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Wednesday Round-up

NPR and the L.A. Times preview today’s argument in Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, in which the Court will consider whether a state court’s decision holding that newly exposed shoreline belongs to the government constitutes a government “taking” of property from landowners whose property previously touched the waterfront.  An editorial in the Wall Street Journal argues that the judicial decision is a taking and therefore the property owners should be compensated.

The bulk of Supreme Court headlines since yesterday addressed earlier oral argument this week.  The Washington Post and the New York Times recapped the oral argument in Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz v. United States.  At issue in the case is a federal law prohibiting lawyers from advising their bankruptcy clients to take on more debt.  According to both papers, the justices were convinced that the law is a dud, but they differed on whether it could be construed as a violation of the First Amendment by damaging the attorney-client relationship.

The WSJ Law Blog discusses the “interesting” argument made by Merck during oral argument on Monday in Merck & Co., Inc. v. Reynolds, which stems from a class-action lawsuit against Merck for misrepresenting its drug Vioxx: that the statute of limitations for securities fraud ran out by the time shareholders filed suit, because information about Merck’s deception was already public before the drug was removed from the market for increasing the risk of heart attacks.  The Wall Street Journal also has a piece on the oral argument.

NPR recaps the facts in United Student Aid Funds v. Espinosa – argued before the Court yesterday.  At issue in the case is whether a creditor can go after a debtor years after a bankruptcy plan has been approved and fulfilled.

The Washington Post and the L.A. Times have more news on the Porter v. McCollum per curiam opinion issued on Monday, which held that courts should give special attention to post-traumatic stress disorder as a mitigating factor in capital sentencing.  Lyle also reported on the issue on Monday.

The L.A. Times highlights the Court’s decision denying cert. in Cooper v. Ayers, the appeal of a California death row inmate.

Concurring Opinions started a forum yesterday asking readers’ opinions about the Supreme Court opinion in history that ”exemplified the best in American jurisprudential thought and elegant language.”  The initial suggestions: Gideon v. Wainwright and New York Times v. Sullivan.

A new paper by Yale law student Travis Crum proposes using the little-known “pocket trigger” mechanism in the Voting Rights Act to determine which districts must comply with Section 5, the part of the Act reviewed by the Court last term in NAMUDNO v. Holder.  The paper attracted attention at the Election Law Blog and Balkinization, where Heather Gerken (who supervised the paper) notes that the trigger could prevent the Court’s invalidation of Section 5.