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December SCOTUS Sketches

I’ve imagined cobwebs on the bench. Maybe sheets have been thrown over the Justices’ chairs to protect them from dust like in an old horror movie.

Darkness was everywhere, it smelled like a tomb
I was ready to leave, I was already walkin’
But the next time I looked, there was light in the 

We look forward to that day, probably the first Monday in October, when we are back in the courtroom. Meanwhile, the 2020 term goes on with lawyers making their arguments by telephone from dining room tables and law offices.

Cameron T. Norris for petitioner

Neal K. Katyal for petitioners

André Bélanger for petitioner

Elizabeth Murrill, Louisiana Solicitor General, for repondent.

Jonathan M. Freiman for petitioners

Sarah E. Harrington for respondents

Greg Silbert for petitioners

Nicholas M. O’Donnell for respondents

Professor Bryan Garner for respondents

Kannon Shanmugam for petitioner

Daniel L. Geyser for respondent

Aaron L. Nielson, Court-appointed amicus

Goodbye Justice Ginsburg

After a week of memorials the beloved Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will join her late husband Marty at Arlington National Cemetery in a private ceremony.

I never got to meet the Notorious RBG. There were plans to visit her chambers and do watercolors of the jabots, but time ran out. My one off-the-bench memory of her is when she stopped by the press room for a chat during which she observed that DC drivers are the worst.

Posted here are some of the better sketches I’ve done of Justice Ginsburg ( there are plenty of lousy ones! ), along with a few SCOTUSblog banners done during the week of remembrance.

Justice Ginsburg with opinions in BNSF Railway Company and Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp.

Brian T. Burgess for petitioner

Justice Ginsburg dissents in American Legion v. American Humanist Assoc.

Justice Ginsburg announces opinion in Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill

Justice Alito with opinion in Hernandez v. Mesa

Justice Ginsburg dissents in Hernandez v. Mesa

 

Jeffrey Wall, Principal Deputy Solicitor General

Justice Ginsburg sporting “dissent” jabot?

Justice Ginsburg

SCOTUS Abortion and CFPB

Demonstrators on both sides of the abortion issue gathered outside the Supreme Court for yesterday’s argument in June Medical Services. The Center for Reproductive Rights distributed the teal colored knit caps shown in the banner sketch above. Below is a bird’s-eye ( drone’s-eye? ) view of the courtroom with virtually every seat filled for the argument. Actually, more seats were added in the aisles of the public section, and I should have added them.

On Tuesday, in Seila Law LLC v. CFPB, the Court heard argument on the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Board and whether the director of the board can be removed by the president “at will” or only “for cause”.

Also on Tuesday, the Court heard Liu v. SEC, for which I stuck around for one sketch.

The Chief Justices’ Day Job

Chief Justice Roberts started his second job last Tuesday, presiding over the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump which on the first day when into the wee hours of the next. Nevertheless, after what must have been a tedious employ, Roberts appeared rested and engaged Wednesday morning when the Court heard argument in a significant establishment clause case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of RevenueThe case began when parents sued the state revenue department after it ruled that tax credit scholarship programs could not be used for religious schools, which the majority of recipients were. The Montana Supreme Court invalidated the entire program, for both religious and secular schools. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who favors a similar federal tax credit program, was in the audience.

On Tuesday, before heading over to the Senate for that first, long day, I did just one sketch of the 10:00 o’clock Armed Career Criminal Act argument, Shular v. United States.

 

 

 

Bridgegate, Boomers and Dungarees

Note, the original version of this post mysteriously vanished without a trace so I’ve had to re-create a lesser version. 

The case that drew the most attention during last week’s arguments was one brought by a former ally of New Jersey governor Chris Christie. The petitioner, Bridget Anne Kelly, a former aide to Gov. Christie, and William Baroni, a former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, were convicted of conspiracy and fraud for their part in a scheme to punish the mayor of Fort Lee, NJ for refusing to endorse Christie’s reelection bid. In what came to be known as “Bridgegate”, they and another official, David Wildstein, ordered several lanes to the George Washington Bridge toll plaza closed in 2013 during rush hour causing massive backups. When the scandal came to light it pretty much sank Christie’s 2016 presidential campaign.

As expected, both Kelly and Baroni were in the courtroom for Tuesday’s argument in Kelly v. United States. What nobody expected was that Chris Christie would show, and be seated directly in front of Kelly.

On Monday the Court heard a trademark case, Lucky Brand Dungarees Inc. v. Marcel Fashion Group Inc., and a case related to employee retirement benefits. Thole v. U.S. Bank, N.A..

The Chief Justice drew some laughs Wednesday when, during an argument involving the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Babb v. Wilkie, he asked the following hypothetical, “The hiring person is younger, [and] says, you know, ‘OK, boomer’ … once to the applicant.”