


"An eight-foot tall whipping post has been removed from outside the Sussex County Courthouse in Georgetown, Delaware."

"The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs (HCA) said the post had been used to bind and whip people for crimes up until 1952, with African Americans being punished disproportionately" — 6ABC reports.I remember growing up in Delaware and talking about whipping still being on the books as a form of punishment. Exactly how did we experience that? Hard to remember, but I think it just seemed weird, something odd about our state. It was something that wasn't actually used, but it could be. It ...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, History, Language, Punishment, Delaware, Ann Althouse, Carvel, Georgetown Delaware, Sussex County Courthouse, Cultural Affairs HCA, Bert Carvel


Thursday round-up

Court-watchers are focusing on Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, in which the court held on Tuesday that Montana’s exclusion of religious schools from a state-funded scholarship program for private schools violates the First Amendment. At Reason’s Volokh Conspiracy blog, Ilya Somin finds it “unfortunate” that the decision was “a close 5-4 ruling, split along ideological lines with the five conservative justices in the majority, and the four liberals all dissenting,” because “[s]triking ...
Tags: Texas, Supreme Court, Law, California, Planned Parenthood, Washington Post, Montana, United States, ACS, Louisiana, Jackson, ACA, Economist, Round-up, Lech, National Review


What Does a Third Act Look Like to You? Retirement?

Retirement. What does that word mean to you? Old or wise, laid back or charging ahead? Playing endless rounds of golf or attending endless board meetings? Retirement has certainly been redefined; we’re working well beyond sixty-five. All we have to do is look to the Supreme Court as a prime example. According to Bloomberg, in an article by David Ingold, the projected age when a justice will leave the Supreme Court is now about eighty-three. That’s a ten-year increase from the 1950s. Wow, that’...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Bloomberg, Legal Marketing, David Ingold


A primer for new, local police-reform advocates in Texas

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,  committed, citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  - Margaret Mead On the Reasonably Suspicious podcast this week, the Austin Justice Coalition's Chas Moore and I talked about the recent wave of Black Lives Matter protests across Texas, including in small towns and parts of the state without a significant history of civil-rights activism. In particular, we discussed how local reformers in smaller jurisd...
Tags: Texas, Minnesota, Supreme Court, Law, America, United States, San Antonio, Don, Marshall Project, Texas Legislature, Margaret Mead, Rushin, Gritsforbreakfast, Stephen Rushin, Public Information Office, Susan Chira


Symposium: Espinoza, funding of religious service providers, and religious freedom

Thomas Berg is the James L. Oberstar Professor of Law and Public Policy at the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota). Douglas Laycock is the Robert E. Scott Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia. They filed an amicus brief on behalf of a number of religious and school groups in support of the petitioners in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. Tuesday’s ruling in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue came as no surprise. The Montana Supreme Court had invalidated a...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Montana, University Of Virginia, Smith, Madison, Robert, U S Supreme Court, John Roberts, Roberts, Locke, Davey, Trinity Lutheran Church, Montana Supreme Court, Zelman


Clarence Thomas AND Samuel Alito Mulling Retirement According Conservative Wishcasters

Here we go again with the retirement rumors.
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Courts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito


In this Case, Persuasive Authority Must be Considered

by Dennis Crouch In law school, we talk about decisions that are binding as precedent and others that are not binding but that may be considered as persuasive authority.  There is very little precedent on when persuasive authority must be considered, and usually we say something flippant about ignoring the other decisions.  The case below is one that comes out the other way — the court abused its discretion by failing to consider persuasive authority.  Electronic Communication Techs., LLC v. S...
Tags: Florida, Supreme Court, Law, California, Patent, Fed, District Court, Fla, Federal Circuit, McKinley, ECT, Dennis Crouch, Techs LLC, Shopperschoice, Electronic Communication Techs LLC, ShoppersChoice Com LLC Fed


Symposium: How to count to one

John Knepper is a private attorney based in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He previously was chief deputy attorney general of Wyoming. He filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Susan B. Anthony List in support of the respondent in June Medical Services v. Russo. Marks v. United States instructs that when a majority of the justices cannot agree on more than the outcome, “the holding of the Court may be viewed as that position taken by those Members who concurred in the judgments on the narrowest grounds.” Mu...
Tags: Health, Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Planned Parenthood, United States, Wyoming, Louisiana, Kafka, John Roberts, U S Court of Appeals, Casey, Stephen Breyer, Ramos, Clarence Thomas


Symposium: What “play in the joints” remains after Espinoza?

