Wednesday round-up

More coverage of Monday’s decision in Evenwel v. Abbott, holding that states and local governments may use total population to draw legislative districts, comes from Howard Mintz of The Mercury News.

Commentary on the ruling comes from David Gans, who at Balkinization emphasizes that the plaintiffs’ “bid to rewrite the Constitution to require excluding children and huge portions of the immigrant population from representation in state legislatures . . . did not get a single vote”; Brentin Mock, who at Citylab notes that it is “interesting how the calculus has changed over the centuries on political representation: From favoring counting the enslaved (though they couldn’t vote) to opposing counting children and non-citizens today”; JV DeLong, who at Forbes argues that “the plaintiffs and their ideological allies won a significant victory” by opening “the door to a political movement to shift the basis of apportionment away from total population in the direction of CVAP”; Margaret Drew, who at the Human Rights at Home Blog describes the case as “a much needed expression of the court’s ability to work together when fundamental human and civil rights are in play”; Robert Gebelhof, who in The Washington Post explains that the case “essentially revolved around who should be represented by our lawmakers, and there was a lot at stake”; and Ed Kilgore, who in New York contends that the case demonstrates that “there are limits to what conservative opponents of minority representation can get away with.”Coverage of Monday’s grant of review in Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, in which the Court agreed to weigh in on whether evidence of racial bias can be offered to prove a violation of the Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury, comes from Richard Wolf of USA Today; commentary comes from Carimah Townes at ThinkProgress. Commentary on the denial of review in “a long-running dispute over preserving large areas of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest from logging” comes from Hank Lacey at Natural Resources Today.

Coverage on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia comes from Mary Clare Jalonick of the Associated Press, who in The Washington Post reports that “Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley on Tuesday warned Chief Justice John Roberts to stay out of the Senate’s fight over the Supreme Court’s vacancy, accusing the current court of being overly political”; Kelsey Snell of The Washington Post, who reports that “Grassley is sticking steadfastly to his vow not to hold hearings or a confirmation vote on Garland before November’s elections”; Alexander Bolton and Jordain Carney, who report for The Hill that “Senate Democrats say they may try to force a vote on President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court with an unusual procedural tactic.”

Commentary comes from Judith Schaeffer, who in The Huffington Post suggests that Senate Republicans are reluctant to hold a hearing on Garland’s nomination “because they know that Americans would like what Judge Garland has to say”; Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, who writes that Garland “is an oppo researcher’s nightmare”; George Mitchell, who in the Boston Globe urges Republican senators to “do their jobs by fulfilling their constitutional responsibility to consider and vote on the president’s nominee”; and Michael McGough of the Los Angeles Times, who contends that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “wants to have it both ways: denying Garland a hearing on the grounds that his record is irrelevant, even as he trashes that record without giving Garland a meaningful opportunity to respond.”

In other news related to the vacancy created by Scalia’s death, Tony Mauro reports in The National Law Journal (subscription or registration may be required) that Scalia’s current law clerks have been re-assigned to the chambers of Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. And Ariane de Vogue of CNN (via KSAT) looks at how the Court has changed since Scalia’s death.

At Stanford Lawyer’s Legal Aggregate, Michael McConnell discusses the March 23 oral argument in Zubik v. Burwell, the challenge to the accommodation offered to religious non-profits that object to the Affordable Care Act’s birth-control mandate, and last week’s order for supplemental briefing, describing the latter as “almost certainly good news for the religious plaintiffs.” And at Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman considers where the case falls on the spectrum of the Court’s free exercise cases.

Other coverage looks ahead to the April 18 oral arguments in the challenge to the Obama administration’s deferred-deportation policy. Cristina Marcos of The Hill reports that on Monday lawyers for the House of Representatives “filed an amicus brief arguing before the Supreme Court that President Obama overstepped his authority in issuing executive actions to shield illegal immigrants from deportation,” while Jordain Carney of The Hill and Seung Min Kim of Politico report on a similar brief by Senate Republicans.


  • Courtney Linn looks back at last week’s decision in Luis v. United States, holding that the pretrial restraint of a criminal defendant’s untainted asset violates the Sixth Amendment, concluding that “what seems on its face like a clear rule may prove challenging for courts to apply in practice.”
  • In The National Law Journal (subscription or registration may be required), Gabe Roth contends that the federal cameras-in-courts pilot program was doomed to fail, concluding that, “until Chief Justice Roberts . . . understands how increased transparency works hand-in-hand with the rule of law, any pilot program designed by the neo-Luddites who currently make up the [judiciary] will crash and burn.”
  • At Liberty Blog, Deborah La Fetra discusses the amicus brief that the Pacific Legal Foundation filed in support of a petition for certiorari filed by Google, arguing that “the increasing use of statistical modeling in lieu of individual proof has troubling implications for due process.”

If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at]

[Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel on amicus briefs filed in support of the respondents in Zubik. However, I am not affiliated with the firm.]