Friday round-up

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected another attempt to ease election-related rules during the coronavirus crisis – this time by imposing a stay on a lower-court order that would have made it easier for an Idaho advocacy group to gather signatures for a proposed ballot measure. Amy Howe writes for SCOTUSblog – in a story first published at Howe on the Court – that the justices “have now on several occasions signaled that federal courts should not alter rules relating to an election even to accommodate concerns arising from the pandemic.”

Briefly:

  • At Education Week’s School Law Blog, Mark Walsh provides additional coverage of Thursday’s ruling in the Idaho case, which involves a ballot initiative to increase K-12 education funding. Because of the pandemic, Walsh reports, the group backing the measure “suspended its its in-person efforts to collect the necessary 55,000 in-person signatures to put the initiative on the ballot.” Thursday’s order means that, at least for now, the group cannot collect signatures electronically as an alternative.
  • In a New York Times op-ed, Linda Greenhouse discusses the court’s 5-4 ruling last week that turned down a Nevada church’s request to lift the state’s 50-person cap on religious services. Greenhouse writes that she was “startled” to see the four dissenters — Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas – “vote to turn a public health issue into a religious crusade.”
  • In a National Law Journal op-ed, Dylan Hosmer-Quint of Fix the Court critiques the court’s recent use of per curiam decisions in high-profile cases with partisan implications.
  • At the Yale Journal on Regulation’s Notice & Comment blog, Alan Morrison examines the principle of non-delegation and explores why the court recently denied cert in two cases involving the issue – despite having recently given “very clear and strong indications that it was interested in re-visiting its approach to non-delegation.”
  • At AlterNet, Bill Blum weighs in on the court’s handling of litigation related to the coronavirus pandemic, writing that Chief Justice John Roberts and the four liberal justices “maintain only a tenuous majority on the court on matters related to COVID-19.”

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