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General NewsNational

Sex offender laws and the 6th Circuit’s Ex Post Facto Clause ruling

I wanted to add a few words to co-blogger Jonathan Adler’s posting about the recent 6th Circuit decision in Doe v. Snyder, in which the court voided application of the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) on the grounds that it imposes retroactive punishment on previously convicted sex offenders in violation of the constitutional prohibition against Ex Post Facto laws. Full Editorial

***this article is from September 2016. Sorry. Moderator***

Join the discussion

  1. pgm111

    Another nice encouraging piece from the Washinton Post. We need to become more assertive and continue to push on this illicit house of cards built on a foundation of irrational fear and outright lies.

  2. Follow the $

    It is worth noting that many of the editorial articles and scholarly review articles that are being written in concurrence with decisions against the SORA scheme are from conservative and libertarian writers. David Post, Jonathan Adler, and Mark Stern are frequent contributors to right leaning sites and shows that from a Constitutional law viewpoint, we might have more allies on the court than thought.

  3. AJ

    Did I miss something here? This editorial is over a year old (Sept 7, 2016). It’s nice to see it on the day SCOTUS is considering, inter alia, whether to accept Snyder. But beyond that, it’s quite an old, though certainly helpful, editorial.

  4. Chris F

    So, what do you all think the response by legislatures around the country will be when the Sex Offender designation starts to fall apart due to a future SCOTUS ruling that mostly hinges on being off of probation and parole and no longer under government supervision?

    I think the end result will be the state’s modifying restrictions on sex offenders to bring them barely compliant with SCOTUS for those on the list now. Those that have completed their sentences should be under less restrictions, and hopefully no longer on a public list.

    Unfortunately though, I think in the case of all future sex offenders they’ll get us right back to where we are now but make it look constitutional. They’ll simply instate and mandate lifetime “supervision” on those convicted of sex crimes, and place all the same restrictions back on that we are hopeful to get rid of now. Instead of reporting to police, you’ll just keep reporting to a P.O. for life. They’ll be able to regulate everything all over again.

    Unless an alien species invades earth, I don’t think legislatures will give up on the easy targets that are sex offenders.

    • AlexO

      Expended supervision is something that I fully expect to come out of a favorable SCOTUS ruling. But that itself will likely be meet with its own challenges under the 14th amendment as I highly doubt the court will be able to show such action as necessary and legal without a direct individual assessment, which we know won’t occur. At least not in the long term.

      As mentioned by Janice and several others, this is a battle of incremental victories.

    • TXSO4Life

      Important timeline of the SNYDER case :
      * 1st Conference of snyder case in SCOTUS, March 24, 2017 (Kennedy and the rest of SCOTUS became aware of SNYDER case that pertain to SO restrictions included long after prison sentence).
      * Packingham case argued (Feb 27, 2017) and decided (June 19, 2017 (with Kennedy injected the one parenthetically statement that he was “trouble” of the restrictions imposed on people who are not in custody or supervision….are NOT presented before the court).
      *The Acting Solicitor General in a reply brief agree with the 6th circuit ruling…
      I really think based on the timeline between packingham case and snyder 1st conference, SCOTUS
      has no choice but to grant cert.

    • Paul

      PA already started talking about ways around it we need to get aclu or someone in place to sue their ass when they start because they will. The part I like is it will show who the pieces of crap who’s intentions were for shaming, punishment, and political gain, they can’t let it go. Potato head Freed and the PA house judicial commity already showed their asses for everyone to see, it will get much worse.

  5. TXSO4life

    Here’s a break down from the folks at SCOTUS regarding the Justices conference today (9/25). A little crack of information to the upcoming important news every one hoping and waiting for…

    • AJ

      Hmm…so what do the tea leaves say about a case that was originally scheduled in March, as is the case with Snyder? If anything, what concerns me is the Sept conference seems to be low on relisting. But, I still remain confident Snyder will be accepted.

      • Bobby


        Please don’t take this wrong,but what do you mean by saying” quote” If anything, what concerns me is the Sept conference seems to be low on relisting. unquote. Just curious. also if they do take Snyder how long does it take then for it to finally be heard and ruled on.? No disrespect you and what you are hoping for, but as you know since I am from Michigan, and have been waiting a very long time you already know what I hope the answer is, I guess we will all find out on Thursday.