Grant T. Sullivan is an assistant solicitor general with the Colorado Attorney General’s office, which filed an amicus brief on behalf of nine states in support of respondents in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and should not be imputed in whole or in part to any other state or state official unless expressly endorsed by an authorized representative of the state. For state policymakers, crafting sound (and constitutional)...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Colorado, Montana, Washington, States, Sonia Sotomayor, William Rehnquist, Locke, Davey, Montana Supreme Court, Espinoza, Ruth Bader Ginsburg Stephen Breyer, Comer, Neil Gorsuch


Supreme Court Orders Joe Biden To Fire CFPB Director On Jan. 20

The CFPB is alive if unwell, and may be ready to get back to business early next year.
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Finance, Joe Biden


Symposium: Clarity in an era of confusion — The Supreme Court will not tolerate hostility to religion

Mithun Mansinghani serves as solicitor general for the state of Oklahoma. Bryan Cleveland and Zach West, assistant solicitors general, also contributed to this article. The state of Oklahoma, through Attorney General Mike Hunter, led an 18-state amicus brief  in support of the petitioners in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. On one level, the Supreme Court’s decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue is entirely unsurprising—a straightforward application of precedent, both lo...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Montana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Locke, Blaine, Montana Department of Revenue, Davey, Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Montana Supreme Court, Zelman, Espinoza, Comer


Wednesday round-up

Yesterday the court issued two opinions, whittling its remaining cases down to eight. In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the court held 5-4 that Montana’s exclusion of religious schools from a state-funded scholarship program for private schools violates the First Amendment. Amy Howe analyzes the opinion for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. Mariam Marshedi has an analysis at Subscript Law. At NPR, Nina Totenberg and Brian Naylor report that “[t]he court’s...
Tags: Texas, Supreme Court, Law, Montana, Bloomberg, New York Times, Fox News, Npr, Louisiana, Wall Street Journal, Trump, Round-up, National Review, John `` Roberts, The Supreme Court, Roberts


Opinion analysis: Court holds that “generic.com” marks may be registered trademarks or service marks when consumers do not perceive them as generic

When the digital travel company Booking.com sought to register its domain name as a service mark for hotel reservation services, the U.S. Patent and Trademark office denied registration under a longstanding policy that the combination of a generic term for goods and services with the “.com” suffix did not create a protectable trademark. Booking.com sought review of the PTO’s decision in federal district court, and introduced survey evidence supporting an inference that 74 percent of consumers re...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Ginsburg, PTO, U S Court of Appeals, U S Patent and Trademark Office, Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Breyer, 4th Circuit, Merits Cases, U S Patent and Trademark


From Discrimination to Systemic Racism: Understanding Societal Construction

INTRODUCTION Recently RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki admitted she really didn’t understand the term “systemic racism” and later showed she was correct when she provided an old and obvious example of indirect discrimination as an example of systemic racism. Here I explore the evolution from discrimination to systemic discrimination to systemic racism and why they are different, although related. There’s a lot of talk now about systemic or structural racism: how widespread it is and why it needs t...
Tags: Europe, England, Supreme Court, Law, Minneapolis, Canada, United States, Commission, Quebec, Edward, Black, Cornell University, Alley, Ontario, McIntyre, RCMP


Opinion analysis: Court rules that religious schools cannot be excluded from state funding for private schools

