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Friday round-up

Today, coverage continues of yesterday’s oral arguments in Al-Maqaleh v. Gates, in which the D.C. Circuit will determine whether detainees held at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan have the same habeas corpus rights extended to Guantanamo Bay detainees by the Supreme Court in Boumediene v. Bush.  As Lyle reported yesterday afternoon on this blog, the panel’s questioning addressed the Court’s intention when it ruled in 2008 that at least some suspects in military custody have the right to challenge their detention in federal courts.  The Washington Post covers the proceedings, noting that the judges seemed hesitant to extend Boumediene to the Bagram detainees, and the BLT also discusses the oral arguments, highlighting attorney Tina Foster’s argument that the government should not be allowed to selectively apply habeas corpus rights by moving detainees from prison to prison.  An AP article also provides a detailed recap of the proceedings.  While Al-Maqaleh has yet to be decided at the appellate level, Lyle’s post yesterday confirms that the case is almost certainly bound for the Supreme Court.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported yesterday on an amicus brief filed this week by 55 members of Congress, including Democrat Mike Quigley of Chicago, in McDonald v. Chicago, the high-profile Second Amendment case which will be heard by the Supreme Court in March.  In the brief, the representatives urged the Court to leave in place Chicago’s ban on handguns, and Quigley added a personal statement that gun violence among youth is particularly prevalent in Chicago.  Last term, the Supreme Court threw out a ban on handguns in Washington, D.C., but did not specify whether its ruling should bind state and local governments like Chicago’s.

How Appealing links to a recent paper, available on SSRN, entitled “Gender and U. S. Supreme Court Oral Argument on the Roberts Court: An Empirical Examination of the Sotomayor Hypothesis.”  The paper, co-authored by Berkeley Law School’s James Cleith Phillips and Brigham Young’s Edward Carter, examines the impact of a Justice’s gender and an attorney’s gender on the dynamic of an oral argument, measuring Justices’ word counts and levels of information-seeking in 57 oral arguments.  Phillips and Carter determined that, for at least some members of the Court, an arguing attorney’s gender in relation to their own gender did impact their behavior during oral argument.  In the months following Justice Sotomayor’s nomination and confirmation to the Supreme Court, the authors note, the debate surrounding gender and judicial behavior is particularly timely.

At Concurring Opinions, links are available for all articles in the most recent issue of the NYU Law Review, including a piece in which William Curran examines the Takings Clause in the context of the Court’s ruling in Kelo v. New London, which upheld the city of New London’s seizure of private land for development.  Pointing to the failure of the city to follow through on developing the disputed land in the wake of Kelo, Curran proposes an interpretation of the Takings Clause that emphasizes the word “use,” rather than the word “public,” and requires that the land taken actually be used for the claimed purpose.

Finally, two new reviews of American Original, Joan Biskupic’s biography of Justice Scalia, were published yesterday.  At NewsHour, Gwen Ifill interviewed Biskupic, who opened up about her experience interviewing the Justice, talked about his background, and commented on his surprising friendship with Justice Ginsburg.   (Tom interviewed Biskupic in November for SCOTUSblog; a podcast of their conversation is available here.)  The San Francisco Chronicle reviews American Original as well, lauding Biskupic’s “tireless” reporting and speculating that the book may prove particularly timely if Scalia does indeed continue his strong influence in the coming years.