        • stev

          I think AJ is talking historically.

        • AJ

          Yes, stev is correct, I was speaking historically. The link TXSO4life offered indicates that for whatever reason, certs reviewed during the September conference typically don’t get relisted, they more often get an up-or-down vote. That’s all. I am confident Snyder has been accepted (note the change of tense 🙂 ). We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

          As far as when heard and when decided, that’s completely up to SCOTUS. Difficult and/or landmark cases (which this one will be) take time. Here are the key dates from Packingham ( Cert Granted, 10/28/2016; Arguement schedule, 12/22/2016; Oral Argument, 2/27/2017; Opinion issued, 6/19/2017. This may all seem to be needless delay, but both parties are allowed a significant amount of time to file briefs, as well as to reply to briefs from the opposition (and don’t forget, sometimes extensions are granted!). As you can see, it’s quite possible the case could take virtually all of SCOTUS’s term. If accepted, I wouldn’t expect a decision until sometime in 2018 (no later than July, when the term ends). I know that’s still a long time to wait; justice does move slowly.

          I completely respect your desire to have it over and done with, Bobby. Neither harm nor grudge on this end!

  6. TXSO4life

    Reason org. has released another excellent article for our cause. As to Bobby, we have repeatedly stated why we think it is better for you and us that the high COURT grant cert in SNYDER case. A denial of cert is only a temporary win for u. As AJ, myself, and few others have stated why we need scotus to take the case and settle the laws. We want a permanent win, not a temporary win.

    • Bobby


      I understand that if SCOTUS takes it, it would help everyone across the Country but at the same time SCOTUS, could actually say screw all of you , The 6th circuit got it WRONG!! along with all the other courts, and the registry is not punitive or unconstitutional. Then we would ALL be screwed and all this would be for nothing. Even though Constitution is suppose be the true law of the land and NOT even SCOTUS is suppose to override the constitution , but yet as we all know, they do just that and put their own spin on it most of the time.

      • Paul

        If unconstitutional stuff like that starts happening I think the tyrants may come to realize that 800,000 people with nothing to loose, especially the ones in old age is not a good thing to have. People will just start saying fuc it.

      • AJ

        Your line of reasoning falters a bit. If SCOTUS wishes to say, “screw all of you, the 6th circuit got it wrong,” they will *have* to accept it (or issue a per curiam, which is highly doubtful) or it will stand–contrary to the “screw you” desires of SCOTUS. Likewise, if SCOTUS believes the 6th got it right, they will–at some point–need to accept a case (Snyder or otherwise) to resolve the disagreement among the Circuits. Either way, SCOTUS will be stepping into the discussion, the only question is when. About the only reason for SCOTUS to decline Snyder would be its being a weak case to use to settle the issue, which it definitely is not–it’s actually a fairly robust one that covers similar schemes around the country.
        I stand by my prediction of a 6-3 ruling in our favor. 🙂 How far that ruling will go, I’m hesitant to venture publicly.

      • New Person


        Considering that the AG(SG?) has already deemed the unconstitutionality within the Michigan scope, I doubt the SCOTUS will undo that part of the result. The AG(SG?) did say that the Doe v Smith does not violate any constitutionality. That is where the SCOTUS will probably want to dissect.

        Remember, Chief Justice Roberts said that the registry scheme must rise to a definitive punishment to be considered punishment. The fact that the AG(SG) has agreed that the threshold for punishment was breached, then that may allow the SCOTUS to re-visit as well as change their outlook on the whole registry. It would seem if the SCOTUS still approves of the 2003 decision, then it has moved the goal posts on all registrants based upon the exact premise Chief Justice laid out.

        Also, with the recent Colorado decision that the threshold of punishment has been breached, then there is a collection of states that have already disagreed with the 2003 decision.

        The registry should be treated as one scheme. Any one falseness about its one of seven factors should destroy the whole registry. Remember, one of the factors was due to the high recidivism rates of registrants, but that was based off of false facts. The public threat angle is false as registrants are the second group least likely to re-offend, murders are the least likeliest.

        If Justice Alito uses manipulated stats as a scare tactic, then I do hope another court Justice will berate him for doing what Chief Justice Roberts did the first time – coerce a decision on faulty information. Compare recidivism rates vs recidivism rates – meaning compare the same denominations, not different ones. That’s basic math (fractions/ratios).

