Today, the Supreme Court held in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue that, under the Free Exercise Clause, if a state has a program giving public dollars to citizens to use at private schools, it cannot tell those citizens that the money can only be used at non-religious private schools. Montana had decided that its scholarship program funds could not be used at religious schools under the state's Blaine Amendment, a legacy of a failed anti-Catholic amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Many First Amendment advocates hope this opinion proves to be a fatal blow to the discriminatory anti-religious Blaine Amendments still found in many state constitutions.Read more
Today’s decisions by the Supreme Court were a mixed bag. First, any way you look at it, Chief Justice Robert’s decision in June Medical Services v. Russo is hard to reconcile with his dissent in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. From SCOTUSblog:
Four years ago, by a vote of 5-3, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law that (among other things) required doctors who perform abortions to have the right to admit patients at a nearby hospital. In that case, Justice Anthony Kennedy joined his four more liberal colleagues in holding that, although Texas has a genuine interest in protecting the health of pregnant women, there was no evidence that the law actually did anything to promote that interest – but it did make it more difficult for women to get an abortion. Kennedy is no longer on the court, but today it was Chief Justice John Roberts who joined the court’s four liberals in ruling in June Medical Services v. Russo that a similar law from Louisiana is unconstitutional – even as he maintained that he continues to believe that the Texas case was wrongly decided.Read more
Today, Justice Gorsuch's new book, A Republic if You Can Keep was officially released.
Early reviews and comments indicate that President Trump hit a home run when he nominated Justice Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Here are few quotes about and from the book that have come out in the last few days.Read more
Despite criminal referrals and the involvement of ne'er-do-wells like Michael Avenatti, one group, “Demand Justice,” is continuing its groundless attacks on Justice Brett Kavanaugh. As Ashe Schow writes in the Dailywire in an article entitled “Former Hillary Clinton Spox Is Trying To Get Brett Kavanaugh Fired From His Teaching Job:”Read more
Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Rucho v. Common Cause, a partisan gerrymandering claim against North Carolina's congressional map, and Lamone v. Benisek, a First Amendment retaliation partisan gerrymandering claim against one Maryland state legislative district. Both cases were before the Court last term and were sent back to the district courts for further proceedings. As in the past, today the justices continued to search for a justiciably manageable standard for considering partisan gerrymandering claims:Read more