In 2015, the Montana legislature created a scholarship program that provided a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for donations to private scholarship organizations. Those organizations used the money to fund scholarships for children to attend private schools – which, in Montana, are primarily religious schools. In 2018, the Montana Supreme Court struck down the tax-credit program, holding that it violated the state constitution’s ban on aid for churches and religious schools. Today the U.S. Supreme ...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Montana, Court, Catholic, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, U S Supreme Court, John Roberts, Institute for Justice, Stillwater, Roberts, Howe, Ginsburg


Symposium: RIP state “Blaine Amendments” – Espinoza and the “no-aid” principle

Steven Green is the Fred H. Paulus Professor of Law and director of the Center for Religion, Law & Democracy at Willamette University College of Law. He filed an amicus brief on behalf of a number of religious groups in support of the respondents in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. There is so much contained in the various opinions in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue that a college instructor could use that one case to teach an entire course about American church-state law: di...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Colorado, California, Montana, Senate, Pennsylvania, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mitchell, Thomas, U S Supreme Court, The Supreme Court, Alito, William Rehnquist, Locke


Supreme Court Promotes Weaponization of Generic Domain Names–USPTO v. Booking.com

The USPTO believed that “generic.com” domain names were almost always generic and therefore unregistrable. On that basis, it denied registration for Booking.com. The Supreme Court holds that generic.com domain names aren’t necessarily generic, which means they have the potential to become protectable trademarks and registrable. Justice Ginsburg’s majority opinion holds: “Whether any given ‘generic.com’ term is generic… depends on whether consumers in fact perceive that term as the name of a cla...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, E-commerce, Uspto, Domain Names, Trademark, Travelocity, Ginsburg, Breyer, Corp, U S Patent Trademark Office, Generic Corp, Generic Inc, Wine Corp


Symposium: June Medical Services v. Russo: When a “win” is not a win

Gretchen Borchelt is vice president for reproductive rights and health at the National Women’s Law Center. She filed an amicus brief on behalf of NWLC and 72 other organizations in support of the petitioners in June Medical Services v. Russo. In June Medical Services v. Russo, a plurality of the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that would have thwarted abortion access to such a degree that it would have left “thousands of Louisiana women with no practical means of obtaining a safe, lega...
Tags: Health, Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Louisiana, Donald Trump, John Roberts, Roberts, Casey, GONZALES, Elena Kagan, Samuel Alito, Carhart, Hellerstedt, Russo


Relists Return

John Elwood reviews Monday’s relists. After a couple of weeks with no new relists, the Supreme Court is back this week with a vengeance. The court has scheduled an impromptu conference for Wednesday, July 1. In most years, an impromptu conference scheduled for the last week of June would be the mop-up conference for the entire term in which all outstanding business for the term is resolved. But the court still has enough outstanding opinions in argued cases that things may continue for a while y...
Tags: Florida, Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Colorado, Kentucky, Germany, Virginia, Hungary, United States, Williams, Tennessee, Sharp, Atkins


"Supreme Court says Montana program aiding private schools must be open to religious schools."

WaPo reports.Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for a conservative majority in the 5 to 4 ruling, said the Montana Supreme Court was wrong to strike down the program because of a provision in the state constitution that forbids public funds from going to religious institutions. The U.S. Constitution’s protection of religious freedom prevails, he said.“A state need not subsidize private education,” Roberts wrote. “But once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private school...
Tags: Supreme Court, Education, Law, Montana, John Roberts, Roberts, WaPo, John G Roberts Jr, Montana Supreme Court, Religion And Government, Establishment Clause, Ann Althouse, Free Exercise Clause


Symposium: The chief justice restores the Casey standard even while undermining women’s interests in Louisiana

Erika Bachiochi is a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a Senior Fellow at the Abigail Adams Institute. Follow her at @erikabachiochi. In comparison to the high court’s bombshell opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County earlier this month, June Medical Services v. Russo would seem relatively straightforward. The challenged admitting privileges requirement for Louisiana abortion providers is virtually the same as the law struck down in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt just four year...
Tags: Health, Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Planned Parenthood, Court, Louisiana, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Thomas, John Roberts, Richard Posner, Roberts, Alito, Clayton County, Casey



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