        • AJ

          @New Person:
          USSG. not AG. 🙂 The USSG is who does the actual arguing on behalf of the US Government in any SCOTUS case. The USSG is also the only entity with permanent quarters within SCOTUS’s building. As well, the USSG office is comprised of people of much sharper legal minds than Reichsfuhrer Sessions. (I know, I know, a low bar to clear….)

      • AlexO

        It’s not that SCOTUS is overriding the constitution. They’re job is to interpret it. They can’t say “we agree that this is unconstitutional, but for public interest, we’re going to override that and let it continue”. Whether or not something is constitutional is always fluid. And SCOTUS isn’t always correct which is why nothing is ever set in stone. We’re a prime example of this.

    • TS

      @TXSO4life, AJ, et al

      It is with much emotion this topic is fervently discussed and good to see in our country where we can respect each other still in view of differing opinions. We, all, would like to see one clean strike of the registry altogether so the people can be let go and freed. That is the crème de la crème result. Kicker is though, Bobby is right. If SCOTUS does take this, they could do just what he says, negate the work to date, put everyone back in the box for another case to come and try to open the door to be kept open at a later date. On the other hand, if SCOTUS takes this, they could affirm it, but I have a harder time seeing a grant of cert for that in my opinion. The arguments for grant are strong and reasonable without a doubt by those here. The arguments for denial are the same here. The optimism of wanting both a denial and a grant of cert is nice to see, but let us not forget the third option, the SCOTUS negation of it all. I am cautiously optimistic here that a SCOTUS victory for RCs is nearby, but that is merely based upon the lack of trust of SCOTUS and what they have done previously.

      Rain starts with a single drop and the rain is starting with what we have been seeing of late. An instant torrent would be great if it could wash away the entire pile of dung this has become; however, small victories are better than one giant set back. Take the 6th’s decision and PASC’s decision for the greater good and plan another attack using them and other cases. The hammer only gets bigger at that point. More cracks in the dam can lead to a flood should the dam burst.

      Those off paper, better days are coming.

      • AJ

        I may have a subjective opinion about the matter, but I’m not at all emotional about it. Far from it, actually. As with other issues on here, I try to follow the logical paths presented (though I know law is not bound by logic!) and go from there. I have long said I think SCOTUS will accept Snyder, and also have long said I believe SCOTUS will rule in our favor. That’s nothing for or against anyone else’s opinions, thoughts, emotions, desires or anything else. I fully respect everyone else’s armchair-SCOTUS-watching, and hope everyone likewise respects mine.

        I agree that SCOTUS could take it and shoot it all down once and for all. But if SCOTUS is bent on doing that, they’re going to do it, regardless whether they use Snyder or some case down the road as the vehicle for that. How meaningful–and useful–will it be for us if SCOTUS lets Snyder stand for now, only to strike it when SCOTUS takes some other future case? As I’ve said, it’s not if SCOTUS addresses this, it’s when. (Also, no ruling below SCOTUS will ever be satisfactory for one or the other party…meaning SCOTUS must rule, whether through denial or acceptance.) They can either do it now via Snyder directly (with the PA, CO and MN cases floating out there), or they can do it later with some other case. But no matter what, at some point SCOTUS *will* resolve the dispute among the Circuits. My question is, would you rather have SCOTUS address it now with Snyder and a Court where Kennedy seemingly wants to right a wrong? Or would you prefer to take the chance of what may happen down the road when Kennedy, Ginsburg, and/or Breyer have left the bench, leaving perhaps a more conservative Court? (Remember, Ginsburg and Breyer dissented in Smith.) Personally, I want to strike now with the “devil I know” Court as comprised. I am “wanna bet on it?” sure where 2 Justices will fall, and am confident about 3 others.

