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Friday round-up: afternoon edition

Following the Supreme Court’s request for the views of the executive branch in U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. Candelaria (09-115) – a case involving an Arizona statute that imposes penalties on employers for hiring illegal aliens – a New York Times editorial urges the Solicitor General to recommend a cert. grant on the ground that state laws like the one at issue encroach on federal authority to set immigration policy and should therefore be overturned.

A Washington Post editorial encourages the Court to strike down as unconstitutionally vague the honest services fraud statute challenged in two cases before the Court on Tuesday, Black and Weyhrauch.  An opinion piece at the Huffington Post, at least, sees the final days of the statute as numbered based on its reception by the justices during oral argument.  Briefly, the New York Times reports that Chicago is one of the cities most likely to be affected by a ruling overturning the statute.  The case even gets brief mention in the London Times.

A further editorial in the local St. Petersburg Times of Tampa Bay predicts that a ruling in favor of the state in Florida v. Powell – in which the Court heard oral arguments on Monday – would undermine Miranda rights.

At Slate, Dahlia Lithwick surveys commentary on whether the fact that there are six Catholic members of the Court is important to the American public, implying ultimately that it is not – and ought not to be.

Following up on Justice Sotomayor’s first opinion on Tuesday, in Mohawk Industries v. Carpenter, and this post by Eric Muller at the Faculty Lounge, John Elwood at The Volokh Conspiracy discusses whether there is in fact a tradition that the first opinion written by a new justice is unanimous.

In the Washington Times, two American Civil Rights Union fellows — one of whom authored the NRA’s amicus brief in the gun rights case McDonald v. Chicago — argue that the incorporation of the Second Amendment through the Privileges or Immunities Clause could have major implications for social issues ranging from healthcare insurance to gay marriage.

Also at The Volokh Conspiracy, Eugene Volokh discusses Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, granted on Monday, and defends its choice not to provide funding to religious student groups that require their members to adhere to their beliefs.

Professors at the Michigan School of Business recently reviewed the business-law track record of Justice Sotomayor, arguing that her past rulings in business cases “evade simplistic labels such as liberal or conservative”; their strongest conclusion is that the justice characteristically adheres closely to precedent.

The headlines are full of news about past justices, too, starting with stories by SCOTUSblog’s own Lyle and the BLT about the unveiling of a new bust of former Chief Justice Rehnquist at the Court.  NPR has an AP story on the continuing campaign by former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and several state supreme court judges to end the practice of electing judges, while the BLT also reports on the creation of the O’Connor Judicial Selection Initiative, a project to further that agenda.  On a related note about the judicial profession, Eugene Volokh of The Volokh Conspiracy, preparing for congressional testimony on judicial recusal rules, airs some thoughts on why such “appearance of potential bias” rules are impractical.

The latest — and perhaps last — news about the New Haven firefighters on the winning side in last Term’s Ricci v. DeStefano is their promotion based on the test vindicated in the Court’s ruling in that case; the New Haven Register, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and the Christian Science Monitor all have coverage.