Tuesday round-up

Posted Tue, March 3rd, 2020 6:40 am by Edith Roberts

This morning the justices have two oral arguments on their agenda. The first is in Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a high-profile constitutional challenge to the structure of the CFPB. Amy Howe previewed the case for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. Gabrielle Kanter and Joseph Grosser have a preview for Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. At Subscript Law, Michael Hollingsworth provides a graphic explainer. Nina Totenberg reports at NPR that “the Trump administration is seeking to make it easier for the president to call in the heads of the nation’s independent agencies and say those words he was famous for on TV: ‘You’re fired!’” The editorial board of The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) writes that “[i]f the current Court is serious about reviving the original meaning of the separation of powers, the CFPB is an ideal opportunity to send a shot heard ’round Washington.”

Next up is Liu v. Securities and Exchange Commission, which asks whether the SEC can seek disgorgement of profits as a judicial remedy for violating the securities-fraud laws. Ronald Mann had this blog’s preview. Cornell’s preview comes from David Relihan and Jingyi Alice Yao.

Yesterday the justices issued orders from Friday’s conference, adding three cases to their docket for next term, including the latest challenge to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, California v. Texas. Amy Howe covers the ACA grant for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. For The New York Times, Adam Liptak and Abby Goodnough report that “[t]he case was brought by Republican state officials, who argued that when Congress eliminated the law’s requirement in 2017 that most Americans obtain health insurance, the law became unconstitutional[; t]he Trump administration sided with the state officials, arguing that the rest of the health care law could not survive without the requirement.” At Politico, Susannah Luthi reports that “[t]he justices said they would hear the case, likely later this year, after turning down an earlier request from Democrats to fast-track a ruling by June.” At Vox, Dylan Scott “run[s] through the big questions” about the case. Additional commentary comes from Ian Millhiser, also at Vox, and from Lisa Soronen at The NCSL Blog.

Amy Howe covers the rest of the order list here for this blog, and here at Howe on the Court. At Bloomberg Environment, Ellen Gilmer reports that, by agreeing to hear U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service v. Sierra Club, about the scope of the “deliberative process” exemption in the Freedom of Information Act, the court “is taking up the Trump administration’s legal quest to keep certain Endangered Species Act records from the public eye.” Dominic Holden reports at BuzzFeed.News that the court “won’t hear a case from gun rights activists challenging a federal ban on bump stocks, which were prohibited after being used in a 2017 Las Vegas shooting where 58 people were killed.” At Reason, Damon Root writes that in a statement respecting denial of cert in the bump-stock case, Guedes v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, “Justice Neil Gorsuch threw a little shade at the Trump administration for unilaterally rewriting federal gun laws.”

Kal Golde reports for this blog that a group of Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill in the House of Representatives on Friday aimed at increasing transparency and ethical standards throughout the federal judiciary, including at the Supreme Court, which would be required to “make same-day audio of oral arguments available within a year, and live audio available within two.” At The National Law Journal, Jacqueline Thomsen reports that the bill “would add a code of ethics for the U.S. Supreme Court, require justices to say why they recused themselves from cases and make online access to court records free for most users.”

Jennifer Chacon analyzes yesterday’s argument in immigration case Nasrallah v. Barr for this blog. At Bloomberg Law, Jordan Rubin reports that during oral argument yesterday the court “weighed a patchwork of laws, decisions, and what Justice Neil Gorsuch called the government’s ‘metaphysical’ position in a dispute over whether courts can review administrative findings involving claims of torture when noncitizens are deported.” Jess Bravin reports for The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) that “Gorsuch appeared likely to play a pivotal role in an area that often divides the court into conservative and liberal camps.”

For The Washington Post (subscription required), Robert Barnes reports that during oral argument yesterday in a second immigration case, Department of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam, the court “appeared divided along predictable ideological lines … when considering whether an asylum seeker who failed his initial screening has a constitutional right to judicial review.” At NPR, Nina Totenberg reports that “[a]t the heart of the case is the right of habeas corpus, embedded in the Constitution, which guarantees that people who are held by the government have the right to go to court asking to be released.” At Crime & Consequences, Kent Scheidegger questions Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s statement about the amount of time that passed between the enactment of two constitutional provisions.

Bill Mears reports at Fox News that “[t]he Supreme Court this week gets a fresh look at its recently decided ruling on abortion access, a challenge to a controversial Louisiana law that will now be decided anew in the middle of a presidential election year,” with the justices scheduled to hear oral argument tomorrow in June Medical Services v. Russo. For the Los Angeles Times, David Savage reports that June Medical, “the court’s first abortion case since President Trump’s two appointees took their seats, … could mark the first step in a gradual retreat from Roe vs. Wade.” Steven Mazie writes at The Economist that if the abortion providers lose, “the consequences could be profound, emboldening anti-abortion legislators in many states to pass new laws squeezing access to abortion.” At Take Care, Gretchen Borchelt weighs in on the case, arguing that “[t]he Supreme Court must strike down the anti-abortion Louisiana law at issue and in so doing reaffirm that women’s equality is fundamentally connected to the right to abortion.” Rosemary Westwood at The Guardian recounts the story of “Tiffany Pennywell[, who] may be one of the last women to have an an elective abortion in Louisiana.”


  • At CNN, Dan Berman reports that Chiafalo v. Washington, a constitutional challenge to a “faithless elector” law that threatens to fine electors who vote contrary to how state law directs, “adds another hot-button political issue to the Supreme Court’s docket in the middle of the presidential election.”
  • At American Greatness, Rachel Bovard suggests that Google v. Oracle America, a dispute over the copyright status of application programming interfaces, “has the potential to force tech giant Google to finally start playing by the rules.” [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioner in this case.]
  • At the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (subscription required), Daniel Cotter looks at some recent decisions and dissents in divisive cases.

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 3, 2020, 6:40 AM), https://www.scotusblog.com/2020/03/tuesday-round-up-520/