  7. Txso4life

    Here’s my repost, there was an article I read recently that opioned the reason USGG recommended SCOTUS denial of SNYDER cert was because he was not too comfortable with the current panel of the COURT, especially after seeing KENNEDY’s troubling statement in the Packingham case. The tactic was to sacrifice the SNYDER case and wait till Trump has a chance to replace some justices. At the time there was speculation that Kennedy was thinking of retiring, and Girnburg would not last too long given her age and current health. Actually SCOTUS denied cert will give little weight, even though it will “tentatively” give victory to states in 6th circuit. But let not forget, there have been MANY bad sex offender rulings coming, pending, and leaving before SCOTUS, with many cert app denied (ie. 2nd circuit, 3rd Circuit, 5th circuit, 7th circuit, 8th circuit and 11th circuit). The point I want to emphasise…….SCOTUS needs to accept this case and settle the laws once and for all. A denial of cert would meant it will take several more years before another case be brought before them, by then the panel off SCOTUS will definitely changes! In sum, do we want a case presented to the court without the benefit of ginburg and kennedy ? Surely if cert is deny, the next expo facto case that is guarantee to reach scotus to resolve circuits split….we will not have those two justices by our battle. I can not fathom whom trump will pick to replace ginburg and kennedy. But surely the chance for a second alito or thomas is on the horizon. Wish what u want, but be careful of what u wish for…

    • AlexO

      This. This is incredibly wrong. Trying to manipulate the system in order to get a specific results that deal with our constitution? You either trust the appointed people will do the best job possible or you do not appoint them.

      • AJ

        Welcome to humanity. Your idealism (or is it naiveté?) is heartwarming. 🙂

        Deciding when and where to file a lawsuit is an important element of being a trial attorney. It’s not mistrust of officials, it’s realization that every judge (read: human) has a unique view and side, and one wants to maximize that to benefit. Right now, the ideology of SCOTUS is leaning somewhat in our favor. Would you have everyone wait until it’s perfectly neutral? What would perfectly neutral even look like? I’m sure Alito thinks he is completely right in his views and ideology, just as Ginsburg thinks she is completely right in her views and ideology…and both were appointed by, and confirmed by, our elected leaders.

      • TS


        Yet, politicians appoint judges based upon their leanings as given through their decisions, writings, etc. TXSO4life and AJ have valid points.

        • AlexO

          @AJ, @TS

          Yeah. I wish our judges could me more Vulcan but human nature is human nature. Yes, sometimes a factual ruling might suck, but I think more often than not, something based entirely on facts and not emotions would have a more positive outcome. At least when it comes to legal action (I hate the thought something like humanitarian aid would be trumped by facts of it being less costly to let the people suffer).

        • AJ

          The issue comes down to “whose facts”? Taking the extremes on SCOTUS right now, do you want Alito’s facts, or Ginsburg’s, or perhaps somewhere else on the continuum of opinion, all of which are shaped by one’s life experience? I would posit that your answer may well be, “it depends on the case.” Keep in mind, “seperate but equal” was considered “the truth” when Plessy v Ferguson was decided in 1896 ( Then along came Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, which corrected that “truth” (
          Trivia of the day: Brown was argued by future-Justice Thurgood Marshall (

    • TS

      @AJ, TXSO4life

      Using your who are the players considerations to decide, I agree with you fully. The players today are better as we know the players and respective thinking, aka the known knowns. The timing of a later decision with unknown knowns can be a scary proposition without a doubt. That makes the want for it to be granted cert rather large.

      Thinking either way considering justices, states, circuits, etc makes for potential interesting speculation until knowing tomorrow, 9/28 at the earliest.

      Consider me on the fence and watching with great interest…..

      @TXSO4life – I recall your posting here from not long ago and agreed with it then and now.

      @AJ – logical law is an oxymoron most times, but your following the logic and breaking it down for us is very helpful.

  8. Bobby

    ok here is something I have been wondering about, even though I believe they would leave it as it stands right now. So lets say SCOTUS takes Snyder, I think they should tell Michigan and possibly other states to STOP enforcing their registries since both The 6th Circuit and SCOTUS has already denied Michigan’s stays. Michigan or Tennessee, nor Ohio, or Kentucky should have to adhere to the registry until SCOTUS makes a final ruling on the registry. I hope that makes since, I really bad at wording things on paper.

    • AJ

      “SCOTUS has already denied Michigan’s stays.”
      Not so. Justice Kagan, who oversees the 6th, denied the Stay. The other 8 Justices have not been involved one bit. SCOTUS protocol and rules leave that decision to the Justice in charge of whatever Circuit. Heck, more often than not, it’s a single Justice who decides whether or not to grant a Stay in a death penalty! Sometimes, as happened recently in a GA case (, the full Court chimes in–but typically only if there’s a possible constitutional issue.
      Technically, due to Justice Kagan denying the Stay, the 6th’s ruling *is* in effect in those States, and technically those affected by the ruling can follow it. However, it is *incredibly* risky for any RC to follow the ruling, because if it’s overturned, the State will come after the RC for one violation or another. You could perhaps win after a long, expensive court fight, but for most that would not be worth the fight or hassle.

