Wednesday Writs: SCOTUS, Nevada, and Casinos Over Churches Edition

Em Carpenter

Em was one of those argumentative children who was sarcastically encouraged to become a lawyer, so she did. She is a proud life-long West Virginian, and, paradoxically, a liberal. In addition to writing about society, politics and culture, she enjoys cooking, podcasts, reading, and pretending to be a runner. She will correct your grammar. You can find her on Twitter.

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13 Responses

  1. CJColucci says:

    L-5: Old lawyer joke. There was a small-town lawyer who couldn’t make a living. Then another lawyer set up shop and now they’re both rich.Report

  2. Oscar Gordon says:

    L6 – Luckily the city has a reasonable fee and process for doing that.Report

  3. Michael Cain says:

    L5: At least in the Great Plains, the rural area I pay the most attention to, the same dynamic applies to all elite professions. I use elite here in the sense that you have to be state licensed and probably acquire >$100,000 in student debt during training. The population in those areas is simply not sufficient to support such professionals. I believe it’s a positive feedback death spiral for many of those areas: too few people to support professionals, so the professionals leave; no professional services, so other people leave (or at least new people don’t move in).Report

    • CJColucci in reply to Michael Cain says:

      I once had a case with a well-known civil rights lawyer, now deceased, whose practice depended — as most such practices depend — on suing under fee-shifting statutes that provide for the losing defendant to pay the winning plaintiff’s lawyer. We got along well. I said to him, “If your clients could afford your services, they wouldn’t need them.” He laughed and agreed.Report

  4. Slade the Leveller says:

    L1: The NV case really was a no-brainer. You have to follow the money, of course.

    L3: It would be really cool if someone could recreate Bob Woodward’s The Brethren for our 21st century court. I’d buy that book in a heartbeat.Report

  5. Marchmaine says:

    L1: What was the affirmative case for not granting relief? Forget Roberts, I can’t see why “liberal” justices wouldn’t require an even application of the laws. How is this a “liberal” issue? Keeping Casinos open to spread pandemic is the “liberal” position? Weird. The court just seems capricious; more and more.Report

    • Em Carpenter in reply to Marchmaine says:

      This is the affirmation in total: “The application for injunctive relief presented to JUSTICE
      KAGAN and by her referred to the Court is denied.”
      So, who knows? Could be that it was not just churches but other places as well and the affirming justices believed it was neutral and within the state’s power.Report

    • veronica d in reply to Marchmaine says:

      It strikes me as such an idiotic law. An important goal of compliance is the sense that we’re all in this together. Steamrolling over the reasonable objections of religious people is a terrible way to govern.

      I think the state has a responsibility to regulate places of worship during a pandemic. Moreover, there will always be the loony fringe, who will resist any efforts toward compromise. However, most religious people are rational. Most will work to reach a sensible compromises. Did the state even try? Did they sit down with religious leaders and hear their concerns before passing the law?

      It seems like they didn’t, or at least not enough.

      By contrast, I’m sure they were very interested in sitting down and talking with casino owners. I wonder why.

      Shit’s fucked up.Report

      • CJColucci in reply to veronica d says:

        What strikes me is that some of the Justices are spoiling for a fight over Free Exercise in cases where it is, at most, a make-weight. Under ordinary, equal protection, rational-basis review principles, I think there is a pretty good case for challenging the regulations, having nothing to do with the petitioners’ status as churches. There are good public health reasons for treating large indoor gatherings of people sitting around for a long time differently from other types of gatherings. No concerts, no church services, and all for the same reasons. (There was a threatened case somewhere, which I can’t find now, in which a concert promoter was going to sue because churches could congregate en masse but he couldn’t hold a concert. What goes around comes around.) I see no reason that church services should be treated any worse than other truly comparable gatherings. Not because they’re church services and deserve extra solicitude as such, but because the risks are the same and should be handled the same. (The state’s argument was that it had more power to kick ass if casinos didn’t observe mask and social distancing practices than if churches didn’t. Not a stupid argument, but, in my view, not good enough.)
        But some Justices seem to be preparing for an unnecessary holy war. Just remind me the next time they lecture about judicial restraint and procedural regularity to point and laugh.Report

    • L1: How about, “We don’t have the bandwidth to review every public health order in the entire US”? They turn down capital punishment and voter suppression appeals, which are their jobs, so why would they be looking for more work?Report

      • CJColucci in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Trouble is, that makes too much sense but probably isn’t true. When I graduated law school, the Supremes took about 150 cases a year out of the 6,000-odd cert. petitions. These days, they rarely break 100 out of the same 6,000-odd. They probably could take more. Most of what they don’t take is not taken for good reasons, generally lack of general interest or circuit conflict (There used to be a notation the cert. pool clerks put on cases for which review was not recommended: “merely wrong.” I don’t know if it’s still used.) and “bandwidth” concerns. Nevertheless, the Supremes do some strange things with case selection. I’ve noted in the past its obsession with taking fact-bound cases of no general importance in which, in the view of 5 Justices, the lower court wrongly denied qualified immunity and reverse, generally mucking up the doctrine in the process.Report

  6. LeeEsq says:

    L5: Some areas have a greater need for lawyers than others because they generate more legal work. In New York you have state and federal prosecutors, criminal defense, corporate transactional, real estate, personal injury, patent lawyers, immigration lawyers, family lawyers, and government lawyers at the local, state, and federal levels, etc. Idaho and other rural areas doesn’t generate that much legal work, so they need fewer lawyers.Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Heh, my math brain kicked in to support you. Each pair of people generates a potential legal issue, either a contract or a lawsuit. But pairings doesn’t grow linearly with the number of people in an area, it grows quadratically, the formula is n*(n-1)/2 where n is the number of people. So more people means more legal work, even per capita. Because there’s more people to sue.Report