Greg Stohr Profile picture
Supreme Court reporter for Bloomberg News. Author, radio host, part-time professor, Little League coach in past lives. Believer in facts, punctuation.
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13 Jan
Texas Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins has resigned, per @AP. Hawkins' name was conspicuously absent last month when Texas AG Paxton asked Supreme Court to overturn election results in four other states.…
Since then, Paxton has spoken at the Trump rally that preceded the raid on the Capitol, and he was one of 3 state AGs who didn't sign a letter condemning the Capitol riot. Paxton also has multiple criminal allegations hanging over his head.
Hawkins argued for Texas at the Supreme Court in November seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act. AP story says it's not clear why he resigned or when he will leave office.
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4 Nov 20
Supreme Court asks Democrats to respond by Thursday at 5 to Trump bid to challenge late-arriving Pennsylvania ballots.…
These are just the ballots (tens of thousands, maybe) that arrive after Election Day but before Friday. Trump asking court to let him intervene in (take over) pending GOP challenges to those ballots. Supreme Court previously refused to block extension or expedite case.
Penn. Sup Ct, citing its state constitution, extended the statutory received-by deadline because of pandemic, mail delays. GOP and Trump say that violates U.S. Constitution, which gives state legislature, not state courts, power to set presidential election rules.
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19 Sep 20
Statements about Justice Ginsburg from her colleagues. First Roberts:
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17 Sep 20
Not a bad time to re-listen to Al Gore's concession speech the day after the 2000 Bush v. Gore ruling. The Supreme Court had arguably left tiny lane for Gore to try to fight on, but he saw the writing on the wall and opted to exit graciously.…
"Now the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. ...While I strongly disagree with the court's decision, I accept it. I accept the finality of this outcome. ... And tonight for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession."
"Our disappointment must be overcome by our love of country. And I say to our fellow members of the world community: Let no one see this contest as a sign of American weakness. The strength of American democracy is shown most clearly through the difficulties it can overcome."
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29 Jun 20
BREAKING: Supreme Court puts Trump administration on track to resume federal executions as soon as July 13, rejecting an appeal and stay application by inmates who challenged the lethal injection protocol the government plans to use.
Scotus also turns away legal attack on Trump’s border wall, refusing to question law that let his administration waive more than 40 federal statutes to start construction.
No action on Trump administration bid to keep from having to give a House committee sealed materials from Mueller investigation. We could get news on Thursday, possibly a grant that would keep info sealed through the election.
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19 Jun 20
One thing I've learned this Supreme Court term: Be really, really careful about presuming how Roberts will vote based on his questions at argument. In the two LGBT cases, every one of his questions went to the workers' lawyers. But he voted with them in the end. 1/4
Likewise with DACA. I was one of many Scotus reporters who produced an argument story saying the court seemed inclined to let Trump cancel it, based in part what Roberts said and asked at argument. We were wrong. 2/4
Roberts isn't Kennedy, who always seemed to express his deepest concerns during argument. On occasion, Roberts does that (e.g., his fear that gerrymandering cases would pull the court into partisan politics). But those are the exceptions. 3/4
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7 Apr 20
BREAKING: 5th Circuit says Texas can enforce its near-total ban on abortion during coronavirus outbreak.
2-1 decision says ban is warranted to prevent depletion of personal protection equipment. "In the unprecedented circumstances now facing our society, even a minor delay in fully implementing the state’s emergency measures could have major ramifications."
Dissenting Judge Dennis: "In a time where panic and fear
already consume our daily lives, the majority’s opinion inflicts further panic and fear on women in Texas by depriving them, without justification, of their constitutional rights ... "
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11 Mar 20
No word yet from Supreme Court on next argument sitting, set to start March 23. DC Health Dept recommending canceling mass gatherings of 1,000+ people. SCOTUS courtroom can squeeze in a bit more than 500, counting the seats in the so-called hallway.
We've asked, but so far the court hasn't said anything about contingency planning. One option would seem to be holding arguments in a largely empty courtroom. Not clear how that would work for, say, press coverage.
One thing undoubtedly of concern for the court: Six justices are age 65 or older, and two (Ginsburg and Breyer) are 81 or older. Should any of them contract the virus, the risks are real.
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25 Feb 20
Sotomayor dissented from 5-4 vote to let administration, in Illinois, reject green card applicants deemed likely to need public assistance. Said court is far quicker to give stays to administration than to death-row inmates.
Sotomayor: "I fear that this disparity in treatment erodes the fair and balanced decisionmaking process that this Court must strive to protect."
Much of the 7-page opinion argued the majority was being inconsistent. Court earlier allowed enforcement of the "public charge" rule elsewhere, at least in part because a trial judge had issued a (near) nationwide injunction. This injunction was much more limited, Sotomayor said.
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31 Jan 20
NEW: Supreme Court sets arguments for March 31 on subpoenas by House & NY prosecutor for Trump's financial information.
This is per the dockets. Full calendar isn't out yet. Google-Oracle set for March 24.
