Thursday round-up – SCOTUSblog

SCOTUS for law students: Still deciding in July

Posted Thu, July 16th, 2020 7:18 am by James Romoser

For the second time this week, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in the middle of the night allowing the federal government to proceed with the execution of a person on death row. Mark Berman and Tim Elfrink of the Washington Post report that the court’s ruling, which cleared the way for the execution of Wesley Purkey, was posted after 3 a.m. on Thursday. The decision comes two days after the court issued a 5-4 ruling at 2 a.m. on Tuesday allowing the execution of Daniel Lee. The Lee execution was the first time the federal government has administered the death penalty in 17 years. Other initial coverage of the Purkey ruling comes from Scott Neuman of NPR, Jessica Schneider of CNN and Justin Mack of the Indianapolis Star. Stay tuned for an in-depth story at SCOTUSblog on the decision and the emergency litigation that led up to it.


  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is back at home and doing well after being released from a Baltimore hospital on Wednesday, Bloomberg’s Greg Stohr reports. She was admitted early Tuesday to Johns Hopkins Hospital for the treatment of a possible infection.
  • Former Solicitor General Noel Francisco is rejoining the Washington office of Jones Day, Sam Skolnik reports for Bloomberg Law. Francisco argued 17 cases before the Supreme Court over three years before leaving the Trump administration on July 3.
  • An unmarked Supreme Court police car that was parked outside the court’s building caught fire on Wednesday, and police have arrested a suspect who they believe used a flammable liquid to start the fire, Andrew O’Reilly and Chad Pergram report for Fox News. The suspect suffered minor burns. No one else was injured.
  • In an op-ed for CNN, David Cole criticizes the court’s handling of the Tuesday morning execution of Lee, arguing that the “breakneck turn of events represents a dangerous erosion of the protections of our Constitution.”
  • At the Crime & Consequences blog, Kent Scheidegger takes a different view of the Lee execution, writing that “(j)ustice in these cases is long overdue” and that the court properly rejected a challenge to the method of lethal injection.
  • In the New York Times, Linda Greenhouse opines on the three big religion cases the court handed down in its 2019-20 term. She argues that the three cases — Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania — “go to the heart” of Chief Justice Roberts’ project, which she describes as “giving religion a place at the public table long reserved for secular society.”
  • Writing for OneZero, Ephrat Livni looks at the implications of the court’s decision in the trademark dispute of United States Patent and Trademark Office v. Some experts, Livni reports, worry that the court may have “paved the way for every to register a trademark, despite the limitations justices say they placed on the ruling by concluding it depends on proven consumer perception.”

We rely 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, podcast or op-ed relating to the Supreme Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion, please send it to roundup (at) Thank you!

Posted in Round-up

Recommended Citation:
James Romoser,
Thursday round-up,
SCOTUSblog (Jul. 16, 2020, 7:18 AM),