      Finally, any statement from SCOTUS directing the States to stop enforcing would be premature and prejudicial. They must let the case stand as it is until they have formally acted.

  9. TXSO4Life

    Bobby and TS…(Of importance, the troubling fact that the law imposed severe restrictions on persons who already have served their sentence and are no longer subject to the supervision of the criminal justice system… is also NOT an issue before the Court.) Well it is (SNYDER) NOW before the Court. Does that statement ring a bell? Yes, it’s a loud echo of Justice Kennedy in Packingham case. And that’s why it’s the right timing for SCOTUS to grant the petition to affirm the 6th and annihilate all the federal circuit courts (especially 11th and 5th circuit) that have issued really bad rulings for registrants. As AJ predicted 6-3 on our favorite. I am less optimistic and settle for a 5-4 in our favorite. Anybody else wanna predict? At the end of the day, let’s see who is good at guessing number :).

    • AJ

      Oh I’m definitely going out on a limb with my 6-3 prediction. 🙂 According to Justice Breyer in an interview with Charlie Rose a while back, SCOTUS rulings are mostly 9-0 or 5-4. I toss in the extra one as perhaps a Gorsuch or Thomas wild card vote. I do not see Alito or Roberts voting our way, no matter what.

      • AlexO

        Why do you think they’d vote against no matter what? Are they that polarized that if the fact before them state 2+2=4 they’d still declare it’s a cat?

        • AJ

          Ideology. Alito has shown he is rabidly conservative (though somehow Thomas scores more conservative), and Roberts not only argued Smith on behalf of AK, he’s the same one who twisted the Obamacare mandate into being a tax, resulting in its being constitutional.

        • David Kennerly, the Very Model of "Containment"

          “Liberal” and “conservative” often fail to accurately describe political ideology and have assumed different roles over time. A more useful term, in this and many other cases, would be “authoritarian” and “anti-authoritarian,” referring to one’s regard for either an expansive or limited role for the state.

          Thomas is a bit less authoritarian than Roberts or Alito.

          However, one thing about Thomas (and the erstwhile Justice Scalia) is that he holds the authority of the federal government in far less high regard than he does the states’ and appears to find little objectionable in how states treat their citizens (or criminals) in contrast to his views of a much more limited federal authority. Some opinions which they held in our favor were actually motivated by their desire to devolve authority to the states than any real sense of fairness for criminals or the accused. This could be bad for us in the cases immediately at hand. I don’t have a good sense how he will fall on them if they are accepted by the Court but suspect that he might rule against us. He and the, thankfully dead, Scalia are much more in the mold of “state’s rights” proponents – an absurdist conservative conceit which pretends that states have rights that people don’t (the states have authority granted to them by their citizens, not rights).

          Earlier this year, I prepared a spreadsheet and overview of every single sex-related case that has come before SCOTUS. It has each of the Justices’ votes and a number of other elements from each case.

          If someone were to write me at I would be happy to share it.

  10. Not Really

    I don’t think this debate will make one ounce of difference either way. SCOTUS will do what it thinks right.

  11. Txso4life

    Here’s 2 informative and educational article released yesterday and this morning regarding sept 25 conference and cert grants…

    • AlexO

      Thanks for the link. Interesting in how they handle things. The Packingham comment in your second link was encouraging. Hopefully both Snyder and MN cases will follow suit.

  12. Txso4life

    Some legal advises on September 25 post conference…

    • AlexO

      Very good read. I like how it was explain in very layman terms.

      The comments are also intersting, particularly this one.

      “If SCOTUS denied to hear the Snyder case it’s because the 6th circuit got it right. The McGuire case which has parallels to Snyder, indeed can help us here, and the 11th circuit already cited Snyder in Doe v Miami Dade. What the Snyder case has now that it didn’t have before is the backing of SCOTUS and the SG as well. It makes Snyder even more persuasive I would think.”

