What We’re Reading

Here is some of the legal scholarship Benchwarmers is reading this week. Topics include federal Indian law, education, personal jurisdiction, and appellate certification of state law questions. Articles sourced from the latest issues of the Boston University Law Review, the Emory Law Journal, and the Northwestern Law Review, as well as last month’s issue of the Duke Law Journal.

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60-Second Circuit Summaries

A collection of significant and strange cases decided by the federal courts of appeals this week. Each summary delivered in a minute or less: 10 cases, 10 minutes. On the docket this week was COVID-19 vaccine requirements at the Supreme Court, education, wrongful deaths, and trains.

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Fides et Ratio: Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue

Fides et ratio, or “faith and reason,” was the penultimate encyclical of Pope John Paul II. He argued that faith and reason do—and must—go hand in hand. Doubtless, among those who would agree with this principle are the Montana parents who sued in Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue to send their children to parochial schools after winning tax-credit-funded scholarships. At first, the parents lost; the Montana Supreme Court invalidated the entire scholarship program. Last week, however, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed that decision by a 5:4 vote, concluding that it violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to strike down the program under a version of the Blaine Amendment in the Montana state constitution. Here’s my analysis.

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An Earth Day Extravaganza: Weekly Brief for April 20

Earth Day was Wednesday, April 22. So it was only fitting that the Supreme Court decided its first environmental law cases of the term—two of them, in fact. One dealt with the process for cleaning up “Superfund” sites, and the other with point source pollution permits under the Clean Water Act. But the Court didn’t stop there; four more decisions were handed down: a landmark Sixth Amendment case, for which I wrote an in-depth analysis here; a complex immigration law case, for which you might need multiple cups of coffee and an abacus; and two intellectual property law cases, which, with all due respect, might be best read if you’re trying to fall asleep. Here’s your recap for the week of April 20.

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