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Tuesday round-up

The beginning of the much-publicized District Court trial of Proposition 8 leads Supreme Court coverage early this week.  NPR and the WSJ run extensive previews of the California trial.  Both feature speculation on how the current Court might rule on the issue should it reach that stage of the appeals process; NPR’s coverage notes that while opponents of Prop. 8 are concerned that the “conservative-leaning Supreme Court might be reluctant to strike [it] down,” the measure’s proponents worry about the matter passing through the more liberal Ninth Circuit.

The blogosphere also weighed in on the Court’s midday decision to stay the posting of the trial on YouTube, as reported earlier by SCOTUSblog.  The BLT asserts that the Court simply needs more time to study “what has become a very controversial issue.” Above the Law expressed disappointment at the ruling, but reasoned that it might be only a temporary hindrance that allows technical issues associated with posting videos to be fully resolved.  Slate notes that the Court’s order may stem from its reluctance to televise its own proceedings, and the op-ed criticizes what it views as the justices’ “heavy-handed” decision; another op-ed in the L.A. Times also speculates that the justices “react reflexively against the idea of cameras in courtrooms.”  Finally, Ed Whelan at the National Review covers Justice Breyer’s dissent to the order.  Other news outlets reporting the story include the Washington Post, The New York Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Nina Totenberg at NPR previewed oral arguments in Briscoe v. Virginia, which will revisit the matter of criminal defendants’ rights to cross-examine drug laboratory analysts at trial.  Though the Court actually determined that such a right exists only a few short months ago in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, Briscoe may affect the ruling by determining whether the prosecution or defense must take initiative to call the analyst for questioning.  Totenberg notes that former criminal prosecutor Justice Sotomayor has since joined the Court and anticipated that this might have an impact on the Court’s previously issued 5-to-4 decision.

However, Adam Liptak of The New York Times reports that Justice Sotomayor did not seem “inclined to do anything particularly dramatic” at oral argument, speculating instead that she simply will focus on how Briscoe will guide the implementation of Melendez. In his coverage of oral arguments, Robert Barnes at the Washington Post recaps the justices’ questioning and concludes that a reversal of Melendez seems unlikely.  USA Today also has coverage of yesterday’s proceedings.

Jesse Holland of the Associated Press previews Wednesday’s oral arguments in American Needle Inc. v. NFL, noting that a sweeping ruling in the NFL’s favor could give leagues even more significant bargaining power in marketing and, as such a ruling might limit free agency and player salaries, could lead to eventual strikes in the major sports.  Gwen Knapp at the San Francisco Chronicle praises Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ weekend op-ed in the Washington Post, applauding him for not “keeping his head down” and for speaking out against the NFL’s position in the matter.

Briefly: Tony Mauro at the BLT and the Volokh Conspiracy both post on the expansive vocabulary sometimes overheard at Supreme Court arguments (“orthogonal,” anyone?).  The Christian Science Monitor reports on the Court’s Monday denial of cert. in First Amendment cases in Texas and Virginia.  The Sentencing Law Blog and the Volokh Conspiracy cover the Court’s decision to grant summary reversal in McDaniel v. Brown.  WBUR radio in Boston (via How Appealing) reports on the logjam that the Court’s ruling in Melendez has caused in Massachusetts crime labs.