Thursday round-up

Adam Liptak reports for The New York Times that although “[a]bortion rights are at risk at the Supreme Court, … the short-term threat may not come from extreme laws like the one passed by Alabama lawmakers” this week: “The court led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is more likely to chip away at the constitutional right to abortion established in 1973 in Roe v. Wade than to overturn it outright,” and “[i]t will have plenty of opportunities to do so.” Joan Biskupic writes at CNN that “in his new position as the deciding vote on abortion, Roberts today is moving cautiously on any narrowing — or outright elimination — of a woman’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy.” For The Washington Post, Robert Barnes explains that June Medical Services v. Gee, a pending cert petition challenging a Louisiana law that would require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, “provides a test of whether the court will uphold a very recent precedent.” For USA Today, Richard Wolf describes the other abortion restrictions “pending before or approaching the justices,” noting that “[i]t seems unlikely that the Supreme Court justices will be able to avoid all abortion cases for long – or even until the 2020 presidential election,” but “[t]hat won’t stop them from trying.”

At his eponymous blog, William Goren looks at Monday’s decision in Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, in which the court overruled a 40-year-old precedent and held that a state cannot be sued in the courts of another state without its consent. At Justia’s Verdict blog, Michael Dorf writes that “[a]lthough the majority opinion repeatedly invoked Founding-era sources, … it nonetheless departed sharply from the brand of originalism that Justice [Clarence] Thomas and his fellow conservatives purport to favor.”

Briefly:

  • For USA Today, Richard Wolf explains why so many issues and even cases that land before the justices are repeat performers, suggesting that “[a]mong the court’s self-inflicted reasons for repetition is … Roberts’ penchant for deciding only what must be decided, and no more.”
  • In the latest episode of Bloomberg Law’s Cases and Controversies podcast, Jordan Rubin and Kimberly Robinson discuss this week’s Supreme Court decisions, as well as “the growing chasm between the court’s conservative and liberal blocs over the death penalty, which was exposed this week in unusual dueling opinions in a previously decided matter.”
  • At Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), Tony Mauro and Marcia Coyle report that Fane Lozman, “the Florida houseboat owner whose run-ins with local government officials evolved into two winning U.S. Supreme Court decisions,” “is back, this time filing an amicus curiae brief in a case that propels him into what would seem like uncharted waters, so to speak: parsing the Supreme Court’s hoary Rooker-Feldman doctrine, which states that federal district courts generally may not hear cases seeking review of judgments issued by state courts.”
  • At The Atlantic, Eric Posner weighs in on Monday’s decision in Apple v. Pepper, in which the court held that a lawsuit against Apple by iPhone users who allege that Apple is violating federal antitrust laws by requiring them to buy apps only from the company’s App Store can go forward, writing that “Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s decision … turned on an arcane bit of antitrust law, and it provided the first small hope that the antitrust establishment may finally turn against Big Tech.”
  • Emily Bazelon reviews retired Justice John Paul Stevens’ new memoir for The New York Times, observing that “Stevens delivers … on a handful of timely and hugely important themes, starting with the shape of American democracy.”

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