      Seems like if Snyder is denied, it could still have a snowball effect. Hopefully it can also then leech out to other circuits (Could a ruling in one circuit be used in an argument of another? I mean, if one circuit states slavery is illegal and unconstitutional, one would think you could use it elsewhere, otherwise you have an extremely fragmented system of do’s and don’ts)

      • AJ

        Yes, a denial by SCOTUS can be a de facto ruling by them. It gives more weight to the case for use in other courts, something that’s already happening in the case of Snyder. What it doesn’t help with is needing to fight it over and over in courts and Circuits until the Snyder outcome is achieved. SCOTUS accepting and ruling short-circuits that grueling, and time consuming, process. Remember, other Circuit Court rulings, even ones SCOTUS has passed on, are merely persuasive upon other Circuits and courts outside that Circuit. IOW, Snyder is non-binding upon all the other Circuits, and non-binding outside the States the 6th comprises.

        • Paul 2

          AJ do you think SCOTUS will grant cert for Muniz if on Monday they deny Snyder v doe? Is it possible they like Muniz better. Maybe a house warming gift for Freed asa US attorney ?

        • AJ

          @Paul 2:
          No. I see Snyder as a much stronger case, and one in which SCOTUS could easily expand (as much as SCOTUS is prone to do) the ruling to help correct Smith. I do think that SCOTUS accepting Muniz is a positive sign for us, as they have zero reason to do so (as I’ve laid out before). Their accepting it would, IMO, be due to their wanting to send a message by affirming it. (This is somewhat contrary to SCOTUS procedure, so I still foresee Muniz being denied.) I in no way see Muniz picked over Snyder, if for no other reason than Snyder already has the USSG amicus.

        • AlexO

          Well a win of any sorts is a positive move. So rather than maybe everyone getting off a year from now, it’ll happen incrementally over several years. Either way, it would certainly offer far better hope than we currently have.

          One thing Snyder denial might help with is California’s tiered registry implementation. It could be argued in court (pointing at Snyder) that the state can’t implement the registry for anyone with prior convictions of its enactment. Though I don’t know if that would then mean everyone prior simply gets off or sort of gets stuck in limbo where we’re all still lifetime while new convictions going forward will be tiered. Am I understanding this possibility correctly?

  13. Bobby

    Hello All,

    Well I e-mail Amy Howe, and got an e-mail back from her about 10 minutes ago, I asked her about the Snyder case, and if she knew if it had been accepte or denied, and this is her response back to me.

    They did not act on Snyder today. They could act on it on Monday, when they issue a lot of additional orders from the September 25 conference. (There is a chance that they will not and instead hold it over for reconsideration at the next conference, but a relatively small one.) 

    • AJ

      Ugh. It sounds like she sees an up-or-down decision coming, with little chance of being relisted. Let’s hope for thumbs up! (Well, except for you, Bobby. 😀 ) I still think Muniz could “interfere” with prompt action on Snyder.

      • Robert

        Muniz is at the district level right now, appeal goes to 10th Circuit. Be awhile before this case goes to SCOTUS.

        • Paul 2

          What are you talking about? There is a stay for Freed to file in SCOTUS he’s got less then a mo to do so District? lol

        • Paul 2

          PA is the 3rd circuit not 10th

        • TS


          Paul is right. Also PA is not in the 10th Circuit’s area of responsibility.

        • AJ

          Incorrect. Muniz was never argued in the Federal Courts, so it cannot be at any District or Court of Appeals level. It was argued in the (PA) State court system. Therefore, the appeal, of the federal question only (repeat after me: Calder v Bull), beyond the PASC is to SCOTUS.

          P.S. Were it in the Federal Courts, PA is covered by the 3rd, not 10th, Circuit.

        • Robert

          Yep my mistake, was referring to Millard. there are a number of cases to keep an eye on now…

        • AJ

          No worries, brother. Referencing it as Millard hasn’t yet taken on here, so I usually refer to it as CO. 🙂 But yes, it is a long way from any potential SCOTUS review. My thought, is that it could be seen as in the pipeline and one more example of the torrent of such suits bubbling up through the courts. (I’m quite sure SCOTUS is aware of it, what with it being in Gorsuch’s old stomping grounds.) These many suits *will* all land as petitions to SCOTUS until and unless SCOTUS draws a bright line.

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