Wednesday round-up

Yesterday, the Supreme Court rejected an attempt by Ohio Democrats to block an appeals court ruling upholding the state’s elimination of “Golden Week,” a window at the beginning of the early voting period in which Ohio residents could register and vote on the same day. Amy Howe covered the decision for this blog. Additional coverage comes from Nina Totenberg at NPR, who notes that “Democratic lawyers were not surprised by the court’s action Tuesday, since they had little expectation of blocking the Ohio cutbacks — especially compared with the far more draconian changes in other states such as Texas, North Carolina and Michigan,” Robert Barnes of The Washington Post, Adam Liptak of The New York Times, and Greg Stohr at Bloomberg. Commentary comes from Rick Hasen, who at his Election Law Blog asserts that the Democrats’ case was “weak” and “that cases like this make bad law when there are more serious voting cutbacks.”

For The Associated Press, Brady McCombs reports that a polygamous family from television’s “Sister Wives” has filed a cert. petition asking the Supreme Court to review “an appeal court’s decision that upheld a unique provision of Utah’s polygamy law that bans cohabitation with other partners even if the man is legally married to just one woman.” Additional coverage comes from Ben Winslow at Fox13 in Salt Lake City.

Andrew Malcolm argues in McClatchyDC that the significant number of Supreme Court appointments the next President will likely make, “the most important” of “all the central national issues our presidential candidates are hotly debating only eight weeks from Election Day,” “is tagging along as an afterthought.” In The Washington Times, Elizabeth Wydra remarks on the far-reaching consequences of future appointments, noting that with “several of the high court’s justices likely to retire over the next four to eight years, whomever the nation elects in November will have the power to profoundly shape the composition of the Supreme Court, with consequences that will far outlast that president’s term,” in areas like climate change, abortion rights, immigration, and race discrimination.

Briefly:

  • At The New Yorker, Jennifer Gonnerman reports on the almost 30-year-long defense by Columbia Law School professor Bernard Harcourt of Alabama death row prisoner Doyle Lee Hamm, who has asked the Court to grant review of his case, in large part because a state court earlier issued an opinion in the case that appeared to have been written by the office of the state’s attorney general, who, according to Harcourt, “’was serving as prosecutor and judge.’”
  • Katelyn Polantz at The American Lawyer reports on the “acquisition of appellate litigation boutique Bancroft and its marquee partner Paul Clement” by Kirkland & Ellis and the implications of the merger for the Supreme Court bar.
  • At the Notice and Comment blog, David Feder discusses Esquivel-Quintana v. Lynch, a pending cert. petition that he believes is “potentially the darkhorse case of this year’s Supreme Court Term.”
  • In The Daily Beast, Eric Segall maintains that in many Supreme Court constitutional law cases, the “Constitution, itself, is the starting point but rarely if ever dictates results,” because the framers “could not foresee nor help us answer today’s difficult constitutional questions.”
  • In his Sidebars blog, Randall Eliason highlights recent decisions that illustrate the “Court’s skepticism about prosecutorial discretion,” and concludes that“it would be unfortunate if the Justices truly come to believe they cannot rely on prosecutors to exercise sound judgment in charging decisions.”
  • In Dorf on Law, Eric Segall contends that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “did nothing wrong by criticizing the Senate for failing to act on President Obama’s nominee to the Court,” observing that the “issue cuts right to the heart of the Court’s power as an institution, and there is no plausible reason the Justices shouldn’t offer their opinion on that subject.”
  • In The Washington Times, Senator Patrick Leahy reproaches Republican senators for refusing to act on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, declaring that if there is “an empty seat on the bench when the Supreme Court convenes on the first Monday in October,”“it will represent the disrespect that Senate Republicans have not only for the president’s powers under the Constitution but for the independent judiciary that the Constitution created.”

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