Friday round-up

At, reporters “canvassed prominent lawyers from around the country for what questions they would like to see asked” at Gorsuch’s Senate confirmation hearing, which begins on March 20. At the Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen cites a report that Gorsuch disavowed statements in a 2005 National Review article in which the judge asserted that liberals’ “’overweening addiction to the courtroom as the place to debate social policy is bad for the country and bad for the judiciary,’” depriving us of “’the benefit of the give-and-take of the political process and the flexibility of social experimentation that only the elected branches can provide’”; Hasen urges senators to ask Gorsuch how his views have changed, noting that theanswer would be illuminating as to the judge’s approach to access to the courts and constitutional rights.”

In The National Law Journal, Tony Mauro takes a look at Gorsuch’s former law clerks, who “have joined to make the case for his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, including an unusual advertisement featuring one of his more “moderate” clerks attesting that she is “100 percent comfortable” with him becoming a justice.” At Reuters, Alison Frankel decodes Gorsuch’s choices in his Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire of his ten most significant opinions, concluding that “the opinions on the list – I’m sure by design – portray a thoughtful, confident judge without a predictable political ideology.”

In Education Week, Mark Walsh reports that the Alliance for Justice has “issued a report declaring U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil M. Gorsuch ‘not qualified’ and ‘a dangerous choice’ for the court, based in part on his judicial record in several special education cases.” At Bloomberg View, Noah Feldman tries to discern Gorsuch’s position on abortion rights, noting that “in his book on assisted suicide and euthanasia, Judge Neil Gorsuch lays out an argument that could easily be used” to “rule that laws permitting abortion violate the equal protection rights of unborn fetuses.” At Buzzfeed, Zoe Tillman remarks that Gorsuch’s hostility to the Chevron doctrine, which requires judges to defer to administrative agencies’ reasonable interpretations of ambiguous statutes, “could work against Trump,” because the doctrine benefits “presidents who want to undo or loosen regulations already in place” as well as “presidents who want to carry out their policy agenda through agency action and regulations.” In The National Law Review, Thomas Barton predicts that Gorsuch would “vote to uphold the validity of class action waivers” in three consolidated cases the court has agreed to review, noting that Gorsuch “is a conservative jurist whose decisions, on the whole, are pro employer,” and that his “past rulings have favored upholding arbitration agreements.”


  • At the International Municipal Lawyers Association’s Appellate Practice Blog, Lisa Soronen discusses Town of Chester v. Laroe Estates, Inc., which asks whether intervenors in a case must have standing, or whether it is enough that there is a valid case or controversy between the named parties to the suit.
  • ArkansasMatters reports that a cert petition has been filed in an Arkansas case that asks “whether a State violates the Fourteenth Amendment by denying married same-sex couples the same right afforded to married opposite-sex couples under state law to have the name of the birth mother’s spouse entered as the second parent on their child’s birth certificate.”
  • At Bloomberg BNA, Rene Blocker reports on American Business USA Corp. v. Florida Department of Revenue, a case the court has been asked to review in which “a florist is challenging Florida’s law that requires the company to collect the state’s sales tax on orders that are placed in Florida but are fulfilled by an out-of-state florist and delivered to an out-of-state recipient.”
  • At the Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen notes that North Carolina has filed its reply brief in its request that the Supreme Court review an appeals court decision striking down the state’s strict voting law, and that the court will consider the request at its conference on March 3; he observes that by “the time the Court would hear the case, we likely will have a Fifth conservative Justice and this important opinion could be reversed.”
  • At Reuters, Lawrence Hurley reports on three cases on the court’s docket this term that that “all deal broadly with the degree to which non-citizens can assert rights under the U.S. Constitution” and that “could help or hinder President Donald Trump’s efforts to ramp up border security and accelerate deportations of those in the country illegally.”
  • An op-ed in The Wall Street Journal urges the Supreme Court to reverse the lower court’s decision in Independence Institute v. Federal Election Commission, in which a think tank is challenging an FEC donor-disclosure requirement, arguing that if “the Justices uphold the lower court, much more political speech will fall under the federal campaign-finance dragnet.”
  • At Modern Democracy, Michael Parsons discusses two redistricting cases before the court this term, suggesting that “the Court should firmly reject any suggestion that partisan advantage itself constitutes a legitimate state interest” and that, “with a keen eye towards distinguishing between questions of basis and purpose, the Court should adopt a parallel set of political dilution and political sorting claims to match those already found in the racial context.”

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