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Tuesday round-up

Capital Defense Weekly reports on the per curiam order in Porter v. McCollum, noting the Court’s affirmation of the country’s obligation to care for its veterans and, more generally, the recent emphasis on competent trial strategy in determining cases of counsel ineffectiveness.  The BLT also notes that the justices did not find the fact that Porter went AWOL while on military duty detracted from the importance of his military experiences in formulating an effective trial strategy.  The Sentencing Law Blog and the Chicago Tribune also have coverage.

The Sentencing Law Blog also reports on the Court’s decision to grant cert. in Barber, et al. v. Thomas, asserting that a ruling in favor of the defendants could “significantly move up release dates for some long-serving federal prisoners.”

The New York Times, USA Today, and the Christian Science Monitor cover the Court’s Monday ruling that overturned the Second Circuit’s order for the government to disclose photos of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The lower court ruling held that in order to justify nondisclosure, the government “must be able to show that the disclosure would endanger a particular person[,] not just any undefined person.”  CSM notes that the Court’s decision to vacate this ruling prevents this would-be precedent from having any significance in future cases.

Nina Totenberg at NPR previews United Student Aid Funds, Inc. v. Espinoza, in which the Court will decide how a student’s decision to file for bankruptcy affects his or her obligation to pay accrued interest.  Oral argument is scheduled for today.

Tony Mauro at the National Law Journal recaps oral arguments in Merck v. Reynolds, noting that the justices seemed “reluctant to to give the pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. a “statute of limitations” way out of defending against a securities fraud class action.”  Based on the justices’ questions during argument, Mauro believes the justices are inclined to allow a longer statute of limitations to allow shareholders to fully develop their potential shareholder-fraud case.  The Boston Globe also covers the arguments and the ramifications of a decision in favor of the shareholders.

Crime and Consequences notes that the State of Michigan has been particularly successful in petitioning the Court to review Sixth Circuit decisions; two cases are being briefed on their merits, and the Court’s decision to grant cert. in Renico v. Lett makes it three.  The blog also covers Justice Scalia’s objections to what he views as the Court’s overly broad usage of GVR (grant-vacate-remand) orders.

Briefly: Bloomberg and Reuters (via How Appealing) both report on the Court’s decision to grant cert. in Morrison v. National Australia Bank, in which it will rule on how U.S. law can be applied in transnational securities fraud cases.  Joan Biskupic at USA Today recaps Monday’s oral arguments in Graham County Soil & Water Conservation District v. United States ex rel. Wilson.  The San Francisco Chronicle and the LA Times cover the Court’s refusal to hear the case of California death row inmate Kevin Cooper.  Finally, the Election Law Blog explores possible reasons for the Court’s delay in issuing an opinion in Citizens United v. FEC.