READ THAT BACK: Super Edition

I hope everyone enjoyed watching one of the most exciting and important championship games of the year—congratulations Team Manitoba! In the meantime, the Supreme Court may have some days off, and you may be a bit hungover, but that doesn’t mean the legal news cycle gets a rest. Let’s read that back!

Another Week, Another Knock: Last week Justice Gorsuch was taken to task for being a bad writer, and the hits keep coming. This week the knock is that he’s using the wrong dictionary. It sounds like a bit of a lame takedown, but the author—Neal Goldfarb—makes the point that if you’re going to get hung up on what words actually mean, then using a dictionary that accurately does so really matters, regardless of whether you like what it says. (To say nothing of using a Latin dictionary to try to define the meaning of an English word—Goldfarb takes that on, too.) Goldfarb also says that he’s working on a second post about Artis, and the meaning of “toll,” so, uh, watch that space!

Text Me: Regardless your source of definitions, however, textualism as an interpretive theory isn’t going away any time soon. It’s no surprise that Justice Thomas is a leader in its application, and given the above it’s no surprise that Gorsuch is, too, for whatever variety of textualism you care to employ. But Kagan’s getting in on the act, too—her dissent in Lockhart is proof of that (and, for the Court Reporter’s money, has the better textual argument).

Gerrymandering—Still Hot: The Supreme Court steered clear of a dispute over Pennsylvania’s voting map today, a move that may benefit Democrats in this year’s congressional elections. But eagerly awaited outcomes in other gerrymandering cases on its docket, may not matter (subscription required) for the 2018 midterms. While we’re at it, can we talk about how the challenges to the 2010 redistricting may only be resolved just in time for the 2020 census? There has to be a better way of doing this, right? Hmm.


  • Justice Ginsburg says that this, too, shall pass.
  • Justice Sotomayor says that criminal defendants deserve an experienced Supreme Court bar, too (subscription required).
  • Linda Greenhouse adds part 3 (of n, where n is potentially infinity) of a continuing story of Justice Roberts’s nascent, theoretical, sort-of (have I hedged enough?) realignment to the Court’s institutional center.
  • Rivalries aren’t just for sports.
  • And apparently mortgage mediation isn’t just for when there’s a mortgage meltdown happening. Although you’d think it would also be for then, too.

And Now…Okay FINE: Yes, of course the Court Reporter was aware of the “big game” (or Soup or Bowl, or Superb Owl, or whatever non-copyrighted version of it you want to use, but also seriously, NFL, EYEROLL), and even watched it. It was even an exciting game, in contrast to some recent snoozers.

But let’s spare a moment for Brandin Cooks, who took a brutal hit (warning: autoplay video) early in the game. The Court Reporter is no neurologist, but it sure looks like he’s knocked out by the hit, and he didn’t return to the game. (That video—not to mention the live coverage—conveniently elided just how much time he lay on the ground and just how responsive he was, and once he left the game he was neither seen nor heard from again.)

We all certainly hope he’s okay, but the hit highlights the NFL’s continuing trouble with concussions, how they’re handled, and litigation about it. It’s not even just the big hits that may be problematic. New research suggests that repeated, non-concussive hits may be what’s actually driving degenerative brain disorders. This may be a big deal for the NFL, but it may also massively shift the bar for youth leagues.

Incidentally, the Court Reporter was not impressed with the commercials this year. Everyone seems to be trying maybe just a bit too hard?