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Thursday Round-Up

Linda Greenhouse has an article in the Charleston Law Review’s Supreme Court Preview issue (starting at page 37) in which she assesses Justice Breyer’s jurisprudence on the Court, at the presumed midpoint of his tenure there.  Greenhouse writes that Breyer is the “quintessential Enlightenment Supreme Court Justice,” someone who “believes in evidence and in expertise and in the power of both facts and experts to persuade.”

In an essay for the Yale Law Journal Online, Aaron Zelinsky traces the history of the judge-umpire analogy, which was originally aimed at trial court judges and was meant to be rejected because of the umpire’s passivity.  The essay argues that “the appropriate analog for a Justice of the Supreme Court is not an umpire, but the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.”

Debate and commentary continue over the petitioners’ brief in McDonald v. Chicago, the Second Amendment incorporation case.  The Volokh Conspiracy has three new posts: Orin Kerr speculates that there is only one vote on the Court to overturn The Slaughter-House Cases of 1873 (Justice Thomas); David Bernstein outlines how he would argue the issue to convince other Justices to overturn; and Randy Barnett questions Kerr’s predicted vote count.  Sentencing Law and Policy summarizes and adds to the Volokh exchanges.

In an interview with Jess Bravin of the Wall Street Journal, Justice Kennedy muses on teaching law and recommends that President Obama read The Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam’s account of the Vietnam War.  Bravin also reports that Justice Kennedy’s office requested to pre-approve student press reports following an October 15 lecture at George Washington University, much like it did with student journalists at The Dalton School three weeks ago.  Justice Kennedy attributes the requests to a new secretary who misunderstood his policy on student journalists.

The Christian Science Monitor covers the denial of cert. in ACLU of Florida v. Miami-Dade County School Board, which Lyle discussed on Monday.  The case stems from the Miami school board’s decision to remove from the county schools’ libraries a book depicting life in Cuba.

In an article called “Don’t Poke Scalia” at The Jury Expert, Tara Trask and Ryan Malphurs offer advice for trial lawyers gleaned from observing nearly sixty oral arguments at the Supreme Court.

Ed Whelan has posted two more installments of his review of Joan Biskupic’s new biography of Justice Scalia at National Review Online’s Bench Memos blog.  The first two installments were covered in yesterday’s Round-Up.

Finally, the BLT announces the launch of a new website intended “to help the press and public identify important federal appeals court rulings and cases.”  Created by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvements, the site currently covers only the Third, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits, with plans to expand to the other circuits in the coming months.