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Monday round-up

Tony Mauro of The National Law Journal observes that, at the Supreme Court, “there is a sense that the term is just now beginning to take shape.”  He previews the more anticipated upcoming cases scheduled for this term, and notes that the Court may release an opinion in Citizens United v. FEC as early as this Tuesday.  The Washington Post also reports that a decision in Citizens United could soon be released, explaining that, if the majority opinion overturns current campaign finance laws, some Justices may be drafting extended dissents, and this could explain the current delay.  Alternatively, it may be that no opinion has both provided clear guidance on the future of campaign finance laws, and drawn a majority of votes on the Court.   The Huffington Post also covers the case.

On the subject of campaign financing and Citizens United, the New York Times examines current election-cycle fundraising and spending, noting that although the Court has not yet released an opinion, “Democrats in the House and the Senate have begun lamenting its expected result” – cutting away restrictions on campaign financing  The Times tabulates recent campaign spending by both Democrats and Republicans, and also writes about the A.F.L.-C.I.O and N.R.A.’s interests in the case.

At NPR, Nina Totenberg previews Briscoe v. Virginia, set for argument at the Court today.  The Court will re-visit a recent ruling that requires prosecutors to make lab analysts who present forensic evidence available for cross-examination by the defense.  According to the Virginian-Pilot, the precedent in question, set last year in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, has resulted in a backlog of requests for testimony, and in some cases prosecutors have delayed or dismissed cases when technicians did not show up to testify.   The New York Times editorial page also weighs in on the case, positing that “If the court changes the rule, it would be a significant setback for civil liberties, and not just in cases involving lab evidence.”

The New Yorker reports on Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a challenge to Proposition 8, the recent California ballot-initiative which overturned a law allowing gay marriage.  The litigation team is unique: Ted Olson, Solicitor General under George W. Bush, and David Boies, a well-known litigator, who were opposing counsel in Bush v. Gore in 2000.  Olson and Boies, who anticipate that the case may eventually be heard by the Supreme Court, plan to argue that marriage, and the choice to marry who you would like to, is a right, and that prohibiting gay marriage amounts to a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.  The feature article reports on judicial decisions relevant to gay marriage, and also compares this case with historic civil rights cases, such as Roe v. Wade, Loving v. Virginia, and Brown v. Board of Education.  At The Volokh Conspiracy, Orin Kerr contends that the case may not be destined for the Supreme Court.  Newsweek also has coverage of the case, and in particular, of Olson’s involvement.

Tony Mauro also reports on the Proposition 8 argument, set to begin today, which will be heard by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker.  Judge Walker has agreed to allow delayed video footage from the case to be posted to YouTube.  The team defending Proposition 8 has filed an emergency appeal with Justice Kennedy, asking that the case not be broadcast, as broadcasting the case might lead to a “media circus.”  On the other side of the case, Olson’s team supports a broadcast, which they suggest will foster “public confidence in the outcome.”  SCOTUSblog’s own Lyle Denniston reports on the issue, the L.A. Times has coverage of the case, and so does

At the Washington Post, Drew Brees, the quarterback for the New Orleans’ Saints, comments on American Needle Inc. v N.F.L., an anti-trust case scheduled for argument this week.  Brees draws on his 2006 experience as a free-agent to make the point that competition between teams, as well as the unique identity, location, fan-base, and interests of each team, serves as proof that the teams are separate, distinct entities.  He counters the NFL’s claim that the League should not be subject to anti-trust laws:  “The notion that the teams function as a single entity,” Brees writes, “is absurd; the 32 organizations composing the NFL and the business people who run them compete with unrelenting intensity for players, coaches and, most of all, the loyalty of fans.”  The Chicago Tribune examines the potential impact the case could have on salaries, unions, and the League.  Additionally, Joan Biskupic covers the case for USA Today.

At BusinessWeek, Greg Stohr reports on Elena Kagan’s tenure to date as Solicitor General, pointing out a recent Bloomberg Markets report concluding that Kagan is thus far “using her office’s clout to battle against business groups and for shareholders.”  The article examines the Solicitor General’s unique office, the positions she has taken in recent cases, and her personal background.