Petition of the day

By on Aug 12, 2016 at 11:19 pm

The petition of the day is:

15-1530

Issue: (1) Whether a federal court of appeals may exercise jurisdiction when a notice of appeal does not identify correctly the order to be reviewed, but the briefs resolve any potential confusion; (2) whether a federal court of appeals may exercise jurisdiction when an error in the designation of the order to be reviewed neither prejudices nor misleads the appellee; and (3) whether the more lenient standard of Foman v. Davis or the more stringent standard of Torres v. Oakland Scavenger Co. determines if appellate jurisdiction is defeated by an error in the designation of the order to be reviewed.

Mark L. Rienzi is an associate professor at The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law.

It is tempting to think of Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley as a welcome respite from the recent spate of hot-button religious liberty cases that prompt concerns from the gay rights community (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Zubik v. Burwell) and hot-button gay rights cases that prompt concerns from the religious liberty community (Obergefell v. Hodges). After all, this case is about a mundane topic that would seem to have nothing at all to do with either sex or religion: resurfacing children’s playgrounds with recycled tire scraps.

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Friday round-up

By on Aug 12, 2016 at 3:10 am

In The Wall Street Journal, Kristina Peterson reports on recent comments by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who told reporters that “he expected Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton would re-nominate Merrick Garland for the U.S. Supreme Court if she is elected in November”; similar coverage comes from Jordain Carney for The Hill.  And at Lambda Legal, Eric Lesh argues that there “are many reasons why eight justices are not enough.” Continue reading »

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Richard Katskee is the Legal Director at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He filed an amicus brief on behalf of religious and civil-rights organizations, supporting the respondent.

The Framers of our federal and state constitutions saw governmental support as antithetical to religion. They had fled a country where that support incited competition among religious denominations for money and the political power to distribute it, ultimately leading to bloody civil strife.

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Thursday round-up

By on Aug 11, 2016 at 3:25 am

Briefly:

  • In Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), Tony Mauro interviews Sidley & Austin’s Jeffrey Green about criminal defense advocacy at the Court.
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman analyzes the “network leading to Supreme Court clerkships”: “the judges the clerks worked for as well as at the law schools that the clerks attended.”
  • In The Washington Post, Amber Phillips reports on recent comments (followed by an apology) about the death of Justice Antonin Scalia by Ohio Senate candidate Ted Strickland.
  • In The Economist, Steven Mazie suggests that “there are a host of reasons Republicans may hesitate to give the nod to” Chief Judge Merrick Garland, the president’s nominee to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, “before Mrs Clinton takes office next January, should she defeat Mr Trump in November.”
  • In The Huffington Post, Catherine Pearson marks the twenty-third anniversary of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s swearing-in with “23 quotes that celebrate Justice Ginsburg’s gift for real talk.”

Remember, we rely exclusively on our readers to send us links for our round-up.  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] scotusblog.com.

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Petition of the day

By on Aug 10, 2016 at 11:17 pm

The petition of the day is:

16-37

Issue: (1) Whether a violation of the criminal contempt statute, 18 U.S.C. § 401, should be classified as a Class A felony under 18 U.S.C. § 3559 (as the First and Fourth Circuits hold), similarly to the closest analogous offense (as the Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits hold), or sui generis based on the penalty actually imposed by the court (as the Third, Fifth, and Eleventh Circuits hold); and (2) whether the willfulness mens rea of criminal contempt requires the government to prove that the defendant’s wrongful conduct was knowing (as the First and Eleventh Circuits hold), reckless (as the Fifth, Seventh, and D.C. Circuits hold), or negligent (as the Eighth and Ninth Circuits hold).

 
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Richard W. Garnett is Paul J. Schierl / Fort Howard Corporation Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame.

Trinity Lutheran Child Learning Center is, its website reports, a “ministry of Trinity Lutheran Church” that “provides opportunities for children to grow spiritually, physically, socially, and cognitively.” As one would expect at a pre-kindergarten, one place this growth happens is on the swings and slides that are spread around the Learning Center’s colorful and inviting playground.

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Daniel Mach is Director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. He co-authored an amicus brief on behalf of the ACLU and various religious freedom and civil liberties organizations in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley.

In Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley, the Supreme Court will consider whether the state of Missouri violated the U.S. Constitution when it denied the church’s application for a cash grant to subsidize the cost of resurfacing its playground with recycled scrap-tire material. While, at first blush, this may appear to be a simple dispute about payments for playground improvements, it implicates one of our most essential, enduring constitutional commitments: the ban on direct government funding of houses of worship.

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Wednesday round-up

By on Aug 10, 2016 at 4:19 am

At Politico, Michael Grunwald looks at President Barack Obama’s legacy in the judiciary, concluding that, “even if the Garland nomination stalls, Obama has already reshaped the judiciary, not only the Supreme Court but the lower courts that hear more than 400,000 federal cases every year.”  And the editorial board of USA Today urges the Senate to “put politics aside and give Judge Garland a hearing and a vote. It’s the best thing for the court, the country and the Constitution.” Continue reading »

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Hollyn Hollman is the general counsel and associate executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, which filed an amicus brief in support of the state of Missouri. She is an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center, where she co-teaches the Church-State Law Seminar.

Religious liberty in the American legal tradition is protected in a specific way. The principles of “no establishment” and free exercise stem from the experience of the Founding Era as reflected in the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions. Religious dissenters led the fight to separate the institutions of church and state and break free from tax support for churches. While free exercise keeps the state from interfering in religious practice, “no establishment” ensures independence of religion from the state.

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