This morning the court begins the second week of the March sitting with two oral arguments. First up is PDR Network, LLC v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic Inc., which asks whether the Hobbs Act, a jurisdictional-channeling statute, requires courts to accept the Federal Communications Commission’s interpretation of a statute allowing recipients of “junk faxes” to sue the senders for damages. Christopher Walker previewed the case for this blog. Luís Lozada and Isaac Syed have a preview at Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. Today’s second case is The Dutra Group v. Batterton, which asks whether punitive damages are available in a suit alleging a breach of the general maritime duty to provide a seaworthy vessel. Joel Goldstein had this blog’s preview. Basem Besada and Isaac Idicula have a preview for Cornell.
For The Wall Street Journal, Brent Kendall and Jess Bravin report that Rucho v. Common Cause, from North Carolina, and Lamone v. Benisek, from Maryland, two partisan-gerrymandering cases that will be argued tomorrow, “present the court with several different constitutional arguments against gerrymandering, much along the lines of Justice Stephen Breyer’s suggestion last term to combine all the challenges together into something like a seminar.” At Bloomberg, Greg Stohr and Allison McCartney report that although in the North Carolina case “[t]he odds are probably against the challengers,” “the Supreme Court has rarely if ever considered a map born out of such brazen partisanship, or one that produced such clear results.” In an op-ed for The Washington Post, George Will cautions the court not to “attempt something for which it has neither an aptitude nor any constitutional warrant — — concocting criteria for deciding when … excessive partisan gerrymandering becomes … unconstitutional.” At the Election Law Blog, Nicholas Stephanopolous maintains that, “[t]hanks to a number of technological and legal developments,” if the court “follows the advice of the defendants in the Maryland and North Carolina cases and holds that partisan gerrymandering claims are nonjusticiable,” “we are likely to see unprecedented abuses in the next cycle” of redistricting.
- At NPR, Nina Totenberg discusses Joan Biskupic’s new book on Chief Justice John Roberts, noting that “[t]he retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy last June, and the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to replace him, means that, as Biskupic puts it, Roberts ‘has the court he always wanted.’”
- At The Daily Caller, Kevin Daley looks at two scholarly analyses of Justice Clarence Thomas’ habitual silence on the bench, which the justice broke during an oral argument last week for the first time in three years.
- At Jost on Justice, Kenneth Jost writes that two Supreme Court matters this term, Tharpe v. Ford and Flowers v. Mississippi, “with one loss for racial justice and not yet a vindication for racial justice in the other, are the most recent evidence that racial discrimination remains widespread in criminal justice systems — certainly in the South and just as certainly elsewhere.”
- Danielle D’Onfro analyzes the court’s decision in Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus LLP, which held that the definition of “debt collector” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not include attorneys who effect nonjudicial foreclosures, for this blog.
- At the Pacific Legal Foundation blog, Caleb Trotter weighs in on Iancu v. Brunetti, in which the court will consider a First Amendment challenge to the ban on registration of “immoral” or “scandalous” trademarks, maintaining that “government employees should not have free rein to decide which speech is favored or disfavored based on their own ideas about what’s offensive.”
- In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Michael Helfand writes that by asking for the views of the solicitor general last week in Patterson v. Walgreen, which asks exactly how much employers must do under federal law to accommodate an employee’s religious practices, “[t]he Supreme Court inched closer … to undoing a decades-old mistake that has denied meaningful workplace protections for religious employees.”
- In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, John Yoo and James Phillips take aim at “the disastrous notion of expanding the Supreme Court” “being floated by the growing band of Democratic presidential hopefuls.”
- Opening Arguments (podcast) features a discussion of last week’s opinion in Nielsen v. Preap, in which a divided court held that a noncitizen does not become exempt from mandatory detention if, after he has been released from criminal custody, immigration agents do not take him into immigration custody immediately.
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