Full Scotus March argument calendar, with Trump subpoena cases back-to-back on March 31. Image
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10 Jan 20
Supreme Court could grant a bunch of new cases this afternoon. The justices have multiple religious rights cases to choose from, including Philly's exclusion of Catholic Social Services from foster-care program because of its refusal to place kids with gay parents. (1/6)
The court could also decide whether states can do anything about faithless electors -- those people who defy the will of their state's voters in the Electoral College. (There were an arguable record 10 such faithless electors in 2016.) (2/6)
The court could also take up a high-stakes fight between investors and the federal government over the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. @EDexheimer
and I wrote about it here. (3/6)…
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9 Jan 20
Among the things awaiting the Supreme Court as it returns from the holiday break: Calls to clear up confusion about what types of medical tests can be patented, per @sudecker1.…
@sudecker1 And the court could hear the Trump administration’s challenge to a California immigrant-sanctuary law that restricts local police from helping federal authorities round up and deport people. (5/6)
@sudecker1 Anything granted today would in all likelihood be heard in April with a Supreme Court ruling by the end of June. (6/6)
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19 Dec 19
On Obamacare conference call, Calif AG Becerra says that while his state is ready to seek immediate Supreme Court review of yesterday's ruling, he'll need to consult with other states that are involved.
Becerra on the likelihood of going straight to Scotus: "I think most of us believe that we have to address this uncertainty as quickly as possible. … I can speak for California that we believe it's imperative to act swiftly."
North Carolina AG Stein: "I can't think of a reason why we wouldn’t want to seek cert, but we need to deliberate."
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26 Nov 19
NEW: Trump's appeal seeking to block a NY grand jury subpoena for his tax returns is now scheduled for consideration at the Supreme Court's 12/13 private conference. We could get word later that day or the following Monday.
The court's order yesterday in the House subpoena fight could put that case on a similar timeline. Trump's appeal due 12/5. No deadline for the House, but it has already indicated it will file quickly to allow for consideration at the 12/13 conference.
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15 Nov 19
At the Federalist Society dinner, where Justice Kavanaugh will be giving his first major speech since his controversial confirmation.…
Justices Alito and Gorsuch have been announced as in the house, as was Attorney General Barr.
Protesters dressed as handmaidens, shouting “Shame! Shame!” greeted people waiting to check in. Image
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22 Oct 19
NEW: Supreme Court rejects more than a dozen oil and gas companies, won't stop Baltimore's climate change suit from going forward in Maryland state court while companies press appeal that would shift it to federal court. No explanation or published dissent.
No action (yet) on similar stay applications in Rhode Island and Boulder, Colorado, cases.
Breyer has now rejected a similar application by companies being sued by Rhode Island, letting that case go forward.
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18 Oct 19
BREAKING: Supreme Court agrees to consider curbing independence of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Case could give president broad power to fire director.
Appeal by law firm says CFPB unconstitutional because its director can be removed only for cause. Trump administration partially backing appeal, says removal provision violates separation of powers but bureau can keep operating.
In granting case, Scotus explicitly asked parties to address whether for-cause removal provision can be severed from rest of Dodd-Frank Act (which set up CFBP). That's a path that could be especially appealing to Kavanaugh, Roberts.
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8 Oct 19
First half of Scotus LGBT job-bias case suggests that gay-rights advocates have a least a chance of winning over Gorsuch (+ the four liberals).
Gorsuch says that when a person is fired because of sexual orientation, that person's sex is at least a "contributing cause."
Kavanaugh said very little. Roberts voiced concern about court taking on the role of Congress, wondered about impact on religious organizations. Alito was the most skeptical of workers' contentions.
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24 Sep 19
Chief Justice Roberts is in house at the Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center in Manhattan. He'll be talking and doing a Q&A for the next hour and a half or so.
Roberts lists the distinct perspectives his colleagues bring to the court, ends by quipping, "Of course, Justice Ginsburg brings her experience as a rock star."
Chief Justice Roberts in NYC: "When you live in a politically polarized environment, people tend to see everything in those terms. That's not how we at the court function, and the results of our cases do not suggest otherwise."
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3 Sep 19
The Clinton Foundation has distributed some 15,000-16,000 tickets for Justice Ginsburg's appearance tonight in Little Rock, and there's still a waiting list. She'll again be sitting down again with NPR's Nina Totenberg.
Bill Clinton ends his introduction by saying, "All of us hope that she will stay on that court forever." Ginsburg then enters to raucous applause and chants of "R-B-G!"
Ginsburg on her interview with Clinton before he selected her: "I've had the experience with some men that they have certain discomfort talking to a woman. That was not that way with President Clinton." (Big laughs.)
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5 Aug 19
Any government effort to curb violent video games will have to get around this 2011 Supreme Court ruling (written by Justice Scalia) striking down California's restrictions on sales to minors as violating the First Amendment.…
The case divided the court along unusual lines, with Breyer and Thomas in dissent. Roberts and Alito would have issued a narrower opinion that struck down the law as too vague but left room for states to enact clearer statutes.
Scalia: "California has singled out the purveyors of video games for disfavored treatment—at least when compared to booksellers, cartoonists, and movie producers—and has given no persuasive reason why."
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