Friday round-up

After its conference yesterday, which was held a day early because of the presidential inauguration, the justices granted cert in two cases. Amy Howe covers the grants for this blog. In The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro reports on one of the grants, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, a “key business dispute over a California court ruling that made it easier for nonresidents to join in mass class action lawsuits,” noting that the case “is one of several jurisdiction-related petitions filed with the court in recent months.” [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the respondents in Bristol-Myers.] In The Washington Post, Robert Barnes reports that yesterday’s other grant, in District of Columbia v. Wesby, a case stemming from an arrest for trespassing that raises questions about the Fourth Amendment and qualified immunity, “appears to have split the Supreme Court justices,” who “considered nine times whether to accept the case before agreeing to review it.” Mark Sherman also covers the grant in Wesby for the Associated Press.

At NPR, Nina Totenberg reports on Wednesday’s oral argument in Lee v. Tam, a First Amendment challenge to a government refusal to trademark a disparaging name; she characterizes the argument as “fast and furious, with almost all the justices—liberal and conservative—beating up both sides ferociously,” and concludes that “Wednesday’s tea leaves were pretty hard to read.” A Constitution Daily podcast features a discussion of the argument. Another look at the case comes from Mike Masnick at Techdirt.

At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman assesses six judges on Donald Trump’s shortlist of potential Supreme Court nominees, examining cases in which opinions they wrote or joined were reviewed by the court, either on cert or on the merits. At Bloomberg BNA, Patrick Gregory looks at Trump shortlister Judge Steven Colloton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, noting that “Colloton’s votes in headline-grabbing controversies involving reproductive health, religion and speech will likely take center stage if he’s nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

At Law.com, Tony Mauro draws on inaugural history to highlight what court-watchers might see from the justices as they attend today’s ceremony, from “weird hats” to hiccups in the administration of the oath of office. In The Washington Post, Robert Barnes considers the role Chief Justice John Roberts will play in the inauguration, noting that Donald Trump criticized Roberts on the campaign trail, but concluding that if “there is any tension between Roberts and Trump, it probably will not be evident from the chief justice’s demeanor.”

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